MICHAEL BRÜCKNER: Recycled Life (2021)
“Recycled Life belongs to Michael Brückner's very good albums”
CD 1 73:15
1 The Recirculation Chambers 10:53
2 The In-Between (Part 1) 3:12
3 Störtebecker Returning 9:15
4 The In-Between (Part 2) 2:26
5 Backspin 6:11
6 The In-Between (Part 3) 3:15
7 Gentle Rotation (Version 1) 8:49
8 A Break in the In-Between 12:19
9 Back to Where you Started 5:13
10 Circles of Joy 8:54
11 The In-Between (Part 4) 2:48
CD 2 71:57
1 A Question of Re-Entry 14:15
2 Recycled Lives 17:14
3 Round and Round 9:04
4 The In-Between (Part 5) 1:32
5 Gentle Rotation (Version 2) 11:11
6 Loop Velocity 9:24
7 The Cycle (Stepping Out) 8:17
Cyclical Dreams Music
(CD-R/DDL 125:12) (V.F.)
(Progressive Berlin School)
A big flash of sound! The Recirculation Chambers introduces us to this RECYCLED LIFE with a big flash of sounds that spreads its slickness to the ambient flavors of Pink Floyd. Another big sounds' flash comes 62 seconds later. This time it awakens a rhythm tugging against its silence. It wobbles muted in an industrial hole where water oozes in echo. A line of arpeggios begins to flicker while floating in a circular motion after a final flash whose muffled effect escapes our expectation. Two seconds after the 3rd minute, the percussions lead The Recirculation Chambers into an electronic rock quickly mutating into Electronica and its futuristic sound effects. Feeding mainly on its echo effects, the rhythm offers this illusion of sonic richness with arcade noises and intergalactic sound effects, giving a quality start to this new album by Michael Brückner. Composed mainly of tracks that the Mainz musician played in streaming concerts between March and April 2021, this double cd-r album has all the tools it take to please to Michael's fans and those attracted by sequencer-based electronic rock and/or Berlin School. There have been some alterations to eliminate the problems related to the transmission, but the essence is intact and offers a very different side of MB who uses his drone effects to make up its background, because RECYCLED LIFE is an album all in rhythms with a synthesist committed to show us his rhythmic side of the Berlin School and of the New Berlin School. Contrary to what is conveyed elsewhere, there is little essence of Tangerine Dream, if only at the level of the sequencer, brilliant in all its phases, or of Klaus Schulze, except for the synth solos which join the audacities of the German master in concert. For the rest, it's Michael Brückner and his rhythmic explorations as we have come to know them since One Hundred Million Miles Under the Stars...
The In-Between (Part 1) is the first of 5 atmospheric sections bridging selected tracks. Its morphic softness is essential to give rhythmic momentum to the sequencer and its crystalline jumping keys that rise and fall in an upward motion unique to an ambient Berlin School. This minimalist structure of Störtebecker Returning swells with the arrival of the bass-pulses and of sober percussions that will get in later. If you're thinking of Software, I'm with you 😊! The rhythmic keys form a hypnotic swarm of bugs are fluttering around the percussions and pulses where various sonic and musical textures will be grafted to constantly ignite our musical quest and visions. The track blends beautifully into The In-Between (Part 2) which leads into Backspin and its fascinating rhythmic texture fed by a creative sequencer. By creating a multi-layer's rhythmic structure, MB gives us an earful. He adds a whistling melody that will roll in loops throughout the 6 minutes of this track that will invite in its decor these mystical mists, to give a more sibylline dimension to the music, and other voice effects in order to annihilate any effect of redundancy in this hypnotic structure from its melody and its rhythm. A rhythm that screws us to our headphones (and/or speakers) in a rhythmic choreography unique to EM and the dexterity of its designer. The percussions come in between the second and third minute. They provide the basis of a good electronic rock that will complete the fortifications of Backspin.
More musical and emotional, The In-Between (Part 3) transitions us to Gentle Rotation (Version 1). Its braided rhythm between two lines that crisscross their uniform jumps with a jerky effect in the bottom loop. A minimalist movement that draws its tonal fauna into the spheres of its growing circle, this first version of Gentle Rotation is a good ambient Berlin School with a layer of emotive orchestral haze and its Arabic texture that invites itself after the second minute. One is lulled by this movement until a flute with no tribal affiliation thwarts the senses by becoming a synth solo in astral communication mode. The percussions storm between the 5th and the 6th minute, to disappear at once and reappear to solidify a texture finally welcoming its mellotron flute style. This is how we get into A Break in the In-Between (what a joker this Michael is) and its agitated opening like the crazy water of a stream under the sound reflections of the stars. It's a long ambient track with a musical heart that makes vibrating its sparkling arpeggios in an atmospheric setting where mists and winds fan out so that we can see those stars singing us a mechanical ritornello. This is how we get lost until Back to Where you Started which stretches its ambient loops into space, drifting with its metallic laments to a jerky sequencer flow. Circles of Joy is like its title. The jerky rhythm of the start takes on a spheroidal shape which spins in a convulsive circle where bass-pulses, percussions and orchestral mists become at its pay. The percussions inject a base of Electronica whose ephemeral life distances itself from this rhythm which does not cease to whirl, even in its most puny and phase form, like the most absent one, which always returning to its essential. It's getting into life again around the 5th minute after a passage where it was interesting to hear its sound mutation for a last third taking away to the land of the swirling hovering for a new horizon. And it happens with the last dense and cosmic ambient passage of The In-Between (Part 4).
The second CD is the wildest of RECYCLED LIFE! A Question of Re-Entry is the only track recorded in the studio on the basis of improvisation. Its opening is ambient with a beautiful synth voice humming moment of astral ecstasy. The synth invites itself in this vocal duel, throwing a veil which becomes progressively prismatic in this ambient texture where a form of intensity is born linked to the more and more perceptible rumbling of a reverberations layer. A jerking effect clears up these ambiences some 20 seconds after the 4th minute, guiding it towards a structure of stationary electronic rhythm with a synth and its solos as well as its multiple sound effects. This phase calms down around the 10th minute, letting the rushes be digested by the looping effects of the synth. And then the fog and its effects lead us to the Luciferian introduction of Recycled Lives. Its sly step comes out of this chthonic membrane after the second minute. It gives the impression of groping its way forward, relying on the ambiences that surround it. Dark choir and cabalistic sound effects enclose a slow hypnotic migration with the prismatic vocals of a synth tracker of rhythm. Sound elements get excited around the 6th minute. Hoops hitting each other to dislocate their twirling arpeggios in an effort to make harmonic contacts. These moments are very Software in this album. Things change with more velocity in the spinning arpeggios and the addition of percussions that forces the sequencer to move. Magical from the second minute, Recycled Lives extends its magnetic beauty even further with this orchestral haze bank that adds musical depth to this long New Berlin School bursting with arpeggios and sequences flowing like elastic riffs. The percussions further change the course of the Babylonian orchestrations, taking the track towards a more or less sustained electronic rock and allowing the synth to weave solos with psychedelic contortions.
A big track whose last mechanical breath is lost in the short opening of Round and Round which explodes after its 51st second with a pulsating rhythm created in the multi rhythmic lines of the sequencer. Samples of percussions, some tribal, solidify this rhythm at times spasmodic and at times purely e-rock, giving all the latitude needed for MB to throw his solos in the most progressive creativity possible. More musical, The In-Between (Part 5) flows like a Kitaro romance. It sounds very New Age while giving another dimension to the rather lively CD2 of RECYCLED LIFE. Then comes Gentle Rotation (Version 2) which is very similar to Gentle Rotation (Version 1), but with a more accentuated rhythmic core. Let's just say that it flows very well here, especially when its rhythm joins Loop Velocity and its hectic structure on a bed of hybrid tonal sequences. Creating a texture of e-rock and another more tribal that intertwine their visions under other synth solos as crazy and bold as those red lasers are when wanting to excite a big lazy tomcat. This track, which doesn't seem to want to die, decreases its pace to infiltrate the more peaceful one of The Cycle (Stepping Out). The jumping keys don't wreak havoc here. They jump in a minimalist pattern that a line of arpeggios imitates in a more musical, more harmonious vision. This electronic choreography is introduced in a bank of orchestral haze around the second minute, giving this astral momentum that envelops us with a zest of pagan sensuality until the 4th minute and a half. An isolated arpeggio dances on a sequence of bass-pulses to finally waltz with a synth awkwardly disguised as a violin but above all to bring us to a finale worthy of this mega album-double of Michael Brückner.
Available from Friday, July 23, 2021, on CD-R and download on the Cyclical Dreams label, RECYCLED LIFE belongs to the category of very good Michael Brückner albums. A very well-balanced album between its rhythms, both soft and wild, and its meditative phases which are timely and strongly justified. Great MB who is as bold as Klaus in his synth solos and as Cartesian as Chris Franke on the sequencer. Hats off to you Michael!
Sylvain Lupari (July 20th ,2021) ****¼*
Available at Cyclical Dreams Bandcamp