New Releases and Reviews - Brückner - The Undercurrent - review by S. Schelle
BruecknerAmbient - Fri Nov 15, 2019 1:50 pm
Post subject: Brückner - The Undercurrent - review by S. Schelle
BruecknerAmbient - Thu Nov 21, 2019 6:11 pm
Reviewer Michael Hodgson found nice words about "The Undercurrent" for Progarchives online magazine!
He draws the conclusion:
"It's not easy to deliver proggy electronic music and not have it instantly sound like a science-fiction soundtrack, but Brückner has achieved that again here, and while `The Undercurrent' may be constantly melodic and rhythmic based, it's never at the expense of intelligently drawn out pieces with plenty of energetic soloing.
Michael must be the eternal optimist, because one thing that instantly stands out about this disc is that, while it offers more sombre and confronting moments, there is a constant sense of triumph, humanity and hope always emerging throughout.
Four stars for another superb disc from the artist."
Read Michael's full review here:
BruecknerAmbient - Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:09 am
"The Undercurrent" is currently featured as "album of the week" at the German electronica radio station Modul303 - thanks to the boys there for that!
BruecknerAmbient - Fri Dec 13, 2019 11:19 pm
German reviewer Jochen König wrote a detailed and positive review of "The Undercurrent" for musikreviews.de...
Read Jochen's original (German) review here - or my (rough) English translation below:
"The Undercurrent" is MICHAEL BRÜCKNER's seventh solo release on the Syngate label, which has already released his debut. Most of the tracks on the album date from 2016 and some of them can be found on various compilations. Still Brückner chooses the album form consciously: "This album tells a story of contrasts between dark tendencies and shining hope, between decline and growth, between stagnation and evolution...".
The music is accordingly varied. Flowing, melancholic passages alternate with strong rhythmic accents ("Activate!"). Even if the basic tone is sad and thoughtful, the anger about the misconduct of the earth's population is quite noticeable. This does not translate into a dissonant play with complete structural dissolution (Brückner probably doesn't want to be a Penderecki at all), but at times it gains a strong sharpness. This is supported by the integration of spoken sequences.
In transitions and after the second part of "A Greater Hope" we hear an African boy who stepped up to the podium during a climate demonstration in London. "The Unanswered Question" contains the beginning of the opening speech of the American senator, governor and environmental activist Gaylord Nelson on the first Earth Day in 1970, accompanied by darkly boiling ambient sounds:
"Earth Day can - and it must - lend a new urgency and a new support to solving the problems that still threaten to tear the fabric of this society... the problems of race, of war, of poverty, of modern-day institutions. Ecology is a big science, a big concept - not a copout. It is concerned with the total eco-system - not just with how we dispose of our tin cans, bottles and sewage. [Sounds familiar? They knew that 50 years ago. At least smart heads like Nelson...] Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures".
At what point, at what time did mankind take a wrong turn and when a despiser of all of Nelson's wishes (and of humanity) like Donald Trump became possible in the USA?
Of course, "The Undercurrent" is not a political manifesto that subordinates the music to its message. Everyone is free to chill to the floating sounds (like in the twelve "Mount Tuna" extra minutes), to experience their own road movie ("A Greater Hope") in the rhythmic pieces or simply to let themselves go in the sometimes stirring, sometimes spherical passages. The thoughts behind it will spread anyway.
CONCLUSION: "The Undercurrent" offers moments of beguiling beauty, purrs, hisses and rears itself up rumbling. An album for dreamy immersion as well as for increasing one's cognitive perception - for the music and for everything that goes on "out there". Whether you take the political and philosophical impulses with you or not is up to you. "The Undercurrent" works one way or the other and shows how modern and important music can be that has visited the Berlin school, that knows TANGERINE DREAM and VANGELIS well during "Blade Runner" times and remains quite original all the same...
Jochen König, for musikreviews.de
13 points (of 15)
BruecknerAmbient - Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:01 am
EM reviewer Sylvain Lupari also wrote down some very positve observations "The Undercurrent" for his online magazine Synth&Sequences.
"An an album inspired by social, ecological and geopolitical awareness (...) like an architect in his studio, MB has reworked everything into an immensely musical mosaic rich of his subject."
- 4,25 Stars (of 5)
Read the full in-depth review here (there's also a French version on the Synths&Sequences page...):
BruecknerAmbient - Fri Dec 20, 2019 7:37 pm
In came another review: Siggy Zielinski of Babyblaue Seiten Prog-Reviews found some witty and pointed (and positive!) words to say about "The Undercurrent"!
Read his original review here, or my (rough) English translation below:
* * *
The pieces for "The Undercurrent" were created between 2013 and 2016 and were intended for very different occasions, such as compilations, concerts and testing of new equipment.
Recently, Michael Brückner had probably been looking for ideas and themes for his new CD that could reflect his thoughts about the current developments of this world. Developments that seem to be very contradictory, confusing and serious and are therefore ideal for reflection. So the previously unused pieces of the last years came in handy for him and he was able to make a (hopefully) coherent album out of them.
In keeping with the difficult and at the same time diverse themes, the music sometimes seems melancholic and thoughtful, sometimes light-footed and optimistic.
"The Undercurrent Part 1 (Subliminal)" and "The Unanswered Question", which are held in the spirit of the "Berlin School" and Klaus Schulze respectively, stand out very pleasantly due to a well thought-out and multi-layered network of melodic and rhythmic ideas. The compact-melodic, sometimes poppy "A Greater Hope" tries to spread optimism and reminds of Tangerine Dream as they played in the 80s. "24 Hours And 16 Days (In Amnesia)" moves from the melancholic ambient soundscapes to the sequencer motifs that have an uplifting effect on me. With an (almost) real drum sound and sounding like a healthy zest for action, "Activate!" seems to flirt a bit with symphonic progressive rock.
I am happy to say that after what feels like at least 200 albums in the field of electronic music, the tireless Michael Brückner still knows how to please the friends of this genre with fresh ideas.
10 points (of 15)
Siggi Zielinski for Babyblaue Seiten, 12-19
BruecknerAmbient - Sun Jan 05, 2020 4:49 pm
"The result is rhythmic, melodic and contemporary (...) Michael is at his best when (...) strings of catchy sequencer patterns paired with assorted rhythm create beams of wonderful, versatile energy..."
Many thanks to our fellow EMP member Bert Strolenberg for his review of "The Undercurrent" on his excellent review page "Sonic Immersion"!
You can read Bert's complete review here:
BruecknerAmbient - Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:06 pm
Reviewer Carsten Agthe wrote a nice little review of "The Undercurrent" for the current issue of ECLIPSED (print) magazine!
Here's my (rough) English translation of it:
Electronica / Berlin School
7 stars (of 10)
Similar: Tangerine Dream; Klaus Schulze;
Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder
"All music conceiverd, performed, recorded and produced by Michael Brückner between 2013 and 2019 (but mostly in 2016)". Not that the musician had been relatively inactive between 2013 and 2019 - on the contrary, his presence at Bandcamp shows his ambitious enthusiasm for releases. However, certainly there was some material left that still needed a concept for a release. Nevertheless, "The Undercurrent" is more of a homogeneous album than a collection of leftovers.
First of all, there is the title track, which is a two-part, ten-minute pulse flow and combines Trance with Berlin School in a completely unagitated way.
With "Activate!" there is a discreet course correction towards Krautrock by means of drums, and while "A Greater Hope" shows a laudation to Tangerine Dream & Co., "The Unanswered Dream" (note: actually "Question") takes us directly into Nirvana in its 21 minutes of playing time.
Top track: The Unanswered Dream (Question)
BruecknerAmbient - Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:15 pm
BruecknerAmbient - Fri Feb 21, 2020 12:30 pm
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