Mirko Vogel spent the early noughties as a member of Brisbane-based indie-rock / electro trio Sekiden, before 2012 saw him relocating to London to work on production and sound design for the Australian band Cut Copy. Recorded over a period of almost three years, the nine tracks that make up this debut solo album ‘LP1’ were apparently initially inspired by extended periods of touring with Cut Copy, with one of Vogel’s earliest goals being to slow things down as an antidote to the blur of the road. While there’s certainly a sense of sprawling space and decelerated time perception to much of these tracks though, it doesn’t necessarily always translate into a sense of calm.
Indeed, many of these evocative widescreen tracks, which primarily inhabit ambient post-rock territory conjure up the atmosphere of a distantly gathering storm more than anything else, with undertones of uneasiness just below the surface. The aptly-titled ‘Glass’ opens this album with one of its most stark and overtly electronic moments as a distorted synth bass tone drones against an oceanic wash of eerie orchestral ambience and flecks of glitchy digital processing, the pin-prick textures providing a sense of flickering glide as the background tones brood like the opening scenes of some dystopian sci-fi movie, shortwave-like noises squealing away at the very edges.
By contrast, ‘As The Morning’ highlights this album’s more dreamy and gentle side, taking thing off on a soft-focus wander that’s cavernously deep, gauzy ambient trails fading slowly into the depths against ripples of treated guitar and distant horn-like tones, the swirling layers calling to mind the slow onward motion of a sandstorm over the dunes as the spectral reverb builds against ghostly phased piano keys. Elsewhere, ‘In Conversation’ offers up one of this album’s deepest dives into sprawling ambience as curiously Pink Floyd-esque phased organ swells add a proggy edge to a murky background of stark, one-note bass tones and droning ambience, delicately glimmering keyboard tones letting a stray trace of light in as howls of guitar feedback trace slow, melancholic arcs through the mix.
‘Night City Landing’ meanwhile closes this album with its most sheenily synthetic moment, its fusion of cycling electronic burbles and glittery keyboards with the distant wash of field recorded noise calling to mind Cluster’s motorik glide given an ambient IDM slant. If one of Vogel’s main goals here was to evoke a sense of time being compressed, then he’s certainly succeeded with this excellent debut album.