The unsung hero of Manchester’s Boygirl collective, Michael Brailey steps out with his latest EP on Astral Plane. the broken heart is more than a metaphor, it is terraforming in action is his latest four-track endeavor and it’s momentous in proficiency and emotion. Back in 2018 for a collaborative night between my own collective New Scenery and Boygirl, I observed Brailey’s infectious talent first hand. Faces twitched and bounced under the lights as Michael gently ushered in Coldplay’s “Fix You”, welcomed by a room of sweaty ravers, myself included, jolting under strobe lights. For this and many other reasons, Brailey is one of my favorite performers. His sheer capability to create a mood is magnetic. the broken heart is more than a metaphor, it is terraforming in action is no exception from this great skill.
Back in 2015, Michael Brailey debuted Pericardial on Hush Hush records, offering us a first inclination to their complex and emotive capabilities as a musical artist. Their latest release is a graduation of water, sentiment and skill from their discography.
As well as a recent collaborative EP alongside Emily Glass and Ssaliva, Brailey has racked up numerous deconstructed club hits. The tracks “Mechatok X Cassie” and “LUVM3 HARD” are the most notable for succinctly merging pop, underground club and instrumental grime.
“Feathered Comet” opens the EP and sets the dramatic landscape. Harsh synths fold in and out alongside classic digital sounds, a perfect prelude to the rest of the EP. Brailey creates an insidious tone, building towards the vocal break on the second track, “Waters of Love”. A nod to their aqueous past, it harnesses accomplished vocals and analogue components. Their experimentation with their voice and other instruments is easily likened to greats such as Bjork and Clams Casino. Undeniable is Brailey’s vocal skills and lyricism. The track climaxes as these strange elements are all married together for an overwhelming burst of despair.
The third track, “Remove Protection”, builds on elements in both of the previous tracks. Bellowing flangers vibrate as piano riffs and manipulated vocals overlap, merging into a brief, sedated EDM break down, reminiscent of RKSS “key and tempo”… and Emily Glass’ “Uvula”. The track is self-referential not only to Brailey’s history in dance music but to the EP itself.
the broken heart is more than a metaphor it is terraforming in action is a baring of Brailey’s soul, purely complicated and wrapped up in soft aching tones. Its emotive quality and range of analogue sounds is impressive to say the least. A tale of visceral misery and love, in its closing Brailey rightfully sings us out ‘into darkness’.