Gavin Miller – Illuminate

Posted: 26 May 2017 in Singles and EPs

This is it Forever – 12th May 2017

Christopher Nosnibor

It may only contain two tracks, but Gavin Miller’s latest solo offering is not only magnificently executed but also displays the epic qualities of a full album over its understatedly intense twenty-minute duration. Released digitally and as a USB lightbulb, the concept extends far beyond the title, although the music this release contains does very much explore the contrasts between light and dark – not in the extreme contrasting sense, but in the form of subtly arranged compositions which exist in the space between the two, a shadowy intermediate space.

It begins with an echoing piano chord and hesitant beats kept low in the mix swathed in a sea of reverb. Acoustic guitar and tapering synths enter the mix and gradually the layers build, both in terms of sound and atmosphere. There’s almost a touch of mid-90s Swans about the hypnotic repetition and opiate sedation which permeates the track’s first segment. Slowly, the structure evaporates, leaving a fogged air in suspension, intangible yet still in motion. And then the heavy beats – bassy, bulbous, booming – begin to drop against the sparse contrails which linger and drift. And so ‘Floodlit’ intimates – by means of a deliberate, repetitive motif structured essentially around two picked chords which transition to another place altogether – the power of artificial light penetrating darkness.

‘A Brief Flicker’ presents a different kind of illumination, something altogether more fragile and less harsh than the fixed white glare of the floodlight. While a haunting three-note sequence hovers in the background, this is a track which is overtly ambient, and with a loose structure built around amorphous sound which drifts and rumbles around the canals of the mind.

Gavin Miller - Illuminate

Contrast is the key here: the two pieces are contrasting within themselves, and against one another. The lighting may not be bright but it’s in the direction and the relief it shines that Miller steers the focus onto less obvious details.

Gavin Miller - Bulb

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