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Michael Brückner - R is for


Michael Brückner


Progressive Electronic

3.95 | 2 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars German electronic artist Michael Brückner has always shown endless variety throughout his large discography, offering a refreshingly modern take on electronic/space/ambient music, yet still retaining a great respect and love for the work of the vintage artists. His mastery of different styles is instantly evident on 2012's "R" is for Rocket, "S" is for Space". With one exception, all of the tracks on offer here are named for classic science fiction books and anthology stories (see how many you can work out!), and as the title suggests, deep space atmospheres certainly dominate. But while many of the pieces offer upfront keyboard soloing over ticking sequencer patterns and washes of synth wallpapering, there's a great variety of stylish and modern influences brought in, even some light dance elements that make it all sound very fresh and contemporary, and the album reveals even more facets to the talent of Mr Brückner.

Tracks like `L'Etoile Inconnue' and `"R" is for Rocket' favour a sleek Jean-Michel Jarre accessible approachability. `Farewell To The Master', based on `The Day The Earth Stood Still', takes on an almost intimidating symphonic quality. The slowly unfolding twinkling bubbling synths of deep- space sound-collage `The Root of Ampol' is more atmospheric, while the thoughtful `Now: Zero' is a nightmarish clockwork-like experimental interlude. The darker `Ether Breather' offers slinking robotic grooves and an insistent beat over dark exhaling cinematic synths straight out of a science fiction movie. Cool head-nodding beats dance through `The Venus Hunters', the wavering synths of `Thirteen to Centaurus' add plenty of mystery, but be sure to also stick around for the untitled hidden track at the very end, where an improvised chanting vocal brings a world-music quality over a beautiful shimmering synth spiral full of warmth and promise.

But best of all are the two extended pieces. The almost ten minute `The Million-Year Picnic', which jumps from skittering, almost dance-like beats to deep bass murmurs that pulse with evocative symphonic textures. Some of it resembles the later more chilled-out electronic-based Ozric Tentacles pieces, and is it just my ears that picks up a fun and slightly kitschy J-Pop influence in the first few minutes?! Especially listen out for the keyboard duelling back and forth Michael performs (I assume with himself!) at about the half way mark too! Without question, this is one of the coolest tracks Brückner has ever delivered.

"S" is for Space" is the fourteen minute album closer (not counting the secret bonus track!). The longer running-time gives the piece an unhurried quality, and is certainly one of the most restrained tracks on offer here. Swirling ambient synths full of wonder drone into infinity, maddening loops slowly enter and take control, only to be swept around by oceans of synth waves, protective and enveloping. With plenty of subtlety and atmospheric build, this is the piece that most hints at the direction Brückner's albums would eventually take.

Michael Brückner's recent albums may have favoured lengthier and more emotional, challenging long-form compositions, but `'R is for Rocket, 'S is for Space' is pure melodic space music full of variety, colour and movement. Playful and often even fun without being lightweight, it's one of his best albums, makes for an ideal place for newcomers to begin exploring Brückner's work, and is regarded by his established followers and musical supporters as one of his defining releases, and with good reason too.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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