"Quality electronic music streaked with classic IDM / electro tropes yet rendered with sleek modern production and ideas"
Sheffield based CPU Records’ stylistic decision to run with the same artwork (bar catalogue number) for every release might be considered madness by a more traditional label. Yet this aesthetic, coupled with stellar musical quality control, has made any sighting of the familiar black and white design result in an immediate desire to investigate the audio within.
As with all good branding, your interest is high because you know what you’re going to get – quality electronic music streaked with classic IDM / electro tropes yet rendered with sleek modern production and ideas.
This, the second full length on CPU from brothers Michael and Kieran Corcoran, hits all those spots aplenty. Their previous releases have focussed on dark’ish electro, propelling ominous slabs of synth steel across whip cracking percussion – a style used to very satisfying effect on 2015’s ‘Sleep Paralysis’. The equally as compelling follow up, ‘Warning Score’, occasionally diversified into 4/4 and explored slower tempos resulting in highlights such as ‘Out of Body’.
‘Severance’ utilises a similar sound palette yet is set within a more dream-like hinterland. This is immediately apparent on opener “Embers” as swathes of dreamy pads introduce a lachrymose 303 dancing across down tempo percussion. “Lyre” follows with an exquisite slow motion electro work out – all breathy vocal samples, yearning melody and subdued Reese bass hum.
It’s not long before we are treated to certain album highlight “Ghost Node” where a straight laced, chalky 4/4 loop accompanies a heart rending array of bubbling synths, descending melody and tearful pads. What sorcery is this – a track to make you smile and cry at the same time?
Thankfully our tears are saved with “Aldergrove” – a more playful Sandison brothers influenced slice of hazy melodies and lolloping breaks. “Sunken Path” continues the emotive theme by combining a wistfully epic air with an utterly sublime mid-track breakdown. There is some counterbalance with “Locus Reave”, which heaves armour plated beats across a growling moody bass and spiralling metallic synth work reminiscent of earlier work on “Sleep Paralysis”.
‘Severance’ is an accomplished and compelling listen, exploring twilight territories set in both the past and future, a technique Mikron have perfected here. Once again, that black and white logo and the brothers Corcoran deliver the goods.
‘Severance’ is out now, order a copy from CPU Records.
4. Ghost Node
7. Sunken Paths
8. Locus Reave
9. Cast on a Clock Face
10. Marble Cross