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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Michael Brückner & Volker Lankow Monsoon Offerings (2019)

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

“A bit difficult to tame at some points, this Monsoon Offerings offers a tribal ambient vision of MB”

1 10.000 Mermaids 18:20 2 Monsoon Offering/The Red Lamb 34:44 3 The Boon (Candraka Vasu) 23:06 4 10.000 Mermaids - Alternative Take (Bonus Track) 21:20

5 Playa Imaginaria (Bonus Track) 10:51

Michael Brückner Music (CD/DDL108:21) (V.F.)

(Tribal ambient)

Michael Brückner is without a doubt the counterpart of Steve Roach on the side of EM for our German friends. The native Heidelberg musician is extremely productive and has been composing music at a steady pace since the 2000's. He is on all fronts of creativity and can as much sail on Berlin School as on ambient music, like progressive E-rock and experimental music. MOONSOON OFFERINGS brings us to the borders of a tribal ambient style with a psychedelic vision du to these tribal percussions which drum these sometimes slow and hypnotic rhythms, as well as other lively and frenetic moments. Volker Lankow, who learned how to handle drums in Africa and the Middle East, met Michael Brückner at random rehearsals during concerts around 2015. They have collaborated, always at concerts and/or rehearsals, since with the idea to make an album later. It was while listening to Michael's music on SoundCloud that the percussionist decided to make some tests and present those to the musician who lives now in Mainz. Quietly, the idea of MOONSOON OFFERINGS took shape. While working on Pentecost - The Red Lamb, Suzannah Moon, who had already participated to the mega album All The Pieces Fit Forever, joined the duo.

It's with a blow of Gong that begins the story of 10,000 Mermaids. The background is rather electronic with lapping of ice that crackle in dark breezes. A bass pulsation wanders, waiting for the arrival of Volker Lankow's percussions which begin to dance frantically. The flow of tom-toms is lively and sculpts some African horizons beneath synth layers haloed of dark voices that slip into the reverberant effects of sound drones. The color of the buzzes, as well as the amplitude, evolve without shadowing the work of Lankow who beats his skins with the same efficiency and energy as Byron Metcalf. Moreover, the link to be made between the tribal rhythms of the latter and the colors of the gliding shadows of Steve Roach is without appeal. Perhaps the structure of 10,000 Mermaids is more African tribal than American Indian. But for the rest, it's quite similar and the frenzy and tribal trance are at the same pitch. The synth weaves chirping effects that turn into loops and initiates a beautiful, a more electronic approach at the 9th minute which highlights the talent and agility of Volker Lankow's hands. This is a fiery phase that rolls up until the 15th minute. 10,000 Mermaids is then building itself an ambient finale where wander a few jingles that sounds like an electronic xylophone. The alternative take seems more attractive to me because of a higher intensity in the rhythms and the ambiences. I had the chance to hear Monsoon Offering / The Red Lamb naked. Without percussions, voices nor flutes! Entitled Pentecost - The Red Lamb on SoundCloud, it's a long ambient title and totally deprived of rhythms. It's on this track that Volker Lankow and Suzannah Moon have decided to join their skills in a huge 30 minutes of an EM not really easy to tame. We flirt with an approach that I would describe as a tribal psybient with a strong propensity to be better consumed with a substance that switches up the brain to the fullest. Its first 7 minutes are soporific with the unconvincing voice of Suzannah Moon who hums on a percussion design quite like what we found in the opening room. Without being great, the flute is effective. A new horizon settles with nebulous mists of a synth that also throws jets of mysterious sound incantations. Mists and voices float on a better effort of the percussionist while, discreetly, the flute succeeds in imposing a presence as sibylline as the synth layers with scarlet tones. Between the jerking effects of the synth lines which fall down the ground, the voices and the flutes are dueling with more creative percussions up until that the 2nd part of Monsoon Offering / The Red Lamb reaches a fascinating zenith of dissension. The dynamism of the music transports us into a sort of musical shambles where nothing agrees and yet we feel a fascinating symbiosis. We recognize the influence of Markus Reuter here. There are as many good times as there are idle times. And 10 minutes less with a more energetic dose would have created quite a number!

The Boon (Candraka Vasu) is a very good title. Its introduction is a scientific speech on music and sounds. Crevices juicy of reverberations tear the moods behind this voice and another voice of astral mermaids. The rhythm that comes is a slow tribal with jingles from a xylophone of the South Islands. It's slow but really catchy with a pattern similar to 10,000 Mermaids, less the African approach, in this quiet trance that is clearly in the Roach/Metcalf genre, especially with those weird noises coming from an unknown fauna. Playa Imaginaria (Bonus Track) offers us the best of Michael Brückner, and Volker Lankow by ricochet, in a music based on nervous and spasmodic sequences which roll and hiccough against the drive of very lively percussions. A fluty wave emerges from nothingness, animating a sequencer that loosens its lines of rhythms into sequenced balls which roll in loops into a minimalist pattern. The synth throws discordant solos that get entangled in a mosaic of rhythms and effects that is pretty well supported by the work of manual percussions. It's MB, so it's rich with a little zest of experimentation, both in beats and in synth solos whose tones and complexity have nothing to envy to the best moments of Klaus Schulze. The more we advance in Playa Imaginaria and the more the tension of the rhythm reaches the summits, making of this title an excellent bonus which says a lot about what one can do on the music of Michael Brückner.

Michael Brückner is a real surprise box full of audacity and creativity. MOONSOON OFFERINGS amply shows it by being an album that will reward the one who decided to face the bull by the horns. Despite the many listening, I still find that Monsoon Offering / The Red Lamb, in its original version or this one, is too long for nothing. But the rest is candy for the ears. Volker Lankow's percussion adds an impressive dimension to the electronic odes of the German musician/synthesist whose talent comes out of his ears! Available on Michael Brückner's Bandcamp and the bonus tracks come as well as with the CD purchase that the download version.

Sylvain Lupari (May 15th, 2019) ***½**

Available at Michael Brückner's Bandcamp

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