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Moon Gangs
Earth Loop Brendan Telford , April 5th, 2018 07:40

William Young, aka Moon Gangs, delves further into scifi soundtracks and Vangelis epics and comes up with a blissful new album

Some time ago I wrote about Benjamin John Power and his ‘redo’ score and curate’s egg for the trippy giallo film The Strange Colour Of Your Body’s Tears. Power brought together some eclectic artists to lend their efforts to the cause, including BEAK> guitarist and keyboard wizard William Young. Well, now we know that this foray into twisted electronic atmospherics was not an outlier for Young: his Moon Gangs project more than continues to mine this skein of 80s cinematic horror, phantasmagoria and witchery, and imbues it with unabashedly pure emotion.

Earth Loop is a pretty accurate moniker for the album too – a suite of kosmiche sounds that are cyclical in nature, an inexorable rabbit hole with no end, a surrealist Tangerine horizon that can never be traversed. It remains futuristic and retro all at once, mirroring the sci-fi top-downs and side-scrollers that Young fired up on his Commodore 64 and Amiga consoles in his youth. Artfully moulding a minimalist miasma of cinematic analogue synth drones from hours long jamming, the end result is a transfixing nostalgic mind-meld, taking 21st-century nuance and applying it to past ominous filmic terrain.

‘The Start’ is an incongruous opening, with what appears to be a muffled speech espoused on a splintering megaphone from a soapbox on Ridley Road being overrun by a forlorn yet elegant synth gleam. The portentous mood that permeates Earth Loop comes to the fore on ‘Second Run’, as a spiralled overlay that echoes the punchier mainstream deluge of Fatboy Slim or Daft Punk corkscrews into a darker, motorik trance state.

It is difficult to come away from ‘Lambda’ without thinking of Vangelis, Tangerine Dream and Goblin, especially with the spectral arpeggios and screenwipe synth slides that creep down the spine. Yet it sparkles with a lustrous sheen, akin to Austin’s S U R V I V E and their Stranger Things offshoots. The rush of cymbals that opens ‘Familiar Machines’ alludes to more organic instrumentals, yet as the title implies it is a ruse - the heavily layered and frenetic synth charge create a hypercolour battering of the senses, evoking staccato flashing lights and glassy-eyed wonder.

There are moments of more deliberate euphoria too, especially on ‘Sea Circles’, where the more expansive, elongated chords at play wash over like waves of ecstatic epiphany. ‘The Terminal’ has an insistent beat that breathes urgency, but with each synthetic pulse the intensity rises to an almost exhilarated state before petering out in a contemplative afterglow.

What Young does though is mark every track, despite the disparity in pace and intensity, with an buoyancy that warms the listener to these mechanic soundscapes, rather than alienating us. Earth Loop plays with the idea of crafting infinite worlds within finite space and texture. Each song could loop infinitum and it would wrap the listener into a cocoon of blissful wonderment. The joy Young encountered when hearing those MIDI tunes emanating from his computer speakers has been bottled then embellished and gussied up; not a remake or homage but a youthful dream reimagined and crystallised.

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