Miles Brown- Seance Fiction (IT records)

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Miles Brown is a Melbourne native and member of the extraordinarily brilliant Night Terrors. His first solo release Seance Fiction harkens back to 80’s synth pop, but with the addition of early 20th century theremin, it blends and builds with the best of now, great composition and production. I only recently discovered the Night Terrors and was blown away. Seance Fiction blends the timelines of then and now perfectly bridging analogue and digital domains.

Miles was recently interviewed by Tony Mitchell with a focus on his theremin journey and the Night Terrors work, he also did a Cyclic Selects with Bob Baker Fish.

‘Space Cadet’ is our first ominous synth track augmented by beats and theremin. Edgy, experimental and compelling, the Theremin takes the place of the female operatic voice. There are some great arpeggiator sounding lines and beats with a clear 80’s pop sensibility. ‘Electrics’ follows with a retro analogue vibe “it’s just a case of unexpected electricity- flowing through a darkened circuit” he sings. The ostinato synth drives the track , multi layers transport us along a fast flowing river. With ‘Assistant’ the synthetic fantasy land opens up. I imagine a crazed robotic world where functions are carried out oblivious to their human programmers , who have been transposed into the cyber matrix…but who or what be the assistant?

‘Ghost’ continues the dark edge befitting its title and that of Seance Fiction -but what has the synthesizer summoned? It is truer to original electronic than a lot of the work in the popular domain. It is experimental, not the dance music spin offs that are regarded as electronic today. All the tracks essentially follow a conventional pop structure and song length, with lots of changes to keep one engaged. ‘Control’ is our next track, I wish I could say more about the tools Miles has at his disposal, they sound vintage and genuine analogue. Tony’s article (see above link) confirms this. We hear two voices in this track, the second being Jenny Branagan from Nun.

‘Apparition’ is a much slower tempo song with a Depeche Mode sort of vibe. It would of been very well placed in the 80’s. Drum machines, synths, with an encore from the theremin and arpeggiators. It tilts and turns in true indie pop style layering and building. ‘Knell’ again brings us the edgy timbred synths, and begins minimally. The main synth sort of takes the rhythm section, bass and where guitars would sit and keys. We are introduced to more lead sounds. As it breaks down in the middle the theremin enters the ‘Knell ‘ to announce the ominous.

‘Less Then You’ continues to the edge ‘”of the end times”, the lyrics inform us, it’s almost as if the ghost of the future are visiting us to warn us via the synthetic domain. The star of the show is the Theremin, Miles displays intense mastery over this ethereal instrument. ‘ Feeder’ is our last track and a slower walk out via the melancholic vein, our exit point, and a graceful departure till another time – via the sonic Seance Fiction.

Catherine Meeson

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About Author

Catherine Meeson is a solo ambient electro / progressive folk rock songwriter/ composer from Melbourne, fascinated by the wealth of brilliance in the musical world.