Gavin Miller – Shimmer.

Here is an album I wanted to make sure I got around to covering prior the year closing. Every once in a while you come across an artist that you are vaguely familiar with their history. In Miller’s case its his duo worriedaboutsatan and his micro-label This is it Forever, that when you hear something by them, then you make a mental note to start to investigate their catalog of works. With this album I had it playing on random while I was doing something and it make me stop and see what was playing. I’ve already covered his “Meander Scars” album on Lost Tribe Sound, but this release for the Greek label Sound in Silence is what first captured my attention.

This six track twenty-three minute release in a way reminds me of the joy that I got from listening to Amparo’s “Palm House” (Modularfield) release. There is just a feeling of contentment I get when listening to music that has multiple layers and composed so well that it comes off as effortlessly beautiful.

Shimmer showcases Miller’s atmospheric side by presenting a long-form composition, divided into six parts with a total duration of something more than 23 minutes. The electronic beats are left behind and only dreamy soundscapes and soothing atmospheres remain. Miller creates one of his finest works to date, blending gentle strumming guitar melodies, eerie synths, sparse bass lines, dark piano chords, hazy background drones, cinematic strings and indistinct vocal samples. “Shimmer” is a mesmerizing ambient/post-rock release, highly recommended for devotees of Yellow6, July Skies, Labradford and 1 Mile North.

“Part 1” Shimmering and cascading guitar ambient opens the album before rich introspective guitar is adding which brings forth more layers of guitar types of varying sound and some drove action as well. Each one builds the texture of the piece and works incredibly well when you consider how easy it could be to clutter the sound. Each element adds to the piece, but has their identity such as an ambient motif or the latter Twin Peaks inspired/sounding baritone-ish guitar. When you think about the important of an opening track in setting the direction of the album or enticing the listener to follow the artist on their journey, then “Part 1” excels as the way the piece is composed it gives so much on many levels.

“Part 2” the drone that leads to the end of “Part 1” continues on, while the guitar sounds change to be some sort of Post Rock/Post Metal feel (by this I am thinking more in the intro style rather than the riffing versions). The guitar pieces feel more finger picked and this allows the notes to be sharper. Synths become more apparent in their creation of the background ambience with their shimmering keys. As the track progresses all bar the shimmering guitar loops present from the start remain. They lead into “Part 3” with a muted minimalism of piano keys that sound anything but piano. The cloak that hangs over the music adds to the intrigue which is intensifies with the use of loops. A change sweeps over the album with sweeping, mournful strings that cast drones like they are serenading. Ghostly vocal apparitions add to the feel of the piece. Never truly catching what they are saying adds more intrigue.

“Part 4” flows onwards and sees deep rumbling bass tones making their entrance alongside the vocals, micro percussion and shimmering drones. The way the piece switches between sounds sources is fluid and never feels like a collection of loosely tied tracks. You get the feeling you are on a journey, as if Miller is making a soundtrack to a silent film that exists over a period of time and the changes that are included within. Small guitar parts return us somewhat to where it all began.

“Part 5” Synths dominate this track with a feeling akin to a church organ. Rather minimal with its repetitive motif, piano adds another texture. The track acts a bridge between the electronic feel of before and the return to submerged sounds and guitar pieces of the final part.

“Part 6” throughout the album the intensity has changed as has the way the various sound sources have interacted. “Part 6” brings the album to a nice relaxed introspective place. Synths, piano, drones and guitar come together for the most ambient natured of the tracks. There is a finality which you feel in the pacing of the track. In a way it also feels like a reprise of previous works. The piano that ended “Part 5” and opened “Part 6” similarly brings this piece to the end. It shows but one way that Miller ties all 6 pieces together.

I mentioned that the music was effortlessly good. This is because the way Miller constructs his pieces come across as instantly enjoyable. When you listen the music is so easy to listen to.There is a sense of thoughtful construction in his compositions. The pieces all flow together and maintain a narrative that binds them all together. When you listen to them all the layers and depths are revealed. This is a work that is best suited to listening in its entirety and just absorbing it. To be honest, I am at a loss for words to eloquently convey or give justice to how good this is. While I take the time to think of those words I will just press play and start over again. Totally recommended. This release is available as a limited edition cd-r of only 150 copies and digital.

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