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Michael Brückner - Triplet (Tommy Betzler and Michael Brückner feat. Sammy David) CD (album) cover

TRIPLET (TOMMY BETZLER AND MICHAEL BRÜCKNER FEAT. SAMMY DAVID)

Michael Brückner

 

Progressive Electronic

4.00 | 1 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars With their first album being playfully called `Two' (a reference to the actual pairing up of German electronic artist Michael Brückner and electronic-percussionist Tommy Betzler, not their second album!), it only makes sense that the duo name their follow-up `Triplet', right?! In this case, it's a reference to the added prominence of guitarist Sammy David, who contributed to parts of the first collaboration but appears in greater capacity here, and, like the debut, it helps make `Triplet' a first-rate crossover work that sits perfectly between ambient spacey electronics with something closer to a more accessible progressive rock approach.

The four pieces on offer here are essentially later studio adaptions of ideas and themes that the main trio of musicians here mostly improvised at the E-Live festival at Oirschot in the Netherlands on October 29th 2016. Eighteen minute opener `The Trip' moves between a reflective atmospheric mood and lively stronger colourful bursts. Introduced by one of those stark piano ruminations that Brückner always does so well, whirring spacey trills and eerie Mellotron flute wisps flit around mellow bluesy Pink Floyd-like ringing guitar soloing. Guest keyboardist Fredryk Jona again contributes some tasty and delirious Moog Voyager solos, and once Tommy's electronic drums and pattering of percussion carefully break to the surface and take hold alongside softly bouncing sequencer patterns, the piece lightly comes to resemble Tangerine Dream's `Force Majeure' album.

Brückner and his electronics mostly step back for `Trilogy', allowing guitarist Sammy David to take much of the spotlight with plentiful soloing frequently in the manner of David Gilmour, but also adopting a tougher hard rock drive in parts, Tommy's constant punchy e-drumming pushing the piece towards an 80's Tangerine Dream flavour. `Doublette' then returns to the core pairing of Brückner and Betzler for a lengthy twenty-three minute workout that seamlessly transitions back and forth between softly sweeping cinematic-like synths, unhurried ambient deep-space drifts and liquid programmed trickles with stronger up-tempo rhythmic bursts fuelled by Tommy's drums, and it makes for a varied and unpredictable piece full of crowd-pleasing soloing.

The main CD also includes a bonus track of a live-in-the-studio interpretation from the four musicians of the third and longest set from the above mentioned show, here entitled `(Three) To the Flame of Life'. Rumbles of drums and cymbal crashes build behind weeping and spacey synth cries, programming slithers, buoyant beats and bubbling wavering psychedelic spirals bleeding over gutsy guitar soloing and peppy drumming, with a dreamy closing few minutes culminating in an uplifting triumphant finale.

Note that some versions of the `Triplet' CD come with a limited DVD-R (that admittedly works best accessing it from your computer) of rehearsals, interviews and rough concert footage of the main three musicians performing at the above mentioned festival in the Netherlands, and it's wonderful to see the musicians in action at their improvisational best backed to the hypnotic psychedelic visuals provided by Edward Rink and Jeroen Bouma.

Overall, the addictive and richly subtle`Triplet' would be ideal for listeners who frequently find a lot of prog-electronic/ambient music too vague or repetitive, as the musicians here have created a diverse, focused and interesting collection that remains exploratory and atmospheric but also melodic and easily approached. It has a great crossover appeal for general prog-rock fans with its liberal use of guitar, and overall the set is full of movement, energy and colour. If something that often sounds like a modern interpretation of Tangerine Dream's `Force Majeure/Cyclone'-era sounds intriguing, investigate `Triplet' immediately, and you won't find a better line-up of Michael Brückner, Tommy Betzler and their musical friends to deliver the goods!

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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