Albums / EPs, Reviews

Album Review: Milosh – Jetlag

This March saw enigmatic soul-pop duo Rhye release Woman just as subtly as the Canadian Micheal Milosh whispered and crooned his way through the singles ‘Open’ and ‘The Fall.’ Speculation engulfed Rhye’s bio-less online presence. Had Sade made a comeback, only with tasteful restraint and without the 80s bass riffs? Why was Rhye’s female vocalist named Micheal? Woman’s release hushed some of these questions, and in doing so introduced many of its listeners to Milosh, the moniker under which Micheal Milosh has been weaving his elegant, genderless voice through electronic echoes for a decade. Milosh’s independence spotlighted Rhye as more a successful collaboration with Danish instrumentalist Robin Hannibal than the highpoint of his personal career, shifting focus onto his work as a solo artist.

This Tuesday, Milosh released his fourth full-length album, Jetlag. Jetlag presents itself as a 10-song soundscape recorded by Milosh and his wife, actress Alexa Nickolas, in their Los Angeles home. Musically, the album is premised on backbeats of glitches and claps, sampled sighs and well-placed MIDI chords. For those familiar with Milosh through Rhye, his synthetic and textured caltralo vocals make it hard to separate Woman and Jetlag. Indeed, Milosh notes that “the two albums are like sisters in some ways.” Genetic similarities in both albums extend even to their length and cover art. Nevertheless, Jetlag is exceedingly individual. Under its characteristically sensual covers, it is an intimate and personal tribute to the love shared by its creators, Milosh and Nickolas.

In this sense, Jetlag does not stray far from Milosh’s typically emotive and carnal themes, most evident in older songs like ‘Move On’ and ‘You Fill Me’. In fact, it elevates the sultry and heartrending character of his music to a shamelessly honest highpoint. “Jetlag is an expression of my deep love for my wife, my happiness and excitement for a new place in my life, my sadness or fear of stepping out of my old life” shares Milosh. It is in this private context that Jetlag is best heard and adsorbed.

Opener, ‘Do You Want What I Need’ pairs escalating distortion and echo-claps with sensual vocal undertones. Milosh’s voice is a paradox, and not only in its evident androgyny. In Jetlag it sounds simultaneously automated and like the personification of human feeling. More than anything, though, it exists on songs such as ‘Skipping’ and ‘Slow Down’ as a unisexual symbol of love and its composite emotions. The music video for ‘Slow Down’ embodies this, presenting Nickolas on a three-minute emotional drive, occasionally mouthing, ‘can we all just slow down?’ through tears and smiles of an indefinable nature.

‘This Time’ is an undulating and hopeful love song, beginning with a calming synth introduction reminiscent of Brian Eno. Molish recently released the music video for ‘This Time’, which is sure to make anyone want to travel the world with their own lover, even if seeming loveless and untalented next to Molish and Nickolas. Analogue delays and saccharine vocals play alongside Postal Service-esque percussion in ‘Don’t Call It.’ ‘Hear In You’ is a comparatively up-tempo number, with a nimble digital melody and backtrack, taunting any over-read blogger to label it ‘trip hop.’

Admittedly, Jetlag as a whole is distinctive but not diverse. After ‘Stakes Aint High’ the electronic fibre of Milosh’s emotions and sensualities begins to feel unchanged. Thus Jetlag functions more as a source of personal precious songs than a beginning-to-end album, as with Woman. What stands about each individual song, however, is its unconventional structure. “I wanted them to be unhinged, and I wanted each song to have its own world” explains Milosh. Indeed, what songs like ‘Hold Me’ eschew in form they cling onto in feeling, as Milosh’s lyrics serve as guide through 8 minutes of electronica with ‘I know that face, that face you make when no one is watching’ and ‘Hold me, before I lose this feeling’ echoing sweetly overhead.

On the overall sense of Jetlag, Milosh offers this, “Jetlag is about dancing between two worlds simultaneously, learning about myself through the process and ultimately making a choice to be with someone, to fully commit to that life even though it’s on the other side of the world.” Jetlag is thus shamelessly self-indulgent, yet universally relevant. It epitomises music’s place in the world as a conduit for love, fear and elation for whoever in which they appear. Jetlag certainly deserves a place in that 2013 playlist you are preparing nestled lovingly next to Woman.

Jetlag is out now available on Itunes via Deadly.

Listen to single ‘This Time’ below:

Watch the video for ‘Slow Down’ below:

Written by Graham Evans

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