Simple Shapes + Patterns (2008)
Asa Milbankx Is The Reason People Endlessly Troll The Web Looking For New Music…
I first bumped into Asa Milbankx just a few weeks ago, while discussing Quadraphonic Nilsson recordings. He made an ever-so-slight sub-reference to where he posts, and after prying the address out of him, I was surprised to find this – what has quickly turned into my favorite album of the year… and it’s only February. This 2008 digital album, Simple Shapes + Patterns, released as The Latters (actually Milbankx, start to finish), had me almost immediately. Milbankx’s melodicism is effortless and his faultless vocals are a wonder. He’s not a hook machine, but a nuanced pop composer who avoids the typical verse/chorus/verse structures. His material unfolds naturally, with new harmonies, different rhythmic ideas and unexplained sidetracks around every turn. All without a whiff of that self-conscious encyclopedic showboating that can undermine even some of the greatest popsters. Just the opposite, Simple Shapes + Patterns flows with a casual ease, owing a debt to McCartney’s quieter songwriting influence, with echoes of the Wilsons and a few other angelic pop types. By track three, the soaring melody in “Ricochet” informed me I was officially hooked. It all makes you wonder where this guy’s been hiding out. Turns out… at an artist collective called Mount Valley, garnering a single comment per release (sometimes), practically a buried easter-egg of musical excellence lost inside this dark vast web. I’ve had it on a loop this last week
end and have come to love every… single… minute… of it. Milbankx’s work is genuinely appealing and repeated listens are guaranteed to reap rewards. Visit Mount Valley.net (HERE) to get more of his work, all for free, and all criminally under-appreciated. UPDATE: We are now full-fledged fans, find more of our rambling, pontification about Asa Milbankx & Analog Birds, HERE.
“Fresher” b/w “Abaco” (2011)
Outstanding new digital 45 release. “Fresher” is a gorgeously lazy shuffle that eventually goes 3-D, with inventive harmonies coloring every measure. Great bass line by Ali A.B. If you’d told me this was a new Emitt Rhodes track, I would have believed it… if only because it betters my decades-old imaginary version. You should hear “Abaco” unfold for yourself, and don’t miss that uber-smooth instrumental break. Trust me. Once this stuff gets under your skin, the layers of vocals and instruments seem to breathe alive.