MICHAEL BRÜCKNER: The Crossing of Zone 3 (2021)
Updated: Oct 16, 2021
“What I know is that from a simple idea, Michael has created a brilliant story”
1 The Crossing of Zone 3 - Parts 1 & 2 (22:00)
2 Triangular (5:41)
3 A Conspiracy of Teapots (11:03)
4 The Crossing of Zone 3 - Parts 3 & 4 (21:52)
5 Summoning the Return of Light (5:25)
6 The Crossing of Zone 3 - Part 5 (10:59)
BONUS TRACKS (36:00)
7 Parts 1 & 2 (First Unused Version) (22:00)
8 Triangular (Luxur Crystalis Mix) (14:00)
(CD 77:00 / DDL 113:00) (V.F.)
(Progressive EM Berlin School)
I love Michael Brückner's level of creativity! The saying; expect the unexpected fits him like a glove. Because even though we know what to expect from his music. We never know what form it will take to surprise us. THE CROSSING OF ZONE 3 plunges the listener into a zone defying the limits of our imagination. Is it a soundtrack for a science fiction movie or a horror movie with all the screaming and mooing that goes on in a journey full of interplanetary sound effects? And if it was both! Even the splendid artwork gets us mixed and puts us between the two options. What I do know is that from a simple idea, Michael has created a brilliant story.
A story that starts with gloomy waves of sounds. A bit like those cries of fright muffled by the trees and mountains of a mythical forest belonging to the brotherhoods of lycanthropes and bloodsuckers. Roars coming out of the void are like those cries of fright coming from a metal that is heated to white. As for the waves, they melt in the first mutations with long and slow rubbings on the strings of a giant cello. And as if entering The Crossing of Zone 3 - Parts 1 & 2 wasn't so intimidating, so frightening, a big organ layer adds a luciferian dimension to this mass of sounds and screeches that has been nagging our ears for a good 6 minutes. True, with these layers of voices the last minute seems more ethereal and the bells add a touch of seraphim, paving the way for the first hesitant steps of the sequencer. A short line of ambient rhythm swings back and forth in a green jungle. A sign that darkness dwells behind us, even if psychedelic ululations float around this rhythm that receives the help of percussions a couple of minutes later. Harp sounds, monkey calls, bizarre bird songs and explosions surround this downtempo which is flirting with a vision of paradise. The sequencer continues to weave its rhythmic ripples that oscillate in a surreal jungle from which a form of sonic echo responds to these ripples now unfolding in jerks. The percussions abandon the rhythm, plunging The Crossing of Zone 3 - Parts 1 & 2 in a transition zone towards a fiery electronic rock to be sucked by the void some moments later. Triangular offers a series of rhythmic loops that go up and down in a hypnotic spiral. A series of bass-pulses accompany the sequencer's approach, creating two parallel structures whose shadow of one spills over the other. Surprisingly, the transition between these two tracks is done as if nothing had happened. Like if we had heard the skeleton of the title in The Crossing of Zone 3 - Parts 1 & 2. Then a sonic haze infiltrates this limping gait around the second minute. And like the great master of minimalist art that he is, MB inserts tinkles to this magnetizing structure whose intensity overflows on the first 20 seconds of quietness before A Conspiracy of Teapots starts to convulse in our ears. We are in the realm of big cosmic progressive rock with a fiery rhythm, captured by electrified bass-sequences and a line of oscillating ones. The synth weaves beautiful harmonies that acclimate quite well to the pulsing bass-lines while licking its cosmic ambiences with good solos.
It is in a context similar to the first two parts that The Crossing of Zone 3 - Parts 3 & 4 accosts our ears. The winds are more musical and less disturbing. Although still having those werewolf mooings and other dystopian night creatures, they float and flutter in an aerial procession with a fusion between organ and synth layers, stimulating a dual-ideology atmosphere. In a slightly different structure, the transitional phases come within seconds of each other, but just enough to keep the listener far enough away from this perception, especially when the electronic percussions beat up The Crossing of Zone 3 - Parts 3 & 4 after its 10th minute. The hammering of the percussions, as violent as it is, slows down its migration towards Electronica, keeping the music in a good electronic rock well defended by very good percussions programming and a stable sequence line supporting a fascinating Black Mass melody. A big track that brings us to a first atmospheric crossing of THE CROSSING OF ZONE 3 with Summoning the Return of Light and its vintage electronic effects that rather serve like an introduction to The Crossing of Zone 3 - Part 5 and its driving electronic rock on another good electronic percussions game. So much so that I was forced to ask Michael who played percussions on this album. And like the first two phases of this eponymous track, the music goes through transitional phases to stun us more and more with a new rhythmic upswing. And each of them increases the intensity and creativity in the melodic passages and synth solos.
The purchase of THE CROSSING OF ZONE 3, CD or downloadable version, includes two bonus tracks. Parts 1 & 2 (First Unused Version) should have opened the album. We are entitled to a totally different vision with an opening filled of synth solos with Arabic colors, screeching in a landscape decorated with darkness and sequenced clickings. A first transition phase brings forth a passage of sidereal winds crossed by a movement more luminous than rhythmic of the sequencer. A brief passage that is filled by layers of absent voices that unlocks towards an electronic rhythm braided of sharp oscillations. Not heavy rock or Electronica, but a lively EM that metamorphoses through surprising rhythmic gradations. Both visions are very good! So a nice bonus... Olaf Lux found the first draft of Triangular too short. And Triangular (Luxur Crystalis Mix) puts things to Olaf's taste with a development stretched over almost 9 minutes. Everything that comes after the 5:41 mark is more than just enchantment. First, the percussions' strikes make the texture more spasmodic, while the tinkling bells, appended to the Arabian synth solos, oversize a more ethereal musical soundscape. The rhythm breaks at the 11th minute, letting its ashes evaporate while following a ghostly pattern trapped in the backwash of the last synthesized waves. Once again, a very nice album from Michael Brückner!
Sylvain Lupari (October 16th, 2021) ****½*
Available at SynGate Bandcamp