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Michael Brückner - Ombra - Revisited CD (album) cover

OMBRA - REVISITED

Michael Brückner

 

Progressive Electronic

3.95 | 2 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars July 2014 sees ambient space composer Michael Brückner release a reworked version of an earlier album `Ombra' from 2010, and those who like daring and experimental electronic works will find this one an immersive, challenging yet rewarding hypnotic experience. Initial recordings began as a request from a family friend of Brückner's wife to compose some incidental music to play during a wedding ceremony. Soon the arrangements were moving beyond this original idea, and a surge of inspiration resulted in this collection of lengthy dark drones, low-key slowly unfolding sound collages, reflective synth-scapes and avant-garde experimentation that brings an extra layer of depth to this always intelligent artist and his work.

`Threshhold' opens `Ombra - Revisited' like a thunderstorm, raging thick dark synths only revealing the barest of hope, light and sanctuary. The cacophonous title track is a nightmarish sound collage - lonely despairing cries, animalistic howls, scattered snatches of voices and dream-like glass chimes rising up creating a very claustrophobic panic. `Holsoning' thankfully brings a welcome respite, soothing sighs and placid synth waves caress the listener, droning treated trumpet softly bringing a reflective tone. Like the season it's named for, `Winter's tip-toeing electric piano and glassy synth brushes bring the cold, but the first use of percussive elements on the album with gentle tabla and soft looped beats, not to mention a brief choral mellotron choir deliver approaching warmth. A mix of hot and cold contrasting drone passages weave in and out of each-other throughout the ever-evoloving `Excursion', and for `Distance - Part 1', waterdrops, deep bass groans and booming cavernous programmed beats fight for dominance, with only lilting siren calls offering reassurance from sensory overload.

It's not surprising to find a piece called `Turmoil' filled with dread, confusion and a suffocating dark atmosphere. Like a more surreal, abstract and ambient reinvention of Pink Floyd's `A Saucerful of Secrets' perhaps crossed with the black isolating madness of Tangerine Dream's `Zeit', ghostly somber organ phases in and out, maddening imperial synths melt around the speakers, like worlds being destroyed and reborn over and over. It perfectly transitions into the pristine white fog that hovers with a stillness around the opening of `Garden', soft washes of synths lap at the listener as a drum n' bass skittering beat slowly approaches and brings a slinky dark groove, yet never becomes so loud and obnoxious as to steal all the attention. `Distance - part 2' is a simple low-key drone interspersed with slightly piercing metallic slices, `A Quick Call' a little twinkling interlude, and the surreal `Pastoral' a maddening collage, ominous humming keyboards groaning in the background with only a touching synth cloud at the end to offer anything in line with the title.

`Jeopardy' keeps the pulse raised a little longer with chittering unearthly voices and firing falling synth blasts, `Separation' is a momentary monolithic-like stony slab of isolation, with both of these pieces maintaining a fascinating darker atmosphere. `Beneath A Shadow' has a stalking quality, foot-step piano notes that feel like they're walking directly behind you and spectral choirs. Eventually pattering soft looped beats and levitating lead synth brings a warmer enveloping quality that helps the listener put more distance between the unnerving elements. The sparse `Tree and Path' ends the album on an uplifting and victorious soothing keyboard pool that's like waves forming around you, as if you're basking in the sand on the beach shore.

`Ombra - Revisited' is now available in two different limited versions, the standard CD of this new work or a special edition that includes not only the bonus of the original album, but your own special personalized disk entitled `Your Second Shadow' drawn from hours worth of electronic music composed by the musician! Who knows what waits to be discovered this way?

Difficult but not impenetrable, with many repeated listens a must to fully grasp and appreciate, this is the sort of work that seasoned electronic listeners will get the most out of, who will be able to approach it and listen without being intimidated by the variety of styles and sounds on offer. More experimental that his more easily melodic `Thirteen Rites of Passage', more demanding than the hypnotic `Nauro', with moments of heart racing tension, mysterious fascination and impossible beauty, `Ombra - Revisited' ' is one of Michael Brückner's most meditative, spiritual and varied works yet.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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