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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Michael Brückner Thirteen Rites of Passage (2014)

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

This is what does best regarding an EM which is astride various styles without losing its identity

1 Fluctuations Number Three 14:30

2 Thirteen Rites of Passage 11:37

3 A Train of Thought 10:49

4 Gentle Passages 7:42

5 Spine Transfer Dotcom 8:52

6 The Goddess of the Amber Trees 12:55

7 Fluctuations Number One 10:28

(CD-r/DDL 76:56) (V.F.)

(Mix of techno, IDM, cosmic rock, ambient and Berlin School)

This Michael Brückner is quite resourceful. As well comfortable with the classic Berlin School, like in the ambient style and in rhythms of modern EDM, he shows his big versatility in THIRTEEN RITES OF PASSAGE. This album is a real mosaic of furious rhythms and of meditative electronic moods that the German synthesist has presented during various appearances on stage, or during rehearsals, and on more intimate concerts called Living Room Concerts in 2013. If I was pleasantly surprised by the very good Sparrows, THIRTEEN RITES OF PASSAGE left me on my appetite. It's a superb album where Michael Brückner is the architect of about 80 minutes of EM with harmonies close to Edgar Froese's register which caress sometimes stormy and sometimes softly rhythms where the spectre of Klaus Schulze feeds Michael Brückner's very creative imagination.

A slow black shadow leads a cloud of waves to the obsessing shape and to the colors of melancholy. Fluctuations Number Three is floating between our loudspeakers with a thick cloud of morphic layers which poison themselves of lethal kisses. An intrusive vampiric wave isolates this arrhythmic movement which rebels by freeing a horde of white noises as well as a horde of sequenced keys of which the nervous palpitations get agglutinate in a wild static movement. Unexpected percussions harpoon its rising rhythm and the music runs furiously in a sort of a big e-rock. This lively electronic ride is flogged by synth solos as much acuteness as creative, caressed by orchestral mists and pecked by baroque cracklings before laying down the rhythmic arms and getting lost in the rather cosmic introduction of Thirteen Rites of Passage. The stars shiver here, creating a rainy mood of which the crystalline drops sing more that they fall. Some soft orchestral waves invite each other in this static dance, pushing the title-track towards a slow cosmic ballet filled of scarlet nuances. One would say Tomita on Software. And like in Fluctuations Number Three, a rhythm appearing out of the void catapults Thirteen Rites of Passage towards a finely jerky circular structure with keys skipping in the shadows of the precedent one, so creating a very electronic rhythmic harmonic figure which crawls under a cosmic thick cloud of synth streaks.

A Train of Thought recovers these fragments of stars lost in the introduction of the title track to make them sing in an attractive musical canon with tasty electronic charms. Very early, the rhythm agitates its frenzy with a nervous sequencer which activates its keys in a boiling movement of staccato whose feverish velocity surprisingly accompanies the delicate march of the crystalline arpeggios of the opening. This pulsating rhythm filled with adrenaline and sudden beats fed its fury with a series of heavy oscillations, leading A Train of Thought towards a heavy and furious electronic cosmic rock which goes up and down vertiginously under a sky coppery with layers of acid synths and with choirs a bit heavenly. After a gentle intrusion into a contemplative universe with Gentle Passages, Michael Brückner puts on the clothes that Klaus Schulze put on just before his musical journey with Lisa Gerrard, with a furious and very catchy electronic techno where Spine Transfer Dotcom spreads its IDM rhythm in an electronic pattern filled of tasty cosmic flavors. The Goddess of the Amber Trees is a long ambient title that goes into the introduction to Fluctuations Number One. A bit long, this title can lead a listener who doesn't like the ambient structures at a level of boredom. But when the first sequences stir Fluctuations Number One, THIRTEEN RITES OF PASSAGE ends its versatile electronic odyssey with a superb structure of rhythm, once again very harmonic, where jumping keys in soft wood tones fall at dropper in the oscillations of black pulsations to create a delicious fusion between cosmic techno and IDM. Again, we can't ignore the influences of Klaus Schulze with a series of synth solos, as it has been done too rarely in recent years, which daub with right colors a heavy electronic atmosphere.

Definitively, Michael Brückner is an emerging artist to be very seriously taken. THIRTEEN RITES OF PASSAGE is what does best regarding an EM which is astride various styles without losing its identity. Even if we do not like techno or IDM, or still the ambient or the cosmic rock, the way Brückner brings us where he wants is in the purest subtlety and delicacy here. We fall and we say to ourselves: WoW! And this feeling arrives 6 times on 7 tracks, showing all the depth of an album with a thousand nuances.

Sylvain Lupari (June 17th, 2014) *****

Available at SynGate Bandcamp

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