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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Michael Brückner Hymns to the Dawn (2021)

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

An album of ambient music whose level of creativity puts it in a class of its own

CD1 77:05

1 Hymns to the Dawn - Part 1 6:43

2 Hymns to the Dawn - Part 2 8:15

3 Hymns to the Dawn - Part 3 13:40

4 Hymns to the Dawn - Part 4 8:47

5 Hymns to the Dawn - Part 5 3:12

6 Hymns to the Dawn - Part 6 6:14

7 Hymns to the Dawn - Part 7 8:23

8 Hymns to the Dawn - Part 8 11:20

9 Hymns to the Dawn - Part 9 10:27

CD2 (Bonus) 75:13

1 The Gift 59:23

2 The Gift (Groove Remix) 15:50

(CD/CD-R/DDL 152:18) (V.F.)

(Dark Ambient, Ambient, Berlin School)

Initially, this album was intended to thank a client who had placed a large order with Michael Brückner at a time when the pandemic had slowed down the CD manufacturing process. The German musician-synthesist created this symphony for winds and drones to thank the client's patience. One thing led to another, and as Brückner listened more carefully to this unique gift, he realized that it had a wider potential than just a private gift album. After overcompensating this client again, the gift became HYMNS TO THE DAWN (Drones, Atmospheres and Dreamscapes Vol. 3) which is the third in a series of ambient and meditative electronic music (EM) albums where darkness and light intertwine in a long choreography of graceful aerial movements.

Hymns to the Dawn - Part 1 begins with a slow choreography of reverberating waves that twist and curl around a seductive processional melody. The intensity in MB's visions is felt from the evolution of this electronic arietta that instills this contrasting setting between the colors of the reverberating shadows of this last album of the musician in 2021. The sibylline side is harmoniously implanted there with an abyssal color which is more concentrated in the ectoplasmic intensity of HttD Part 2 where strange spectral voices seem to reach us from the beyond. A bit like in the movie White Noise in 2005, starring Michael Keaton. We will learn later that it is the voice of Hanna Brückner, MB's daughter. These atmospheres fade away in a delicate spiral movement of the sequencer. True to his signature, the Mainz' musician adds short movements of ambient rhythms to his meditative textures. Thus, our senses avoid getting lost in a long mosaic that still encourages us to a beautiful period of meditation. HttD Part 2 clings to its thread of intensity with the presence of an organ and its magnetizing procession. It's with a texture of chthonian choir that HttD Part 3 rises to our ears. An avian fauna makes its presence felt, making the track slide towards a graceful meditative movement that finds the door of darkness a few moments later. And this fight between the shadows and the light is an integral part of the charms of this album which is rather easily tamed if we are fond of the genre. The sounds of birds, or bats, envelop a little more the dystopian visions of HttD Part 4 and these perfumes of Tangerine Dream which appear between the floating synth layers. Organic noises attract our hearing at the same time as a rather cynical upward movement takes hold of the slow circular slingshots of this track that quietly slides towards the darker depths of the short HttD Part 5. Part 6 offers us a more experimental approach that divides the long meditative block of HYMNS TO THE DAWN (Drones, Atmospheres and Dreamscapes Vol. 3). The synth multiplies more shrill waves with distortion effects vaguely reminding us that we once dissected Pink Floyd's music before Dark Side of the Moon. There is a Sysyphus vision in the ambiences of HttD Part 6 that demands a greater opening from our ears. That's how we approach those lazily swirling waves of HttD Part 7 from which emerges a synth pad with that aurora borealis shape and whose chartreuse colors evaporate at the touch of keyboard chords falling on a floating haze. The resonance of these chords amplifies a slight white-noise and distortion phenomenon. And that perception is lost when percussions are falling curtly to sculpt a heavy and vaguely driving downtempo. As unexpected as it was hoped for, this passage gives a 3rd impetus to our desire to pursue this immersive work that has nothing to envy Steve Roach's. The longest track on this album, HttD Part 8 is also its most seraphic with nice synth layers that intertwine in a tonal uniformity barely disturbed by ocean waves. There is a sensibility that gradually carves out a place for itself in this part and slides with its hazy orchestrations into HttD Part 9 where the melancholic sweetness of a pianist lost in thought awaits us. Its repetitive notes create a rhythmic illusion that goes hand in hand with these fascinating waves of slightly spectral synths that rise and return in a perfect symbiosis. A very nice finale for a pleasant album of ambient and meditative music whose level of creativity puts it in a class of its own.

As we all know, Michael Brückner is a very generous musician. With the purchase of HYMNS TO THE DAWN (Drones, Atmospheres and Dreamscapes Vol. 3), on CD or download, comes a bonus CD-R entitled THE GIFT. The special element of this track is that it features Michael's daughter, Hanna, playing flute. The reverberating waves form fuller loops here than in HttD Part 2 and circulate like anemic sound lassos. The music comes out of its ambiences around the 9th minute with an electronic drum that structures a driving rhythm that a sequencer adopts with a more harmonic vision. The title dives then in a good minimalist Berlin School which welcomes good hazy synth layers and whose sequences become more resonant. We go back to an ambient phase from the 19th minute. A more seraphic phase where the flute of Hanna rises like chants of spectres. The rhythm resumes its rights, of the same structure which had brought it to the nothingness, a little after the 27th minute. It develops more slowly to offer a mid-tempo approach flirting with this Electronica vision proper to the German musician. The Gift becomes thus divided between these phases of rhythms, always changing, and these phases of ambiences, always a little longer, giving all the artistic latitude to his flautist daughter who shines a little more on The Gift (Groove Remix) which is on the other hand only available in the CD-R version. A nice gift, indeed.

Sylvain Lupari (February 17th, 2022) *****

Available at Michael Brückner Bandcamp

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