Nick Miller’s music throughout this new release lights up the room in a phenomenal way. The artist has somehow crafted a playlist that envelops you without drawing your specific focus to the elements that allow it to do so. What I mean by this is that often when a soundscape or piece of music is so striking, you’d be that taken aback by it that you’d notice the layers and the details that make it so interesting. This is not to say you don’t pick up on the superb musicianship on this project, far from it – rather to say that as Into The Blue starts to pour out and fill the room, it’s highly likely that your overall energy and feelings in that moment are uplifted and inspired in an almost meditative way.
Into The Blue is what you could essentially describe as a huge rock instrumental. It’s not ambient music in the delicate sense, but it offers that same level of escapism or accompaniment for when the mind wants to wander away for a while. It happens slowly, the journey begins with softness and gradually rises up, so you ascend with it – in unison with the composition – you’re swept away on this wave of vibrancy. Afterwards, by all means – go back and witness with awe the sheer brilliance of the musicianship and the emotion that Miller has poured into the whole thing, but initially; this is intentional, audience-ready artistry.
Perhaps it’s something like nostalgia that aids this along, or perhaps it’s that Miller has fused classic rock solos and rhythms with a partly dreamlike ambiance – and furthermore, has done so in a heartfelt, passionate and powerful manner.
The rock edge comes through a little more on Touch Horizon, an indie-rock rhythm section and a heavy vibe emerge, harder hitting from the offset but later just as emotionally hypnotic and beautiful as what came before. The music rains down around you and seems to activate the most colourful parts of the imagination. New Tide follows and is all the more beautiful and mesmerising, even a little heartbreaking in how it makes you feel. There’s a clear connection between all of this and the world we live in – the feelings you get as the project plays underline that more with each few minutes that pass.
One Way Ride has a particularly anthem-like rock feel. The pace is up, the drums stand tall, the riffs feel characterful and memorable. There’s also a fine use of contrast featured between the verses and what is essentially the hook – the hook hits with impact thanks to this, the notes descending feel intense and capture your affection quickly; adding to that recognisable aura. Misty Bayou Spirit follows and brings about a traditional folk feel, leading with a banjo and re-crafting a new angle before you. The rock finish afterwards energizes brilliantly. This quickly becomes one of the most mesmerising and immersive compositions, the energy is superb and the song fuses skillful musicality with pure head-banging intensity.
A moment of calm comes through with the soft tones of Ja Nae Nae, a shoulder swaying instance of reflection and appreciation. Contrast works its magic again and this one shines brightly for its fall away from the infectiousness of before. Afterwards, The Devil Named Sanchez takes you way out west for an atmospheric and intense story-line – stops and starts, dramatic pauses, equal parts organic and electronic amplification. You really think this project can’t get any better as each piece fills the room, but somehow it consistently does. There’s a Santana-like swagger here alongside of an Americana melancholy that makes for something cool and compelling.
Four Gypsies finishes things up with a driving ballad vibe and a sense of optimism. There’s something familiar about the set-up and the guitar playing now, it’s hard to pin-point but Miller has a way about his approach that’s loaded with personality – not an easy thing to achieve in the modern world, at least not without veering off into some inaccessible unknown. I’m incredibly grateful that Nick Miller has put his time, skill, and passion into this project. You almost certainly will be too.