Mikron Severance

Mikron Severance
8
Severance is the second full-length from Irish brothers Michael and Ciaran Corcoran, collectively known as Mikron. It's a brooding and beautiful (if slightly monochromatic) album that explores every possible shade of grey. As such, it's not a huge departure from their past work, but it's probably the best statement of their style to date, full of groovy but intricate downtempo beats and darkly swirling synths. To its credit, it also bears a striking resemblance in some places to vintage work from neighbouring IDM greats Boards of Canada, a fact that should pique some interest.
 
Indeed, BoC are definitely the best classic IDM reference point for what the Corcorans are up to here. Tracks like "Aldergrove" and "Marble Cross" especially have the same mix of menace and beauty that made albums like Music Has the Right to Children so compelling at the time.
 
A more recent comparison might be Solar Bears, another Irish duo who lend their similar-sounding music a distinctly cosmic feel. Mikron prove adept at this mode as well, with the cinematic synths of "Sunken Paths" and "Locus Reave" expanding inexorably like clouds of majestic space dust, beautiful but indifferent.
 
That said, while the Corcorans certainly excel at texture and rhythm, the best tracks on Severance are the ones that unite this strength with a melody of some kind; early highlight "Ghost Node" is the best example. Also featuring the album's only four-four beat, its rich melodic content will likely make it the most immediate and memorable track for many listeners.
 
Severance could perhaps use a few more tracks like this in place of its more dour offerings. A minor complaint however; this is a winning album that should hopefully raise the Corcorans' profile. They prove themselves deserving here. (CPU Records)