Sometimes, when you start listening to a new album, it may happen that the music you hear is so interesting and original that you find yourself completely enthralled by the music and you’re magically transported into another parallel dimension. Last day I was working on a document on my computer, with the music from this new album Miles to Midnight playing in my headphones. All of a sudden I found myself in another strange place, I literally felt like walking in an unknown territory, in a dark and impenetrable fog and with a pulsating rhythm coming from the distace. This was the effect generated on me on the first time I listened to this incredible and mesmerizing album.
Beyond the description of my transcendental experience, it’s not easy to explain in a few words the what’s inside this LP. On the bandcamp page where you can get the album, the music of Miles to Midnight is presented as “Dark Noir Jazz Ambient”, but in my opinion even this quite complex characterization still doesn’t manage to express the true essence of the music. Let’s try to say that the eight songs of the LP offer the listener with a special version of dark and melodic ambient, which is developed over an infrastructure of drones, orchestral elements and field recordings that generate beautiful, fascinating but also intricate and thick soundscapes. The general atmosphere is obscure, the main emotion that is felt is something like anguish. But the effect is so intense that it becomes an incredible experience, something that one wants to repeat, again and again. In spite of the particular style of music, in fact, the album is not annoying or boring. Indeed, it’s quite the opposite.
Miles to Midnight is the result of the collaboration among three important representatives of modern music.
Atrium Carceri is the musical project created by the Swedish composer Simon Heat, who’s also the founder of the music label Cryo Chamber, the one which produced the album. Heat is specialised in dark ambient music and in addition to the records he produces as a soloist under the moniker of Atrium Carceri, we find him involved in many other collaborations and in other musical groups. The role of Simon Heat in the composition of the songs of the album is evident: the main characteristics of Atrium Carceri’s music are in fact the main constituting element of Miles to Midnight: slow rhythms and desolate atmospheres.
Cities Last Broadcast refers to another Swedish artist, Pär Boström, who composes ambient music under a number of different names (principally Kammarheit, Cities Last Broadcast and Hymnambulae). We are in front of another artist who’s particularly focused with the representation of abstract and disquieting worlds. In addition to his musical activity, in fact, he’s particularly appreciated as illustrator and painter, and his works often deal with the same subjects that we find translated into music within his musical projects.
God Body Disconnect is the only musical project of this trio which is based outside Sweden. Bruce Moallem, the artist behind this work, is based in the U.S. and he arrived to ambient music after an initial career as a drummer in a brutal death metal band named Dripping, which was active for a few years between 1999 and 2001. If the main themes of the musical exploration of God Body Disconnect are typically the same as the other two projects that we have just mentioned, the music composed by Bruce Moallem as a solo is often enriched by the presence of a narrative voice, which we can’t find however in Miles to Midnight.
Listening to this record is not easy – if not for expert ears – to recognize the individual contributions of the three participating artists. And this is perhaps the best sign that this collaboration was really successful and that every one of the three musicians was in condition to contribute to the creation of something new and absolutely original.
In summary, it’s clear that Miles to Midnight is not a record that you can play when you have some friends at dinner, or early in the morning as you prepare to go out, unless you have really special tastes. But there are many other moments in our days in which it can be pleasant and liberating to abandon the reality that we face in our daily routines and be transported into a dark and mysterious world like the one created by these three artists.