|Rhye — Woman (2013)|
Rhye — Woman
≡⇑≡ “Throughout Woman, Rhye deals deftly with the double~edged dagger of love, exposing both its beauty and its faults. In ten songs, the spectrum of emotions triggered by love, ranging from infinite highs to crushing lows, is explored with a sense of discretion that is often absent in today’s music. Woman works because it balances restraint and candor, presenting love in neither a chaste nor debauched light. Milosh, through his gossamer vocals, delivers a message of stunning clarity: despite the risk, love is beautiful.” — JEAN~LUC MARSH
Location: Toronto, Canada/Copenhagen, Denmark ~ Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Album release: March 5, 2013
Record Label: Loma Vista/Polydor/Innovative Leisure/Universal Republic
01. Open 3:37
02. The Fall 3:45
03. Last Dance 3:27
04. Verse 2:52
05. Shed Some Blood 3:21
06. 3 Days 4:16
07. One of Those Summer Days 4:33
08. Major Minor Love 3:56
09. Hunger 3:30
10. Woman 2:40
♥ Mike Milosh
♥ Robin Hannibal
∠ Tom Coyne Mastering
∠ Thomas Drayton Bass
∠ Bjørn Gjessing Piano Engineer
∠ Andreas Halberg Bass
∠ Stuart Hardie Art Direction, Design
∠ Elizabeth Lea Horn Arrangements, Trombone
∠ Tom Lea String Arrangements, Viola, Violin
∠ Mads Oustrup Mixing
∠ Rebekah Raff Harp
∠ Rhye Arranger, Engineer, Horn Arrangements, Instrumentation, Mixing, Producer, String Arrangements
∠ August Rosenbaum Piano
∠ Itai Shapiro Guitar
∠ Todd Simon Flugelhorn, Horn Arrangements, Trumpet
∠ Rachell Smith Photography
∠ Tracy Wannomae Clarinet, Flute, Horn Arrangements, Saxophone
Album Moods: Delicate Languid Passionate Sensual Sexual Soft/Quiet Soothing Sophisticated Spacey Stylish Sweet Brooding Elegant Intimate Sparkling Springlike Yearning
Themes: Daydreaming Heartache In Love Romance Seduction
∠ 2013 The Billboard 200 #55
∠ 2013 Top Digital Albums #19
♥ 2013 Open Japan Hot 100 Singles #92
♥ LA~based duo, Rhye, formed under the guise of creating art inspired by classic beauty and honest emotion.
♥ Recorded in Copenhagen and Los Angeles, their sound brings together elements of their modern cultural aesthetics mixed with an homage to classic sensibilities; lush strings and melodies intertwined with simple electronic production and soft and sultry vocals — a marriage between refined decadence and modern elegance.
Review by Andy Kellman; Score: ****
♥ In 2010, Mike Milosh flew to Denmark to work on a Quadron remix with that duo’s Robin Hannibal. The collaboration grew into another duo, named Rhye, which released two singles on Innovative Leisure in 2012. Milosh and Hannibal weren’t forthcoming about being behind the achingly romantic soul~pop elegance of “Open” and “The Fall.” Once word got out, it seemed forehead~smacking obvious to anyone familiar with Milosh’s solo albums and Hannibal's many involvements, Quadron included. Rhye’s Woman, released on a major and front~loaded with the first two A~sides, is an ideal fusion of the two instrumentalists and producers, whose sound is enhanced — never overstuffed — with horns, woodwinds, and strings, including harp. Tempos rarely break a breezy pace. When they do, they arrive at just the right time, during the album’s latter half. The lilting “3 Days” echoes the Blue Nile’s “Tinseltown in the Rain,” while “Hunger” is breathy boogie, like a sequel to Owusu & Hannibal’s “Lonnie’s Secret” with surprisingly well~placed horn skronks. In the main, the purpose is bedroom listening, though the tone is so bright that daytime play seems most suitable. The lyrics are packed with metaphors, yet they are expressed in a heartrending and inviting manner. They don’t get more explicit than “I’m a fool for that shake in your thighs” — the album”s opening line. Milosh’s voice, high and sigh~like, is frequently likened to that of the significantly deeper and richer Sade but is closer to that of Michael Franks. Beside Hannibal, he’s made his most expressive and pleasurable material to date. Anyone new to Hannibal’s work should start with Quadron’s self~titled album and then check the group Boom Clap Bachelors, the album Living with Owusu & Hannibal, Szjerdene’s “Lead the Way,” and Leon Ware’s “Orchids for the Sun.” Milosh has three albums on Plug Research, home to Quadron, all of which are worth some time. (Allmusic.com)
♥ It was chance that brought two musicians together, Robin from his home in Copenhagen, and the Canadian Milosh, from his adopted city of Berlin. It was their creative collision and new personal loves formed that turned an overflow of inspiration into music focusing solely on beauty. But long before they became Rhye, the duo had been on each other’s minds.
♥ “I had been listening to Milosh’s work for years,” Robin says, “then when it became time to commission a remix of my work with Quadron, we decided that Milosh would be the one to do it”.
♥ Across the world, Mike had been a fan of Quadron, and was excited about the opportunity to take the bands’ songs in a new direction. Yet, when the tracks came back, Robin had a revelation. “It didn’t sound that much like a remix really, instead it was like Mike had created layers and layers of amazing vocals and created and idea for a new song,” Robin says, “it was more of a rough idea for another song, and that inspired me to start working on a song based on his vocals.”
♥ This small idea became the catalyst for a bigger idea. Robin reworked those tracks and built a new song from the sonic fragments that Milosh had forged. Then when their insanely busy schedules simmered down, Milosh left Berlin to meet Robin for a session in his Copenhagen studio. The two hit it off instantly and connected on their love of 60s soul music and classical soundtracks of their favorite movies.
♥ They connected on the idea that music that could cut straight to the heart and those pulse~raising sounds are really all that matteres. No attitudes, no gimmickry, no egos or rockstar posturing: just pure sounds from the soul. “We both really like emotional music, something that has that quality of getting under your skin,” Robin says. “That is Mike’s quality. He’s haunting, and I hear so many interments in his voice.”
♥ “I have been compared to Sade so many times in the last six years that it’s kind of lost an effect on me,” Milosh says. “I have always had more of an attraction to female vocals, as I like music to have a soothing quality. Comfort. I am more interested in the beauty in music then any of the other colors that seem to be represented in most of what we hear.”
♥ “We would go back and fourth on ideas slowly carving away to the best place for the song to sit like a sculpture being made, whittle from stone.” Milosh says about their time composing music together from across the world. Once Robin had moved to Los Angeles and Milosh’ schedule stabilized, the time was right. Final, the stars aligned for Rhye, and they could spend almost a month fashioning their cinematic sound.
♥ Rhye’s music is big and ambitious, a sound that could have been crafted in Capitol Records.
Press: Dana Meyerson - firstname.lastname@example.org
Agent: North America / Australia & New Zealand: Ali@Billions.com // EU / Asia / South America: David@CodaAgency.com
♥ Woman was very well received by critics, with many comparing the album’s sound to the artist Sade. The album currently holds an 79/100 rating on Metacritic.
♥ The album was named a longlisted nominee for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize on June 13, 2013.
By Miles Raymer; March 5, 2013 Score: 8.5
♥ Rhye’s short history is marked by serendipity and mystery. A couple of years ago, after being tapped by Hannibal’s Copenhagen~based electronic group Quadron, producer/vocalist Mike Milosh flew to Denmark to work with the group and they hit it off. Eventually, Quadron producer Robin Hannibal moved to L.A. in pursuit of a woman, and Milosh coincidentally relocated there as well, and started his own serious relationship (which has since evolved into a marriage) before they reconnected musically.
♥ From what Milosh has said, Rhye~s primary goal is to pay tribute to this type of world~tilting romantic experience, but so far the pair have delivered their interpretations of this very personal phenomenon from behind a veil of secrecy. They released their first single, “Open”, anonymously, and promoted it in a deliberately opaque fashion, like a YouTube video of Milosh serenading his wife with a solo piano rendition of the song, shot in a way where you can barely make him out in silhouette. Even after revealing their identities, the pair refuse to say where the group’s name comes from or what it means, and their full names don’t appear anywhere in the liner notes to their debut album, Woman.
♥ Even without a face to attach it to, Rhye’s music itself feels deeply intimate. Much of this comes from Hannibal and Milosh’s deft arrangements — each of Woman’s 10 songs makes its point with a bare minimum of moving parts. Beats, basslines, and Milosh’s voice are at the center of nearly all of them; although a majority of the tracks boast arrangements for horns and strings, most of these are so subtle that you might not even realize they’re there until you read the liner notes afterward. The lean production leaves little space between the listener and the songs, and they feel almost touchably close.
♦ And then of course there’s Milosh’s voice itself, a gorgeous and graceful countertenor that many listeners have mistaken for a woman’s, especially in the days before the group unmasked themselves. He’s a subtle performer, but also canny. The restraint that the pair shows in their arrangements also carries over to his singing, which rarely rises above the volume of a conversation. It’s gentle, soothing, and easy to get lost in.
♥ That voice has drawn a number of comparisons to Sade, and the music behind it only underlines those similarities. Woman offers few sounds or ways of deploying them that wouldn’t be familiar to an R&B fan in the 90s, especially if they were into the British wing of the genre that at the time was focused on making gently bumping, slightly jazzy bedroom music.
♥ And although Milosh is an outspoken critic of what he considers a trend of crass sexualization in pop music, the album still embraces the physical aspects of the romantic experience it intends to glorify. Its sensual aspects may share the same sense of self~control (it’s sexy without being overtly sexual, erotic but not lascivious). As well~mannered as its carnal side may be, Woman is bound to become fodder for a tasteful boudoir soundtrack, something to be slotted next to the xx, another band Rhye’s been frequently compared to.
♥ The satin~sheets sensuality and Milosh’s vocals are impressive enough that they could save an otherwise unremarkable album, but the pair are also gifted songwriters who seem even stronger as a pair than as they did separately. Woman has only one bad song on it, though it should be noted that it’s seriously bad: “One of Those Summer Days” is boring and hook~free, and it not only dives face~first into the kind of sickly cloying sentimentality that they studiously avoid on the rest of the songs, but does so to the accompaniment of a drippy smooth~jazz alto sax solo.
♥ But a good number of the remaining songs come breathtakingly close to their own kind of perfection, at least close enough that it’s hard to imagine how anyone could improve them. “Open” may be so derivative of Sade that you may as well call it an homage, but considering that the closest point of comparison would be Sade’s “By Your Side” — one of the few truly perfect songs in pop history — that’s hardly a complaint. And I’d be surprised if Justin Timberlake and the members of Phoenix aren’t holding their new singles up to the lithe, clean~lined modern disco sound of “The Fall” and frowning at the results.
♥ Music about happy, successful relationships is always a tougher sell than music about romance gone bad, for the same reason that tragedies are more compelling than stories where everything works out fine for everyone. Bad fortune is naturally fascinating and contentment isn’t, and unless you’re in a happy, successful relationship you don’t want to hear about someone else’s. But Woman somehow gets to break those rules, in large part because the music itself is so easy to fall in love with.
By David Renshaw; As anaemic as a hipster Emeli Sandé.
Words by JEAN~LUC MARSH; Score: [A–]
By MESFIN FEKADU 03/06/13 01:42 PM AP