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(45:07, MALS Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Return to Uqbar 6:13 2. Angels in the Forest 8:17 3. When the Evening Comes 2:56 4. Whispers 5:23 5. The Transcension 2:26 6. Quiet Desperation 6:48 7. Hear the Ocean Roar 3:24 8. Man Out of Time 5:19 9. The One 4:22 LINEUP: Rick Miller Ц vocals; various instruments Mateusz Swoboda Ц violoncello Kane Miller Ц guitars; violin Barry Haggarty Ц guitars Nancy Foote Ц flute Will Ц drums
Prolusion. Canadian artist, composer and musician Rick MILLER is among the veterans of the Canadian music scene, with a recording career that goes all the way back to 1983. "Dark Dreams" is his ninth full-length studio production, and was released by the Russian label MALS Records in the spring of 2012.
Analysis. Since Rick Miller decided to start exploring progressive rock some 10 years ago, he has produced albums of a particular and rather uniform nature. Generally gentle and dampened in mood, smooth arrangements with dark undercurrents, while occasional use of exotic sounds have added a nice bit of variation to the proceedings. The overall impression has been a type of music closely related to 70's Pink Floyd, but with somewhat more of a tranquil overall sound. His latest production "Dark Dreams" follows closely in the footsteps of its predecessors. Occasional exotic timbres, atmospheric guitar solos in David GilmourТs style, gentle symphonic-tinged backdrops and calm, pleasant lead vocals. Those familiar with this artist will instantly find themselves at home with this CD. But I do think that Miller has taken a step forward this time around, and while perhaps subtle in nature the compositions appear as somewhat more refined on this occasion. Sporadic use of instrument details, somewhat more of an emphasis on increasing and decreasing levels of instrumental intensity, and pieces with a more distinct theme separation maintain and occasionally elevate the general musical experience. While those of his previous productions that I have covered have always been pleasant experiences, "Dark Dreams" is a compelling one too, with songs that aren't merely nice and easygoing but which also make a stronger general impact. The differences are subtle, so existing fans shouldn't expect a revolution of any kind, but the avid and intent listener will most likely enjoy this careful artistic development. Towards the end of the CD we're also presented with a couple of tracks that shy ever so slightly away from Miller's common creations as far as mood is concerned. Hear the Ocean Roar and Man Out of Time are both compositions that lack the darker undercurrent which is something of a trademark feature on Miller's album, instead utilizing acoustic guitars to create lighter-toned excursions with more of a melancholic nature
Conclusion. Gentle, subtly brooding progressive rock with distinct similarities to 70's Pink Floyd in sound is Canadian artist Rick Miller's specialty, and on "Dark Dreams" he's created perhaps his most enticing album of this kind so far. Sporting arrangements of a somewhat more refined nature than previously, it is a CD that should please all existing fans and one that merits a check by followers of the aforementioned Pink Floyd.
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