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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Go to the Mike Browning's Inner Workings website  Mike Browning's Inner Workings - Trancemissions [Pharmafabrik - 2008]

Somehow I wasn't expecting much from this album. Strange since Mike Browning's resume features absolute faves like Nocturnus and Morbid Angel and other good stuff in the form of Acheron and Incubus. An album of synthesizer music by this drummer somehow seemed to announce sci-fi cheese.

I'm happy to report that I was wrong. Mike Browning is originally a drummer but on this album you will not find any drums. It's an improvisation on two keyboards, a Korg Poly-61 and a Yamaha SY22. These brands don't have the same ring to it as Moog and ARP, but Browning manages to get some pretty decent sounds from them. Or, as he says, the spirits that possessed him during these sessions. Recorded at a black mass (poetic) at a recordstore in Florida (much less poetic) the sounds were so dark and evil, the linernotes boast, that one person went home and hung himself. Believe it or not, the music itself luckily does live up to expectations (although I have not found myself looking for ropes).

The soaring electronic ambient drones take you back to the seventies, the works of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze and the likes. Also a reference to John Carpenter's soundtrack work can be made, but the endresult is quite unique. It's interesting how time sort of rehabilitates synthesizers of the eighties (the Korg being from 1982 and the Yamaha even from 1990). Perhaps the spirits really took control and made the soundscapes convincingly spooky and moody. The four tracks are on this disc as they happened during that black mass, without overdubs. Even though, by nature, it's not music that follows any traditional progressions the sounds don't appear like aimless searching, which only confirms Browning's claims of course.

If you're into dark soundscapes and 'kosmische' synthesizer music this definitely is one of the better releases, particularly of recent times. These days there seems to be kind of kraut-rock revival going on, but Mike Browning's Inner Workings, while fitting the tradition, stays away from becoming a pastiche of times long gone. The Photoshopheavy artwork, I must admit, is a bit less to my liking, but the music is surpassing my expectations by far and an interesting and dark trip into inner space.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

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