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Michael Brückner - The Dark Path (Alien Nature & Michael Brückner) CD (album) cover

THE DARK PATH (ALIEN NATURE & MICHAEL BRÜCKNER)

Michael Brückner

 

Progressive Electronic

4.00 | 1 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Frequent Syn-Gate label-mates Alien Nature (Wolfgang Barkowski) and Michael Brückner are fresh off two very interesting recent releases this year, with the former offering the noisy Krautrock-flavoured `Unter Null' by pairing-up with Christian Fiesel on the Aural Films label, and the latter reworking an earlier electronic/ambient/world fusion project by collaborating with a range of guests on `All the Pieces Fit Forever'. But the notable modern progressive-electronic German composers team up here for a pure Seventies-modelled Berlin School instrumental stunner, `The Dark Path', which lies somewhere between vintage-era tribute and a deeply atmospheric exploration all its own.

Throughout opener `Mandala', long drawn-out sustained veils of dark symphonic chords and warbling spacey effects build an eerie unease, the piece eventually taking on a more ashen drama with an almost imposing industrial iciness once pulsing colder beats kick in alongside searing slivers cutting through the air. A trilling loop then flits in and out of the slinking electronica of `Endemonic Howls', given a touch of psychedelic weirdness by colourful little bleeding twitches.

The unceasing backdrop of almost twenty-eight minute `Auf Sibernen Pfaden' is pure stormy deep-drone ambience, lightly coated with the fizzy rising/falling sprinkles of Klaus Schulze and his ever-unfolding vast landscapes with manic up-front soloing, and the relentless maddening pattering beats, bubbling effects and aching Mellotron choirs that remind of Tangerine Dream here are the closest Bruckner and Barkowski come to openly acknowledging their Berlin School musical forefathers.

The aptly-titled `Blissful' is absolutely sublime, soaring through deep space with hypnotic swirling electronics and lulling crystalline chimings without ever drifting into overly placid ambient patterns for even a moment, making it one to listen to over and over, completely enveloping and rapturous. Closer `Ionic Master' continues the nice come-down by incorporating tribal percussion and spiralling flute into chilled electronica grooves, truly becoming the soundtrack to a secretive ancient ritual on some faraway alien world...probably!

Even in its more shadowy moments, `The Dark Path' is never quite as pitch-black as its ominous title might suggest, instead preferring to graft mysterious moods to its furthest-space travels, and while the pieces are all unhurried and carefully unfolding, Brückner and Barkowski ensure they are full of movement and never become uneventful or too vague. It's also much more than mere slavish hero-worship recreation going on here (even if the longest piece in the middle comes the closest!), the compositions mostly aiming higher than simply remaking Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze's music using their exact same sounds of old - and let's face it, there's endless lesser electronic artists doing just that. Many repeated plays prove `The Dark Path' to be extremely rewarding and holding a quality that will likely reveal it to retain a timeless quality, and this is pure Berlin School music done right with a couple of other musical diversions also thrown in as well from two intelligent modern progressive-electronic composers.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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