Milyoo: Archeology

Archeology argues that it's well nigh impossible to pigeonhole Milyoo's sound. Yes, one does hear traces of house, electro, and hip-hop in its ten tracks, but the Kentucky producer's debut album on Subeena's Opit label does a good job of sidestepping any singular and all-too-limiting stylistic designations. Tommy Wilson even titles one track “Dasein,” of all things, which those with a philosophical background will recognize as a core concept in Heidegger's Being and Time (Sein und Zeit).

“Face to Face” percolates with bass-heavy fervour, its voice fragments slipping in and out of the percussive cracks as the tracks coalesce into some form of nuevo tribal electro-house. Though it oozes hip-hop swagger, the slow banger “Pulley” is characteristic of Milyoo's undefinable sound in being far too alien in its sound design to be easily pinned down. With its “la-la” vocal hook leading the way, “Colours” is clearly one of the disc's most club-ready cuts, though its concentration on groove doesn't detract from its artful construction. That shift in focus remains in place for much of the album's second half: “Tough Enough” is as infectious as “Colours” and just as much of a dancefloor-filler, too, while “Down Like You” is more direct in its Milyoo-esque riff on house music conventions. Moving away from the dance-floor focus of its predecessors, “Windows to Love” brings the album to a rambunctious close in sprinkling a high-pitched male vocal figure (the voice reminiscent of King Midas Sound's Roger Robinson) overtop of the song's explosive drum attack.

Throughout this accomplished collection, Milyoo sinuously threads clipped voices, rolling beats, synths, exotic percussive detail, and flickering melodic fragments into trippy, bass-throbbing set-pieces. Samples are integrated seamlessly into the mix, thereby expanding Milyoo's soundworld dramatically, and though the tracks are intricately layered, there's no lack of clarity and groove.

December 2011