Mikey Young is a name I’d hope would ring out in the ears of any discerning music fanatic of the last while. Mikey has lent his nimble fingers to the strings in bands like Total Control and Eddy Current Suppression Ring and click’d and drag’d a good portion of the southern hemisphere’s recorded output from “unlistenable” to “glistenable” in his mastering palace. He also quickly released two cassettes (and later vinyl) solo albums in succession in 2017, before disappearing back into his burrow. The few solo communiques to have been emitted in the interim have been contributions to film soundtracking, including 2017’s FANTASTIC independent Australian production, Strange Colours.
Where 'Your Move Vol. 1' and 'You Feelin’ Me?' both adhered more clearly to song / pop forms, be they spacey Italo numbers or psychy excursions, this release effortlessly situates itself between the more ambient and abstracted moods of recent AST vintage. Mikey’s experience in atmos-carving for celluloid largely informs the mood of Curtains, his third solo album, many of these pieces starting their life as ideas for his scoring work. The pieces are instrumental, predominantly foregrounding electronics and (somewhat surprisingly) guitar, with occasional contributions from regular collaborators, Raven Mahon (of The Green Child) on sax and Al Montfort (of many things) on “lots of stuff”. There are definitely enough pretty tones on Curtains to soothe the more adventurous of ambient-trekkers, but the regular wrongness that pervades these otherwise serene scenes is what really grips me. The teetering effect of the juxtapoz creating a sense of tension that won’t release, compelling you to tread on and make sure the chopper arrives to pick up the protagonist before the curtain drops. But this isn’t Predator, this is a cassette tape so all you can do is keep flipping it over in an attempt to find the resolution you so crave. It’s like a parable, ay?
- Cooper Bowman, Altered States Tapes