From humble beginnings to world-class composer, Michael Brückner has released a large body of work spanning three decades and with no signs of slowing, this family man from Mainz is destined for a spectacular future.
Michael Brückner musical career was not always a direct path. Although he had an interest in playing an instrument and was an avid music lover, Michael initially chose to focus on writing and painting, after being criticized for his singing ability. "When I was 9 years old, one of my elementary teachers told me I was 'unmusical' because I couldn't sing very well and I carried that judgment with me for a long time", he says. "It wasn't until 1991, when I joined a yoga community and started practicing mantra chanting, that I started to sing again". He later found an electric harmonium someone had thrown away and he started to improvise and experiment on it. Later that year, Michael decided to purchase his first "real instrument". He chose a Yamaha PSR 2700 because it had a sampler, an 8-track sequencer, and built-in FX. At the same time, he purchased a Korg guitar multi-FX pedal and a 4-track cassette recorder to complete his new studio.
From 1991 until 2006, Michael studied graphic design and began working for a printing company. He met his soon-to-be wife, got married, had a daughter, and became a family man, all the while working on music in his spare time. "For a long time, I only produced music for myself", he explains. "Many times, I would steal time from my sleep and work into the early morning to finish tracks. Some of my biggest influences are Mike Oldfield, Michael Hoenig, Vangelis, Steve Roach, Brian Eno, Laurie Spiegel, Michael Stearns, and so many more."
In the year 2006, he had a real turning point: He was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Faced with the prospect of dying, he had some important decisions to make. One of those decisions was to finish all of his unfinished musical projects. What a relief it was when he found out that he had been misdiagnosed! He decided to finish the projects anyway, and within 12 months he had completed 65 albums, as well as an interactive CD-ROM. His total discography included 85 albums. A friend of Michael's also convinced him to start sharing his music. He started posting tracks to Myspace, and with 85 albums to his name, people soon took notice. This led to album reviews, interviews, radio specials, concert offers, and more. "In 2012, SynGate Records offered to release one or two of my albums every year, which they still do", he explains. "Other labels wanted to release some, as well, and a lot of other musicians were interested in collaborating with me like Hadi Schmidt, Mathias Brussel, Tommy Betzler, and Sammy David".
Many of these collaborations turned into long-term projects with Michael currently releasing five or six albums per year. The collaboration that has been the most special is his latest collaboration with Cilia di Ponte, a singer, multi-instrumentalist, and composer who also happens to be Michael's wife. Their album Twenty-Five Light Years is a beautiful and powerful combination of haunting vocals, spoken word, and elaborate musical compositions. "We have worked on music together off and on during our 25-year marriage, but I felt it was time that we released a complete album where we contributed equally and featured compositional input by Cilia beyond the vocal lines", explains Michael.
When commenting to Michael about the sophisticated, beautiful tones and textures of his albums, he described a set-up of humble beginnings. "I had a rather small set-up including a couple of sample-based synths and an old Mac, but around 2009 I began expanding some of my gear. Now I use a Waldorf Blofeld, a Korg Z1 and 05R/W module, a vintage ELKA Solist 505, a Behringer Model D and a Deepmind 6, and a Keystep Pro sequencer. I also have a large library of virtual instruments that I use also, like Reason, Absynth, Reactor, and Waldorf Attack", he explains. "I don't use a tablet or IOS yet, but the low-priced app are very tempting". I asked Michael if there was any new piece of gear that he was excited about and he said this, "To be honest, after being able to make my music for this long, I'm not sure if I really need any further sound toys at this point. I guess diving deeper into the ones I already have would be a better way to spend my time".
After 30 years of producing music, I wanted to know what Michael still wanted to accomplish. He said, "I still want to make that one album that all of my others were leading up to. I would really like to improve my live skills and learn some better chops as well. Mostly I feel the need to finish all of the collaborative projects that people are waiting on. The wonderful people who have contributed to these deserve it. After that is done, I would like to reduce my output quite a bit and combine my music with my other two creative outlets, writing and painting".
"I have had some amazing opportunities in my career like my performance in 2013 at the release party by Klangwirkstoff Records at the Ritter Butzke club in Berlin, or the concert with Mathias Brussel at the planetarium of Brussels, as part of the Cosmic Nights Festival in 2015", Michael says. "I think my greatest success in this journey is that the journey took place at all and that at some point I became part of the incredible scene of underground electronic music. When I started in 1992, I didn't dare to dream that anyone would enjoy my music, I couldn't imagine that anyone would want to play it on the radio, write about it, interview me, look forward to the next album, or pay money for it! It is incredible, but here I am, and I am very, very grateful for that".
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