- Performer [Audio]: Robert Millis
- Photography: Cecil B DeMillis
Listen a fragment of 40s is not good
Listen a fragment of 40s is not good
: a , a collector '78s resulting in the impeccable Victrola Favorites book & compilation, purveyor of searing avant-scum-noise-rock in , a world traveler in search of esoterica for …Despite his many activities, Millis' recorded output has almost entirely been by way of collaboration, making this gem of a solo album all the more special. This is closer related to the collage work that Millis has contributed to the Climax Golden Twins, bridging all of those aforementioned interests in a polyglot of psychedelic smear pocked with snippets of conversation, poetic extracts from his collection of '78s, and a judicious amount of vinyl crackling. An album such as this would easily be confused for the hermetic revelations that extracts from his rough shod vinyl and turntables; but Millis seems to counterpoint the crackle and the clean with more drama than Jeck, almost positing the crackle like a punch line in a joke that breaks through one of Millis' blissed out shimmers constructed from loops and drones from guitar, bells, and glass harmonica, where haunted melodies from times long gone whisper through the mix. The logic of the album may seem absurd from afar; but the internal logic is peculiarly sensible, as if Millis were tapping into some stream of consciousness that subcutaneously connects all of these intermingling sounds…very highly recommended no matter how you slice it.
-(Coelacanth, Helen Scarsdale Agency, 23Five, etc) in his Aquarius Records review of the extremely limited CDR version of 120, December 2008
, he of Climax Golden Twins fame, is a man, for all his musical activity, with very few solo records to his credit. So, when Millis
finally issued a new one, it's fitting that the disc seems to integrate every side of the Seattle resident's musical efforts, from old Victrola 78s to
field recordings from around the world to tonal sound sculpture. But it's not simply the eclecticism of this disc that's interesting; its appeal lies
equally in its transitions, the ways that Millis moves between disparate (and at times, not so disparate) sound sources over the course of the
disc's forty-five minutes. 120, one might suppose, is like a trip through Millis' brain, touching on musical memories (including the aesthetic), the sounds coming through an open window, his own compositions, and the shimmering ambience that fills the spaces in
The combination of conversational snippets, the sounds of falling rain, acoustic guitar, and a beautifully layered drone could quickly grow tiresome if handled in a way that magnified the oddity of the amalgamation, but rather than try to capitalize on the zaniness of an unpredictable sonic menagerie, Millis takes a more meditative approach. There's a degree of a stream-of-consciousness vibe to 120, but the album feels, for the most part, quite purposeful. Each track on the disc, from the six-minute "(Charcoal Twins)" to the twenty-minute "(All Balled Up)," finds Millis crafting his creations with care, meshing the sounds in such a way that, unexpected or not, transitions feel natural, and rather than some eccentric mash-up, 120 takes on a more poetic feel.
This album is, in a sense, despite its inclusion of some unquestionably non-Western sounds, quintessentially American music, or at least the music of what America dreams herself to be: at times beautifully pastoral, at others hectic, even chaotic, 120 is, at its heart, a music of coming together. The old melting pot metaphor is as questionable here as it is in the case of the U.S.A., for these voices, like those of millions of immigrants, aren't lost within the sound of a greater whole. Instead, they're valuable in their own right, each distinct in its timbre, a vista on an alluring musical voyage that, despite the shifts in scenery, follows a deceptively straight, and impressively constructed, route.
is member of Climax Golden Twins, collector of 78rpm records and maker of fieldrecordings. What's considered his first
solo-album Leaf Music, Drunks, Distant Drums was a collection of the latter, made in South-East Asia.
These also are the three main ingredients of what comprises his second solo-cd. 120 opens with bits and pieces of 78rpm records from distant times that melt together with recordings from distant places (for most of the readers of this musiczine anyway). It's all woven together in a beautiful musical roadtrip with organic drones and imaginative soundscapes. I'm not very familiar with but I think the more ambient and cinematic parts are coming from that place. Musical disciplines seemingly far apart sometimes find eachother on common grounds, like the ' insect electronica' and calmly bowed ambience in 2 (All Balled Up). 0 (Suspended) is more pastoral in nature, where dreamy strings swarm through an ominous glass organ drone, with a result that I'd like to describe roughly as Niblock meets Pärt. Thus the four movements go through various moods, flowing naturally into eachother until the lonely countryblues of (Charcoal Twins).
Recorded sounds are usually used to confirm whether a memory is true or not, to separate fact from fiction. On 120 they serve primarily to make up a fantasy world. A memory of something that doesn't necessarily exist. This originally was released as a very limited run of cdr's, Etude now released it as a 'real' cd (limited to 1,000 copies), so here's your second chance to grab this wonderful artifact.