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 POLAR VORTEX by Grassow & Brückner - 3rd review

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BruecknerAmbient
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Age: 49
Joined: 11 May 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 3:19 pm    POLAR VORTEX by Grassow & Brückner - 3rd review Reply with quoteBack to top

Dear friends and listeners,

the day has finally arrived! Mr. Green

POLAR VORTEX by drone ambient pioneer Mathias Grassow and myself is now available!

Download on BC (FLAC 24 bit optional, including great 46 min. bonus track)

https://mathiasgrassow.bandcamp.com/album/2019-polar-vortex

https://michaelbrueckner.bandcamp.com/album/polar-vortex

CD on Databloem (glass mastered limited edition in lush digipak with beautiful artwork)

https://databloem.com/home/1480-mathias-grassow-michael-brueckner-polar-vortex.html

Image


For those interested in the story of the album - here it is:

Mathias and Michael first met in 2011 after finding out that they actually lived near to each other. They discovered that they shared not only their musical tastes, but also had similar spiritual leanings and drew from nearly the same sources of inspiration.

In late 2016, Michael conducted an in-depth interview with Mathias, that reflected their conversations and that painted a large picture of Mathias' musical career, experiences, philosophy and insights.
This interview was published in English, German and Russian on several places in the Internet...

www.ambientvisions.com/mathiasgrassowkreuzblut.htm

From there, it was only a small step to the idea of a musical collaboration, and when Mathias received an invitation to contribute a track for a compilation by another Dutch label, Winter-Light (specialised in dark ambient), he asked Michael if he wanted to join him in this… Michael did, and more than an hour of music evolved, of which one track was used on the compilation "...that first season", released in January 2017.

winter-light.bandcamp.com/track/the-fall-of-leafs

The next logical step was a full album, so Mathias and Michael met for an inspired and joyful recording session at Mathias' place in the late summer of 2017, where they not only used synths, but also recorded acoustic piano, guitar, cello and percussion, often heavily treated with all kind of effects.

The material recorded for the compilation and the music recorded in the session, plus a wealth of drones provided by Mathias and additional material recorded by Michael, and yet another session with monochord player Doris Hach and singer Cilia di Ponte formed the pool from which, in the end "Polar Vortex" was created.

The result however had slightly moved away from the dark ambient terrain of "The Fall of Leaves" and reflected a wider range of influences and many shades between light and dark. It turned out that the music had somewhat evolved into a direction that did not seem suitable anymore for Winter-Light's catalogue (it had been the original plan to release the album there). So, a new label had to be found - and was found in shape of Databloem (also based in the Netherlands), which had been the home of many classical ambient releases over the years.

The need to find a new label, plus some major changes in Michael's life (a new daytime job) caused considerable delay in the finishing and release of the album, but the result is worth the wait - a magic ambient journey that leads us from mystical regions of the north to realms even beyond…


* * *

Credits:

Mathias Grassow: drones, synthesizer, percussion, processed guitar, processed cello

Michael Brückner: synthesizer, keyboards, electronics, additional drones, voices

Guest musicians:

Cornelia Kern: piano on "The North"

Cilia di Ponte: vocals on "Shanti"

Doris Hach: monochord on "Shanti"


Album produced by Michael Brückner

Cover artwork & design by Theo Rabou for Databloem


ENJOY the music! Smile

.

_________________
M I C H A E L B R Ü C K N E R
http://michaelbrueckner.bandcamp.com


Last edited by BruecknerAmbient on Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:24 pm; edited 3 times in total

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BruecknerAmbient
One of the Coolest Member




Age: 49
Joined: 11 May 2011
Posts: 5050
Location: Mainz


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:38 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

There have already been a few reviews of the album by now; here's one of them, by reviewer Jochen König for the online music magazine "musikreviews.de".

Read the original review (in German) here, or my (rough) English translation below...

http://www.musikreviews.de/reviews/2019/Mathias-Grassow--Michael-Brueckner/Polar-Vortex/


* * *

"Polar Vortex" is the first full album collaboration of the musical (and geographical) neighbours Mathias Grassow and Michael Brückner. A seventy-five-minute trip in slow motion, between dark ambient, rhythmic excursions to soundscapes, drones embellished by percussion, piano, cello and the beguiling vocal accompaniment of Cilia Di Ponte ("Shanti").

Stylistically, it's reminiscent of Klaus Schulze's works, but Grassow and Brückner's music does not take place in the Berlin school, but rather in the wide fields next to it, or in ruined factories in the light of the setting sun.

This is music that glides gently forward and always has time for finely elaborated distractions, delicate disturbances, and adventures along the way. It rather refers to the more experimental moments in Vangelis' work (without indulging in his desire for cacophony and abstraction) or in the inclusion of world musical elements in Steve Roach, though renouncing the didgeridoo and excursions into the outback. Instead, Doris Hach occasionally adds monochord playing.

"Polar Vortex" is a contemplative sound journey, where tranquillity does not mean standstill and lulling singing bowl aesthetics are avoided. A microcosm in which an incredible amount of small events happen, in which time and space are used for minute shifts and pauses before something new emerges. Or we just sink into the reverberation of the generated sounds.

Grassow and Brückner play with moods, their musical knowledge and their experiences. The results are magical snapshot for the listener. A small lesson in electronic music that comes along without a raised pedagogical finger. Think about it or simply float away - Your Choice!

CONCLUSION: "Polar Vortex" is a convincing collaboration of the two sound artists Michael Brückner and Mathias Grassow. A quiet work in which a lot happens. Electronic music that knows its way around the Berlin school ("The Falling Of Leaves", the "melodic" version!), appreciates Dark Ambient, incorporates World Music and celebrates an atmospheric immersion into dreamy intermediate worlds. State of the Electronic Art.

12 (of 15) points

.

_________________
M I C H A E L B R Ü C K N E R
http://michaelbrueckner.bandcamp.com

OfflineView user's profileSend private messageVisit poster's website    
BruecknerAmbient
One of the Coolest Member




Age: 49
Joined: 11 May 2011
Posts: 5050
Location: Mainz


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:43 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Music journalist Paul Rijkens wrote a review of "Polar Vortex" for the current issue of Dutch print prog rock magazine I/O Pages.

Here's my (rough) English translation of it...

* * *

Review of POLAR VORTEX

The German electronic music artist Michael Brückner is currently quite active: solo, together with drummer Tommy Betzler (P'Cock, Picture Palace Music, Klaus Schulze), with the groups P'Faun and Bridge To Imla, and now also with his fellow countryman Mathias Grassow.
Grassow is a renowned and experienced ambient musician.

Their joint album Polar Vortex was released via Databloem, a Dutch label dedicated to ambient music.

The album opens in The North with soft strings and effects. It sets the tone for the rest of the music.
Drums Of Shoom is, as the title says, dominated by a (rather heavy) percussive sound. This "primal music" reminds me of certain albums Steve Roach made in the nineties.
There is also pure ambient on the CD in the form of The Waiting Hour, which consists more of pure sounds.
Nice is Xau Etách, with a soft sequence and a lot of atmosphere around it.
This is followed by oriental atmospheres in Shanti. The singing is done by Cilia di Ponte.
The Falling Of Leaves - Melodic V tends most of all tracks on the album to "traditional" electronic music (read: Berlin School) because of the sequences and the flute from the Mellotron.

The combination of these two musicians has resulted in a very special album. I don't find everything equally strong, but in general this is an entertaining recording.



.

_________________
M I C H A E L B R Ü C K N E R
http://michaelbrueckner.bandcamp.com

OfflineView user's profileSend private messageVisit poster's website    
BruecknerAmbient
One of the Coolest Member




Age: 49
Joined: 11 May 2011
Posts: 5050
Location: Mainz


germany.gif

PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:11 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Another review of the album comes from Sylvain Lupari for his online magazine Synth&Sequences. Among other things he says:

“Another sonic immersion not always so easy to tame, this ambient tale from Brückner & Grassow has many seductive elements, including two thunderous numbers”

(…)

"You have probably guessed; POLAR VORTEX is not for all ears. I am fortunate enough to discover new music and new musical horizons, and I have the chance to sit down and enjoy the many projects of Michael Brückner and other artists who like to come out of their comfort zones. And I come out rarely disappointed. In fact, when I don't like, I don't talk about it! And I liked this POLAR VORTEX …"


Read Sylvain's full review (in English AND French) here:

https://synthsequences.blogspot.com/2019/05/michael-bruckner-mathias-grassow-polar.html

.

_________________
M I C H A E L B R Ü C K N E R
http://michaelbrueckner.bandcamp.com

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