The debut album by Alargo (the multi-talented, multi-instrumental, multi-faceted duo of Kingsley Melhuish and Alan Brown), ‘Central Plateau’ is a set of three long, ranging interconnected works (the shortest track is just under eight minutes and the longest clocks in at 17 minutes) that traverse a deliberately peaceful and minimalist ambient soundscape. Recorded and mixed by Paul Streekstra, mastered by Angus McNaughton, this is very much a MAINZ tutors’ inside job. ‘Central Plateau’ gives rise to comparisons with ECM’s more atmospheric works and northern European ambient electronica, with passing nods to greats such as Brian Eno. However, at the same time that these comparisons can be drawn, there is something very Kiwi about it – you can hear connections to, and influences from, free improvisation/in studio composition groups such as From Scratch and Subject2Change. This is such an experiential album that it’s actually difficult to quantify in words. It wraps around the listener and transports them to whatever minimalist atmospheric landscape they imagine (mine was a dichotomy of snow bound forests and isolated west coast beaches). The pieces are whimsical and dark, sculptural and fluid, and very filmic with a great visual quality. If a filmmaker doesn’t pick this up for inclusion in a soundtrack for some atmospheric exploration of the NZ psyche, I’d be very surprised. This is an album for people who want music to explore and expand their imagination.