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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Michael Brückner & Alien Nature The Dark Path (2017)

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

The Dark Path is at the crossroads of creativity with a very solid EM opus where the ages melt themselves in a musical scenario which allies the essence of EM big names

1 Mandala 16:49 2 Endemonic Howls 7:49 3 Auf Sibernen Pfaden 27:36 4 Blissful 12:15 5 Ionic Master 15:12 Neu Harmony: NHR 046

(CD(r) 79:41) (V.F.) (Berlin School & World Music)

A collaboration between a rising figure and another one more dominant of the Berlin School style EM has enough to feed the passions. Composed between 2013 and 2015, THE DARK PATH stages the music of Michael Brückner and Alien Nature (Wolfgang Barkowski) in an album which inhales these flavors of Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream in a universe of nebulosity pushed by very good movements of sequenced rhythms which seduced me with a big S!

Mandala opens as in the nice time with slow veils filled of tones of old organ which go adrift like the movements of some slender sonic birds in search of our eardrums. Electronic noises and fine modulations, as well as another shaded wave carrier of faded voices, give life to this long prelude of ambiences which floats now with this soft flavor of Klaus Schulze's cosmic drift. The first beatings wake up at the 5th minute, spreading a base of soporific rhythm which stays prisoner of these luxurious Mephistophelian layers. Curiously, these beatings seem to awaken the faded voices which add now a touch of esotericism. A line of bass sequences is beating in the background. Fitting with the precious modulations which give so many charms to Mandala, this line swirls among industrial noises before running mad like a cyborg through a metallurgical wall. Slamming percussions impose a more contemporary structure of rhythm, while the effects of synth stay in these effects ossuaries which charmed as much as created a sensation of fright when I listened to this music the head and the imagination decorated of blue smoke. These effects are transformed into Arabian tunes and the rhythm becomes more lively, pushing Mandala far from its lands of atmospheres but beyond those of Endemonic Howls whose pattern of morphic dance is fed by good effects of percussions and a suggestive line of bass sequences. This title is more in the psybient kind with an always dark approach which is inspired by tears of synth and by the effects of a sonic brook in suspension and of which the droplets run away in a horizontal passage. If the rhythm stays quiet, and finally falls asleep towards the finale, it remains very interesting to hear in night light, because of an ambient tribal approach which reminds to me a good Steve Roach moment.

THE DARK PATH is built in a mosaic of effects of effects of dark ambiences and rhythms of around 80 minutes where every title binds its elements of atmospheres. The breaths which open Auf Sibernen Pfaden establishes a climate of mystery and plunges us in the golden years of Tangerine Dream; periods Phaedra and Stratosfear, especially with the galloping rhythm which emerges from layers of mist after the 4th minute. Comes then a revival moment of the analog years with this structure of rhythm which inflates among numerous effects of mist, of vapor and other effects at the same time cosmic and luciferian, in particular the noises of thunders and of ectoplasms which extricate themselves from layers of glaucous vibes. Ignoring the filters of those effects, a synth lights its harmony section in order to blow splendid solos which light the wilder rhythmic portion of Auf Sibernen Pfaden. It's a superb Berlin School that we have here my friends! This odyssey of dreams pursues its road of charms until the sibylline atmospheres get a hold of the rhythm, making it as much smothered as its first beatings. A choir of chthonian voices draws then the landscape of Auf Sibernen Pfaden which, in 27 minutes, makes us travel towards the summits of the 70's Berlin School style. This is a great track which alone worth the price of the CD manufactured and produced by the English label New Harmony. How to talk about Blissful without speaking about its introduction and about its multiple reflections of sequences which sparkle as in these Tangerine Dream's concerts in 1986 and these elements of Jean-Michel Jarre's ambiences in Magnetic Fields. Although darker, the soundscape invades immediately our ears with this structure of stagnant sequences which serves as support for other wonderful synth solos. Blissful pours its last charms into Ionic Master and its more contemporary tribal structure of rhythm. A surprising and lively title, with good effects of melodies blown in heathen flutes, which sets free a really nice aspect of velocity in its atmospheres and in this rhythm, all the same rather stationary, and which reminds us a closer Klaus Schulze of the 90-00 years.

With names such as Michael Brückner and Wolfgang Barkowski, the expectations can only be high. And the duet answers marvels with a strong album to which we savor from the very first breaths of Mandala until the finale of Ionic Master. THE DARK PATH is at the crossroads of creativity with a very solid EM opus where the ages melt themselves in a musical scenario which allies the essence of the big names of the art, Klaus Schulze to Jarre via Tangerine Dream and Steve Roach, in an approach where the past is of use as carburetor to a new form of World EM.

Sylvain Lupari (July 18th, 2017) ****½*

Available at Synth Music Direct

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