Milosh Furthers the Ominously Erotic Soft-Soul Revolution on ‘Jetlag’
Making music about one’s own relationship is usually the fundamental starting point for most artists, a relevant testament to writing what you know. But then, making music about a happy, loving and successful relationship is a harder package to sell than some heart-puncturing break up saga stained with the tears of your former lover. At some point, it’s only natural to devour a dose of melancholy, so hearing about real intimacy that’s bursting with joy is only palatable if you are experiencing that same sort of happiness. If you’re bitter, you really just want to be lying face down in a cushion with your head in a mouthful of chocolate.
But Toronto-born, L.A-based Michael Milosh’s fourth album Jetlag is a driving rhythm as he writes with unabashed freedom. It feels personal, deeper and more regarding, allowing you in slowly to connect from the conversation he is starting. It’s as if you’re reading from one of his personal daily diary entries. Poems written about his life, and you’re placed there to listen and feel. That moment when you can hear your neighbours through the dry wall of your apartment block, as they roll around giggling, bodies entangled and fully intertwined. This is Jetlag.
The sound across the album is luscious and detailed with creative soundscapes similar to his work with Rhye that feel heartfelt in their construction. Woman, the band’s debut album, was a compelling slew of conjuring song-spells that gained the duo well deserved notoriety. With a similar cloying sentiment, Milosh and his wife and actress Alexa Nikolas now invite you in. Throughout the ten tracks you’ll hear recorded moments of laughter, tapping, scratching and skin-brushing. His subject matter has become but the ambient wallpaper from which he builds each composition.
From the first track you’re placed firmly in the audience as an observer. His breathy vocals imply neither sadness nor seduction alone, but rather an abstract storytelling. With the plea, “do you want what I want, do you need what I need,” he sonically stitches the soundscapes of her laughter and recorded drumming on her stomach into a scaffolding of surging synth and electro-beats.
So we’re invited into their world. A momentary respite just like jet lag – where you’re entangled in a dreamy-existential haze. The album explores themes of love, time, patience and compassion. He isn’t trying to bash us with his beating heart but rather passionately tell his story of discovery and continuous self-evaluation. Similarly, it elucidates human necessity for self evaluation from extreme connections felt when met with past disconnections. One must have a reason for reflection, an eye to admire current situations and Milosh’s intent is clear – to pay homage to this characteristic romantically, by expressing his love for his wife and the excitement he has for his current life.
His music tends to be a neutral anaesthetic to a gaping wound of confessed feelings. The moment you start expecting more from it you’re faced with the choice of either treating it as merely a pleasant background or listening to it with inexorable attention. The album affords you with both outcomes.
Can we all just slow down? Milosh then asks. Is it the heightened pace of the modern age that doesn’t allow for us to stop in the midst of frenzy and look directly at the root of our happiness? Perhaps. Turning the proverbial mirror on his relationship in the somber tracks ‘Slow Down’ and ‘This Time’ he elevates his sentiment and will for unhurried experiences through electronic saxophone-accentuated modes. In the black and white video for ‘Slow Down’ – which if found without this particular visual representation may have fallen rather flat – we get placed again. This time, right up front in the car watching as his wife plays the song and reacts intensely as it gradually unfolds. It’s superbly moving. The combination of these two components fittingly display his commitment to her and his music.
His emotive countertenor in songs like; ‘Skipping’ and ‘Hold Me’ expose the story of Milosh and can be refined into this: the seductive sway from each smooth syllable tacked into regular pauses of click-stuttering ‘mmm’s’ and ‘ooo’s’. He does his best work where he moulds electronic elements with stuttering down-tempo beats and gorgeous textured timbres. The walls come down here and there’s still a vulnerability behind his main lyric – ”so come on, hold me in this space, before I lose this feeling.”
It’s pitched somewhere between Röyksopp’s ‘Across The Graveyard’, Four Tet’s ‘Moma’ and a band that has inspired Milosh, Autechre, with basslines and beats that are harder and riddled in soulful arrangements only noticeable and appreciated until you’ve given the album another go.
Casting aside all that background hullabaloo, it’s best to focus on his complex lyricism by taking it all in with a wide-angled predisposition. With only one, very important thought on my mind: is it any good? My immediate reaction? Yes. It’ll definitely appeal to anyone who appreciates the sonic palette of a singer/songwriter truly coming into his own, with a personal story to tell. “We have no past just a beautiful future” so, let’s take our time shall we?
Jetlag is subtle, original, and captivating. If you’re in the mood for a different sort of love song, one that isn’t the most obvious but still filled with probing lyrics and a melodically intricate feel, this record is more than worth a listen.
Watch: Milosh – “This Time”
A romance road trip
On the heels of his impressive fourth LP, Jetlag, Milosh (one half of Rhye) has shared a visual for This Time. Like the video for Slow Down, the clip heavily features Milosh’s wife, actress Alexa Nikolas.
Boasting a home video vibe, the camera follows Milosh and Nikolas as they travel through various cities, dancing in hotel rooms, jumping in the streets and lip-synching This Time to each other. Awww.
Published on Nov 26, 2013
This is a video that Alexa and myself put together that is essentially a collection of footage over this past year while we traveled the Rhye record around the world. We went to 40 separate places in a span of about 6 months and we got to see some beautiful places as a result. We tried to set aside time in between performances to see things, just take them in and enjoy ourselves. We chose to use this footage for this video as it fits the whole message, the point of the song perfectly. Enjoy the opportunities now while you have them, they are not always going to be there. Traveling is one of the most important, mind broadening things one can do, being able to do that together has been beyond a blessing.
Special thanks To Adam LaBrie, Vanessa Catullo and Jake Jamieson for helping film this video. And a big thanks to Yvonne Kone.