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Michael Brückner - Fog Music 35 CD (album) cover

FOG MUSIC 35

Michael Brückner

 

Progressive Electronic

4.00 | 2 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Founded by Jack Hertz in 2012 to support music that defies category, Aural Films is an internet net-label that publishes `soundtrack albums for movies that do not exist', releasing all kinds of engrossing music and sound works ranging from ambient to experimental. Most distinctive of all is a series entitled `Fog Music', a 35 volume (to date) collection by alternating artists that seek to interpret the weather condition known as fog. Light and dark, wet and dry, it's a great source of inspiration for sound artists from around the world, and Hertz aims to publish 24 complete hours of these recordings. If you enjoy ambient music, this is a series well worth investigating, each volume offering something completely different to the last.

It was a huge thrill to learn recently that German electronic artist Michael Brückner would be contributing to a future volume of the `Fog Music' series, and the talented composer has released a varied, intelligent and frequently challenging contribution. An artist of immense variety over a wide range of electronic/ambient styles both modern and vintage, Brückner here offers three long-form twenty-plus minute pieces, all full of haunting atmospheres while daring to take some darker and more experimental risks.

Opener `Vagueness - part 1' is a constantly evolving electronic sound-scape that balances moments of darkness, hope and mystery throughout. Completely devoid of any percussive elements, endless slow-moving washes of synths lap around the listener, some sounding like a groaning chasm of isolation, others taking on a spectral organ-like quality or vacuum-like intensity. It's gloomy without ever being pitch-black, and eventually more hopeful uplifting strains start to break through as if sunlight, but the piece always maintains a mystifying and ethereal quality. There are many moments scattered throughout that will instantly remind of Tangerine Dream's dark ambient masterpiece `Zeit', and if you're a listener who responded well to that divisive work, you should connect with much of this one as well.

The most challenging part comes with the second track `Memory'. A very minimal avant-garde experimental work, careful and subtle electronic drones rise and fall around adult and children's voices drifting in and out, sometimes cut up, other times played backwards and highly distorted. It creates a very disorientating and overwhelming sensation, and it's one of the most eerie, unsettling sound-collages Bruckner has released to date.

Thankfully, the first few minutes of `Vagueness - part 2' bring back a little hope and warmth, full of more soothing and gently enveloping lulling ambient washes. In many ways comparable to the modern music of ambient musician Steve Roach, those who like expansive and slowly revealing and unfolding atmospheric landscapes will enjoy this. But then completely out of the blue (or should that be out of the fog?!), chilly piano creeps in sounding like an outtake from one of the darker chamber prog bands like Univers Zero and Present, instantly bringing great unease and panic. From this point, the two moods fight back and forth against each-other, and Michael seems to be taking a kind of manic glee in the contrasting comforting/terrifying duel!

Although available to listen to free of charge via the Aural Films Bandcamp page, listeners who prefer to own a physical copy of their music can purchase two DVD volumes covering the first 26 volumes for a very affordable price, and ambient/electronic/drone listeners will find hours of endless fascinating material contained on those two discs. You probably won't love every single release, but all are inspired, unique and challenging electronic works that deserve to be heard.

As for Michael Brückner's personal volume here, it's further evidence of his musical creativity, taste and skill, but it's also quite difficult and confronting in parts. It's certainly not the place to start if you're just beginning to want to look into his work - newcomers should investigate his colourful "R is for Rocket, "S" is for Space' or his immersive double album `In Letzer Konsequenz' first. But those already convinced by his talent and with great patience to listen carefully will be rewarded the most here, and those who appreciate darker ambient and drone music will find this a hugely fascinating and rewarding title to explore.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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