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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Album Review: Milosh - iii

Toronto-based Michael Milosh is a classically-trained cellist, jazz aficionado and devotee of left-field electronica. His first two albums, ‘You Make Me Feel’ and ‘Meme’ earned warm reviews that likened his music to artists such as Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Brian Eno and even R&B crooner D’Angelo. This album, again, curiously brings elements of many different genres to the table. With it’s interesting combination of soft, sweeping vocal over steady beats and samples it has an almost elemental quality. It was largely written and recorded during a year-long stay amid the sunshine and birdsong of the tropical island of Koh Samui - something that clearly affected Milosh judging from the themes and titles of the tracks.

Opener ‘Awful Game’ is a mere two-chord simplicity of gently rising and falling keyboard over synthetic beats, pops and claps that cast a series of sonic ripples behind them. The reverberating sweep of vocal that surfs above it all is what defines Milosh’s sound. Haunting and effective. ‘Another Day’ is like listening to a lonely serenade of harp and violin whilst all around insects chirrup and click out the rhythm.

‘Gentle Samui’ proves that this delicate approach to making music can be undone very quickly if the mix isn‘t perfect. The beat here is reduced to the sound of a dripping tap on taut clingfilm and quickly becomes Chinese water torture. It’s way too loud in comparison to the twinkling piano and whispered soliloquy. Unfortunately, this pattern continues throughout with the subtlety of the softer tracks getting smothered by the crunch, crack or slap of a dirty great spot of electronica standing out like a square peg in a round hole.

There are still moments where things click pleasantly into place. ‘Warm Waters’ becomes the perfect muscle soak for the mind, with a dreamy voice listing his musings on island life in what feels like an attempt to hypnotise the listener into some kind of Zen state. Occasionally a big chunk of 80s beats appear to bring a glowing vibe to proceedings - the Thompson Twins funk of ‘Hold My Breath’ or the Depeche Mode backline of ‘Leaving Samui’ stand proudly out as memorable for the right reasons.

In places this feels less like electro-folk, as his press release suggests, and more like epic, deconstructed, modern R'n'B. Milosh’s sumptuous, soulful vocals do end up jarring with his awkward take on the metronome in places and it’s a shame because when the blend is right the ethereal music that results is pleasantly mesmeric.

Also online @ Music-Zine = http://www.music-zine.com/reviews/?id=549
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