Timeless '90s IDM and ambient sounds are reverently updated.
Severance has an unhurried feel. The opener, "Embers," moves in gently lapping waves. Breezy chord progressions come and go. Squelchy acid lines emerge from rich backdrops. The execution always feels natural, which is part of Severance's unique appeal: Mikron take bits and pieces from '90s electronic music and put it together in a way that feels contemporary. "Aldergrove," for example, hints at a time when hip-hop was a primary influence on IDM, but the way its dusty loops contrast with Mikron's pristine surfaces and detailed textures is an exemplary mishmash of old and new. "Cast On A Clock Face," a bleary bit of ambient broken beat, is the album's most seamless mix of atmosphere and rhythm.
Amid all the drifting and floating, there are plenty of tracks—"Ghost Node," "Locus Reave" and "NynIV," to name three—that lean towards the club. But even these dance-influenced cuts are defined by their moods and melodies, calling back to the armchair techno of Warp's Artificial Intelligence series. "Lyre," with its nostalgic melodies and springy breakbeat, is a cross between Amber-era Autechre and Boards Of Canada. Even if Severance often reminds you of this era, the execution is hard to argue with. It's hard to listen to a track like "Marble Cross" and not fall for its sumptuous sound, even as it evokes some of the most cherished records of electronic music's past.