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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Michael Brückner Two Letters from Crimea (2014)

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

Two Letters From Crimea album has all the assets to please those who enjoyed so far the music of Michael Brückner. I'm part of them

CD 1

1 The Black Sea Part I 8:38

2 The Black Sea Part II 10:54

3 The First Letter 12:25

4 Odenwald 8:08

5 The Last Letter 14:58

6 Peter (Part 1) 6:10

7 Peter (Part 2) 7:46

8 The Haven of Peace 9:46

CD 2

1 In that First Light (Opening Improvisation) 24:04

Bonus Tracks

2 (No) Saints 31:33

3 Waiting Here, I Remember the Bells... 20:29

(DDL 154:57) (V.F.)

(Ambient beat and music)

The least we can say is that Michael Brückner is very prolific at the end of 2014. Ombra, Your Second Chance, that I haven’t heard yet, and finally this album come to end a year in which the musician from Heidelberg had given us the beautiful Thirteen Rites of Passage as well as the intriguing Sparrows. TWO LETTERS FROM CRIMEA is a true electronic mass where the atmospheres embrace rhythms in the soft clothes of down-tempos which originate from a concert given in an old church, Sankt Peter, of Frankfurt on April 1st, 2014. For this occasion, the music was to follow the evolution of a spectacle of lasers and lights set up by local artists.

A long-muffled buzz floods our ears. While some sizzling particles and elements of cosmos are sparkling in the rather dark atmospheres, layers of synths with orchestral sweetness float gracefully. The contrast effect is enveloping. And we hardly notice these crystalline tinkles which sparkle delicately, forming the melodic cradle which will seduce our ears a few minutes later. Muffled explosions are heard and shake the finale of The Black Sea Part 1 which drifts limply towards its suite and towards its slightly hopping rhythm. The percussions which feed the soft ambient rhythm of The Black Sea Part 2 pour towards an ambient tribal genre while the dark pulsations of the bass-drums forge a lascivious down-tempo where astral sensuality is there. Michael creates beautiful synth pads that shimmer like reflections in the dark. They cradle the chants of the prisms, of which the symmetry of the melody results in a nice earworm, and blaze in the fluid orchestral jerks and in the astral eddies. They shape intertwining which caress and reject themselves in a fascinating symbiosis which is as much harmonious than ambient, so making of The Black Sea one of the most bewitching and seductive titles in Brückner's repertoire. And there is not just one! The First Letter and Odenwald are monuments of dark ambiences with well-felt drones, layers floating with threatening airs and with a lot of whispers which could very well awaken any form of latent paranoia. The Last Letter always exploits the esoteric atmospheres which feed the core of this album. We hear shooting stars, white noises, chirps and synth pads which rumble like space shuttle reactors in a long intro which is delicately whipped by a series of percussions and bass sequences whose shadows support a steady rhythm. An ambient rhythm, not really far from a down-tempo, where shine, cry and shout tears and synth pads which give a more cosmic than enigmatic aspect to this very hypnotic sonic envelope which easily makes its way in the center of our two hemispheres. I really liked the evolution of The Last Letter. Just like that of Peter (Part 1) which merges into Peter (Part 2) and whose whole thing sounds like so much, with a few nuances near, to The Last Letter. It's a good down-tempo sat on good pulsations from a bass-drum, good cosmic elements and nice floating orchestrations. This kind of things always has its effect. With its oneiric piano which loses some delicate notes in vapors of the melancholy, The Haven of Peace clings to our earlobe in order to climb up, find accommodation and make a good nest. The notes wander with nostalgia, shifting their shadows in synth thin lines perfumed of sadness and muffled explosions that scatter a dramatic veil. Manual percussions, tribal genre, drum a rhythm which separates from the ambient melody, displaying a strange contrast that is amplified as the rhythm is anchored with more tenacity. The Haven of Peace, which always retains its aura of sadness, plunges into a somewhat messed-up down-tempo where the spirals that surround it continue to spread this contrast between this rhythm, always a little more lively, and this melody, still scowling.

In that First Light (Opening Improvisation) is a long ambient title with a dramatic envelope that strolls in cosmic elements. The synth pads are heavy, and the orchestrations are nice and quite striking, weaving intense moments that make implode this long structure in some beautiful lunar phases. It's cosmic ambient which is very meditative while (No) Saints, recorded in studio, reminds us of Klaus Schulze's influences on Michael Bruckner. The intro offers a good ambient phase with synth layers having somewhat Jean-Michel Jarre's aromas that float with in a pool of sound beeps. Beeps that subtly metamorphose into sequences with haggard keys that sculpt a fuzzy rhythm. These keys end up hopping on the spot while the belly of the beast gargoyles. And (No) Saints to push itself with a pulsating rhythm where the keys peck the heavy pulsations, casting movements of sequences which spin, come and go in phases of silence. (No) Saints scatter its minutes with these phases of rhythm, always quite incomplete, which trample on the spot or whirl intensely in ambiences which little by little regain their rights on a disheveled structure. It's quite the opposite with Waiting Here, I Remember the Bells ..., which is based a little on the model of (No) Saints, but with more luminosity in the ambiences and more cohesion, sagacity in the rhythm. I hear Software here and it's genuinely nice.

I fell in love with the music of Michael Brückner since I heard 100 Million Miles Under the Stars, one of my favorite albums in 2012. And since then, the German musician has not stopped impressing. TWO LETTERS FROM CRIMEA doesn't look like Sparrows but is as good as Thirteen Rites of Passage. The only weak point is this impression of hearing the same structures, the same primers and approaches on different tracks. But is this really a weak point when you consider that the music follows the illuminations of a light show? But whatever, this album has everything to please. And present in a format of 1 CD, TWO LETTERS FROM CRIMEA would not be far from Sparrows in the list of good albums in 2014.

Sylvain Lupari (January 3rd, 2015) ***½**

Available at Michael Brückner Bandcamp

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