Nick Miller, aka Illenium, released his debut album Ashes Feb. 15. Although he’s a relative newcomer, the melodic bass producer, whose album reached number one on the iTunes electronic charts shortly after its release, has played at some of the largest electronic festivals in the country including Global Dance Festival, Electric Forest, Decadence NYE and recently at the Majestic Theatre.
Based on his past releases, it’s obvious that Illenium has found a winning combination in his production. By fusing beautifully uplifting vocals, smooth piano riffs and heavy synth drops, the producer creates a unique listening experience allowing listeners to escape from their daily struggles.
This champion blend is present throughout the album’s entirety, beginning with its opening song, “Reverie.” The track features King Deco and smooth transitions from his calming vocals to upbeat drops, making the track electrifying, yet relaxing.
Illenium stays consistent within the melodic bass genre in the album with subtle differences in tempo and overall tone. The album as a whole is an entrancing experience that transports the listener to a warmer, happier place. Ashes provides the listener with relaxation and motivation in any setting.
For those not as into the electronic genre, “With You” provides a relaxing vibe all music lovers can enjoy. This particular song comes across as a less digitalized-sounding song on the album simply due to the omnipresent vocals throughout the track. Quin XCII’s rugged, unique voice adds a sincere tone to this hit.
A standout track is “It’s All on U,” featuring Liam O’Donnell. The crisp vocals and powerful message in the lyrics deliver a song both uplifting and empowering. Take a listen to pump up a walk to class, or when motivation is lacking.
Though the album is memorable and captivating, the redundant lyrical content takes away from the range and unique quality of songs on the album. Ashes contains a repetitive theme of love and support. But the overarching experience Ashes provides overshadows its mediocre lyrical content. Since Illenium is a producer, his album’s quality production should be, and is, the standout component.
In an interview with Alex Bruski at youredm.com, Illenium said he wants his music to possess “timeless” elements through an intimate connection between listener and music, and strives to allow listeners to temporarily escape from reality.
Recently named on UKF’s “Ones to Watch” list in 2015 and having performed at several music festivals including Global Dance Festival, Decadence NYE and Electric Forest, fans can expect bigger things from Miller in 2016 with his debut album. Its success lies in the album’s immersive journey, a trip Illenium provides in his live shows that has transferred over to Ashes‘ listening experience.