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'Phases In Exile'   

-  Label: 'Ascension Hall'
-  Genre: 'Pop' -  Release Date: '27th October 2017'

Our Rating:
Miles Cooper Seaton takes his art pretty seriously and life for that matter which is all good. He makes the point in his biog that to tether art to "the haze of transactions" is to drain it of its magic and I wholeheartedly concur.

I almost feel as if I shouldn't be doing this. Great art can also transcend so should I 'judge' in that context? For all the pretensions Miles has done a fine job with this album. It does have the feel of something original although no doubt we have been here before. Miles can write lyrics, to the extent that they are effective as spoken word pieces, as on album opener "Out Here" and this also sets the tone for the overall subject matter which might be America and mans place in it?

It is difficult to place the album but as that is part of my job then minimal acoustic electronic Americana might be helpful? Miles can deliver vocals and his choice of an up close and personal technique, whispered but loud, gives the impression that he is talking to you and you alone. "I Am That" being a good example.

Miles is a good arranger. He is confident enough to use minimal instrumentation, orchestration and even feedback to create beguiling soundscapes and harness them for the good of the song. "Persona" is six minutes of mumbled lyrics with all kinds of glitch, percussion and junk sound coming in throughout, in a way that never once seems jarring and then in the last minute manages to veer towards chilling.

"Division" is a lovely ambient noise which then floats into "Nothing Lasts" which perhaps most resembles a traditional melodic pop song? "Death and the Compass" is more lush synthetic organic ambience before things are finished off with the guitar led "Homes by the Sea". The effort required by you to enjoy this album might be a stumbling block but I have to say it is certainly worth the while. I'm sold which might make me the highest bidder?
  author: Leo Newbiggin

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