Perth-based electronic producer Michael Strong has been making tracks under his Young Girl alias for the last few years, but despite my best efforts I haven’t been able to find out whether this download-only album ‘A Marshmallow Called Moon’ on new UK label TruthTable represents his debut release. What’s particularly notable about the ten distinctly IDM-centred tracks collected here is the comparatively stripped-down set-up that Strong’s used to record them, in this case the Korg Monotribe, Monotron Space Delay, Micro X and Kaosillator.
While his entire arsenal of gear would easily fit on a small desk, it’s surprising just how much variety and texture Strong’s able to draw from his equipment here. Opening track ‘A Marshmallow Called Moon’ tentatively jitters into focus as flash of synths and digital processing dart back and forth, before distorted skipping rhythms lock in against a bouncing synth line. While there’s certainly some complex programming on display here, particularly as the broken rhythms elasticise out into a mass of timestretched layers towards the track’s second half, it’s the overall sense of playfulness that immediately strikes the listener.
‘Coconut Neutrino Balls’ meanwhile perhaps offers up something of a homage to Aphex’s classic ‘Bucephalus Bouncing Ball’ as clattering timestretched breakbeats shuffle and lurch against cosmic prog synth arrangements, before ‘Heliocentric Cheesecake’ dives into brittle gamecore synths as bleeping monophonic synth tones cascade against stuttering snare kicks and chaotic sprays of atonal electronics, the looped sequences gradually increasing in intensity like a malfunctioning arcade game.
Elsewhere, ‘Caramebula’ shows that some of the strongest moments arrive here when Strong chooses to play things more subtle, as glitchy flickers provide a minimalist rhythmic accompaniment for murmuring glockenspiel tones and noodling melodic synths, the crackling digital errors that play at the edges of the mix heightening the dreamy sense of reverie. While a lot of this is well-worn IDM territory, ‘A Marshmallow Called Moon’ is well worth checking out.