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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Michael Brückner Klaustrophilia (Extended Edition) (2021)

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

One cannot find a better musical homage to Klaus Schulze than this album so well done that even me I thought I was listening KS

CD1 (76:14)

1 Klaustrophilia Part 1(11:08)

2 Klaustrophilia Part 2 (19:01)

3 Klaustrophilia Part 3 (14:05)

4 Klaustrophilia Part 4 (15:08)

5 Klaustrophilia Part 5 (8:54)

6 Klaustrophilia Part 6 (7:57)

CD2 (77:00)

7 Klaustrophilia Part 7 (10:59)

8 Klaustrophilia Part 8 (25:40)

9 Klaustrophilia Part 9 (13:19)

10 Klaustrophilia Part 10 (18:24)

11 Klaustrophilia Part 11 (8:35)

(CD-r/DDL 153:14) (V.F.)

(Berlin School, Prog ambient music)

Composed a music to accompany the release of a book on Klaus Schulze! Hmmm… Who would I ask? Michael Brückner? Without a shadow of a doubt. Think about it! Let's say that over the past ten years or so… Which artist has stood out the most in the field of Berlin School's style EM? An artist who year after year offers one or more albums where long improvised movements, like à la Belle Époque, are inundated with synth solos. An artist who seems to be involved in all projects while lending his music to the skillful hands of Tommy Betzler. An artist who, like Klaus Schulze, would bend over backwards to satisfy his audience. The very creative Michael Brückner meets these criteria, and well beyond. And this mega-album breathing the creativity and the daring genius of Klaus Schulze was conceived in one of his creative turbulence that the musician from Mainz knows regularly. Imagined and delivered in 2020, in the course of 5 big albums, KLAUSTROPHILIA was first designed to accompany Olaf Lux's book, Violins Don't Grow on Trees - The Life and Work of Klaus Schulze. The first draft, including a CD was released in November 2020. I was lucky to have a copy, but I did not know in what context to review the album since it was available only to accompany the sales of the book. I told Michael about it and I understood that there would be new developments in early 2021. And now this 2CD-R HQ edition comes out in early February 21. Two CDs for more than 2:30 hrs. of music on the same subject, is it too much? I invite your eyes to read what my ears have heard.

After a typical overture to the long movements of the retro Berlin School, it is through long bellowing coming from the void that the musicality of Klaustrophilia Part 1 takes shape. Layers bursting of reverberations extend this prismatic ambience specific to the label of the genre whose spin drying allows filaments growing in the hums of soft chthonic voices. And more than 110 seconds later, a line of the sequencer sculpts a beginning of rhythm zigzagging in perfumes of Tangerine Dream (yes-yes). Minimalist, this staggering rhythm roams corridors where the essences of Schulze gradually invade the ambiences, especially when the percussions, which fall around the 5th minute, reshape Klaustrophilia Part 1 in a good electronic rock of KS's Dreams years. All that's missing is the fluty mellotron breaths, and the illusion would be perfect. Klaustrophilia Part 2 is one of the atmospheric titles that gradually turn into something pleasant to discover. Beats and their echoes, strolling through an introduction sewn into the thread of dreams, intersect with scattered jingles. This is enough to create a membrane strong enough to install synth solos that come and go in a vision of discretion between the muffled roars of the reverberating waves of the synthesizer. Solos and sordid waves are at the core of an ambient choreography with acrobatic forms which develop a propensity for bewitching spells with sharp and buzzing tones. The ambient rhythm evolves in a phase of sound turmoil when the solos return to perform acrobatic loops and musical gesticulations for another excellent 4 minutes. Back in its 14 minutes, the rhythm of Klaustrophilia Part 2 begins a destabilizing lyrical phase. I don't waste a lot of time figuring out if I liked it or just liked it that Klaustrophilia Part 3 takes me to another level with electronic rock like you rarely hear. A chthonic tribal genre! Excellent title all in sequences and percussions, it sounds like it's real KS. All that's missing is the Gregorian choir! Often times, a title of this magnitude comes with its anti-climax. I don't know why, but that's how it is! Klaustrophilia Part 4 is that cold shower. It's a progressive ambient music title that is appreciated by cutting it into segments. We find there good solos, this line of static oscillations of the 70's and good percussions which will not manage to create a homogeneity, except for its last 5 minutes where a tribal essence manages to cement the whole thing in a progressive rock with a daring melody on synth. Its organic-electronic noises cross the border of Klaustrophilia Part 5 whose almost cinematographic opening à la Vangelis plunges us into a long ambient structure well animated by more intense, even dramatic phases. Klaustrophilia Part 6 shakes up these ambiences with a circular movement of the sequencer which brings the ambiences to wring out the last vestiges of Part 5. This call to rhythm persists and passes between banks of vaporous drizzle where it remains well wriggling in its static state.

On the edition accompanying the book, Klaustrophilia Part 7 was the last title. It's a title whose slight hesitant structure comes out of an opening to nebulous prismatic moods. There are big gorges here that are ready to swallow this scintillating rhythm like this red dot in the same rotary pattern. It survives by adding, like removing, its superfluous sparkles while the ambiences behind change scenery, always Mephistophelic, which is this sordid companion throughout its 11 minutes. Designed in the mold of Klaustrophilia Part 2, but more lively, Klaustrophilia Part 8 is sculpted in a model that complements its skin changes. More ambient but just as lively, the rhythm shakes its spasmodic framework which befits well with the ambiences in place. The heart of this track is absolutely magnificent with its spasmodic structure which gives itself an impetus to cross the next 10 minutes of Klaustrophilia Part 8 in a solid symphonic electronic rock unique to the signature of KS… oh sorry, by Michael Brückner. Regardless, it's one of the good moments of KLAUSTROPHILIA which is followed by the electronic ride of Klaustrophilia Part 9. The percussions counterbalance this lively structure by slowing it down so as to anchor another movement of percussive sequences. They dance and wriggle like galloping castanets while the synth dominates the spaces with good arrangements while injecting beautiful harmonious loops that turn and turn in a rhythmic setting as alive as its rhythm. We enter into Klaustrophilia Part 10 and its leaping rhythm which becomes the bed of these electronic musical experiences that KS liked to introduce and defend with the dexterity we know from him. Here, it's MB who defends it. He does it with less orchestrations and without layers of operas to prioritize solos and sometimes equally scathing electronic dialogues. An inexplicable cacophony that becomes inexplicably seductive as you discover its dimensions under the petticoats of its bed. Klaustrophilia Part 11 pushes itself away from these ambiences to marry a furious electronic rock running at high speed for its first 6 minutes with a series of static oscillations of the percussions and the sequencer. A harpsichord follows this rhythmic impulse which rises and falls in the tumult of its echo where a soft breeze attaches itself to it to spread its morphic dust in a finale which is really the antipode of this rhythmic explosion that we didn't expected anymore ...

One cannot find a better musical homage to Klaus Schulze than with KLAUSTROPHILIA which is a whole work that Michael Brückner composed in homage to the German musician who strongly influenced him concerning his choice of career. And as always, he does more than the customer asks for with 153 minutes that transport us to the best moments of the 80's as well as little Mirage's perfumes well inserted through the 11 movements of this album where I found myself thinking that I was listening to Klaus Schulze here and there.

Sylvain Lupari (March 19th, 2021) *****

Available at Michael Brückner Bandcamp

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