Gavin Miller: Illuminate
This Is It Forever

A twenty-one-minute, two-track EP from worriedaboutsatan member Gavin Miller, Illuminate is distinguished by, among other things, its innovative release format: a USB lightbulb flash drive. But that's hardly the only striking thing about it: how the material came into being is just as interesting. When worriedaboutsatan performed at Bristol's Cafe Kino in August 2016, Miller recorded some random piano material on his phone during the pre-show, which upon returning home he edited and used as the foundation for the EP's long-form ambient settings. From small things ...

Issued on worriedaboutsatan's This Is It Forever mini-label, Illuminate should certainly satisfy those who admire the work Miller and Thomas Ragsdale produce as a duo, especially when the opening track, “Floodlit,” begins with the kind of macabre soundscaping worriedaboutsatan specializes in. A slow, decrepit pulse establishes itself first, after which Miller grounds the enveloping haze with acoustic guitar strums and ghostly string textures, the collective sound exuding equal amounts of peacefulness and paranoia. Seven minutes in, a series of convulsive bass drops punctuates the mass with the severity of gut-punches, the momentarily winded sound mass recoiling with each strike as if trying to catch its breath and continue its steady advance.

During its initial moments, a quiet sense of foreboding underscores “A Brief Flicker,” the elements in this case congealing to suggest the oppressive presence of some hovering craft and the possible threat it poses. Pitching things at a level of controlled hysteria, Miller subsequently fleshes out the arrangement with high-pitched, whistle-like motifs and a muffled pulse rumbling up from some subterranean locale until, similar to “Floodlit,” an acoustic guitar surfaces to bring a becalmed pastoral-folk dimension to the proceedings. Atmospheric soundsculpting at its best, Illuminate shows what can happen when a creative talent such as Miller is involved in the production process.

May 2017