Moon Gangs is the solo jam of BEAK> keyboardist William Young and 'Earth Loop' has emerged out of his love for early day synth movers and shakers such as Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh. Young didn't go out much as a child and so had years to listen to soundtracks and play video games. This has infused his music which is full of ambient, analogue synth loops and foreboding, cinematic drones.
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Moon Gangs is William Young’s project away from Beak> which is Geoff Barrow’s band away from Portishead, which is the end of the line all change please. Doing keyboards in the name of electronic rawk, he here takes the time to treasure his synths in their own right, approaching composition as nothing more than a glorified jam session. The neatly framed hooks and rousing motifs that take focus in Young’s work sound like they’ve been condensed down from long, sweltering improvisations in mixing.
Could it be kosmische? There’s a narrow chance -- the tone Young takes with us is that of a folkloric synthlord, a mixologist of Popul Vuh and Tangerine Dream who also has the restlessly searching pulse of Steve Hauschildt. When chords wash over “The Terminal”, they’re washing over a full-blown chase scene, following up on a frantic SNES beatmarch before diving back in with the same, desperate fever. Young’s music is not just there; it lives.
You’ll likely see just about every synth artist in the world chalk up their sound design history to ‘a childhood spent playing video games’, but Young’s press release rings true: motifs on this record manage to sustain the odd contradiction of old MIDI soundtracks with motifs that sounded both seamless in their loop and finite in their melody. That feeling of near-resolve makes the tensions of “Familiar Machines” so exciting. The soundscapes Young makes can be this contained or expand into vast oases of texture -- his closer, “The End”, suggests an artist learning to make his biggest music yet.
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