5 out of 5
Label: Central Processing Unit
Produced by: Ciaran Corcoran, Michael Corcoran
Brilliant and beautiful, Mikron’s Severance comes across, at a high level, as an ambient exploration – fading in to gentle, light-beat explorations on opener Embers. Its synths sit well with Aphex Twin’s classic ambient disc – a fitting influence for an artist appearing on the CPU label, given its spoken debt to Rephlex and its output – but this isn’t just a duo (Ciaran and Michael Corcoran) paying dues to Richard D. James: as the track progresses and grows, it’s clear how in command of Mikron’s pacing and range of sounds the duo are, and it becomes clearer with every track thereafter, which add to the ambience excitingly – challengingly – in a way most artist’s would have trouble managing, for fear of an album sounding too shizophrenic. Instead, ‘Severance’ encompasses an insane amount of stylistic flourish, with its A-side iterating on its opening chill to add dashes of darkness, bringing in notes of grime on the B-side, getting more and more aggressive for C-sides electro skirmishes, and then looking to Detroit-y futurism for the D-side, all of this while keeping an emotional and tonal thread the never puts us too far away from the ambience with which we began. The very album title – Severance – is suggestive of something more final and definite than a laid back ambient track might suggest, but it’s what we’re building toward throughout – a journey, which is an experience a great album like this can offer.