Rick Miller – One of the Many (2024)

Rick Miller - One of the Many (2024)
Artist: Rick Miller
Album: One of the Many
Genre: Crossover Prog
Label: Progressive Promotion Records
Year Of Release: 2024
Quality: FLAC (tracks)

Tracklist:
1. Atrophy (8:21)
2. Time Goes On (3:52)
3. The Lost Years (8:29)
4. She of the Darkness (3:57)
5. One of the Many (4:54)
6. Perchance to Dream (13:10)
7. Wonderlust (6:15)
8. Another Time (4:36)

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Personnel:
– Rick Miller / performer, composer & producer

With:
– Sarah Young / flute
– Giulia Cacciavillian / flute
– Mateusz Swoboda / cello
– Artem Litovchenko / cello
– Barry Haggarty / guitars
– Kane Miller / acoustic guitar, violin
– Will / drums & percussion

Here is a consistently focused artist that just keeps on giving every year sterling musical adventures, that pay homage to the early glory years of Progressive rock. Yes, there is an obvious Floyd reference, as well as the Moody Blues and early Alan Parsons Project, in that the proposed material is smooth as the finest silk, and contrary to some pundits who may state that his craft is just the same composition over and over again, I must state that this would be a grossly unfair and a rather cheap characterization. Because upon closer scrutiny among the 13 Rick Miller albums I have in my collection, there are endless examples of variation, alteration, and progression. He does his thing and its extremely entertaining, especially if, like me, you enjoy adventurous mind music that takes you somewhere that is way more interesting that the daily and impertinent media sludge we are subjected too, for way too long. Plus, I admire petulant rebels who refuse to bend over and spread ’em!

A shimmering introduction with the 8 minute + “Atrophy”, a velvety concoction that possesses all the Miller trademarks, a leisurely developing melody with soothing keys, bumping bass and percussive pace, with a series of glittering guitar interventions, while Rick’ hushed and gentle voice, tells the tale, “As time slips through my hand”. A slight Egyptian sonority adds the needed mystery, various voice effects thrown in theatrically, and capped off by a blazing solo from the Barry Haggarty guitar, as the arrangement glides higher into the stratosphere. Change of pace on the measured “Time Goes On”, as Rick settle down on his piano, guitars twanging in the sound corridors, hushed voice, and a quivering lead axe blast, as the acoustic guitar proposes a crystalline contrast, a most pleasant little composition.

Speaking of contrast, the tortuously volatile “The Lost Years” is garnished with celestial female vocals and a raucous (rock) rhythm guitar riff that would make the stoned Keith smile, rapid shifts of tone and finally, another extended bluesy Haggarty rant, all kinds of mini-transitions as to prepare for a mid-section that adds cinematographic grandeur, a trait that Miller has perfected over the decades. When Rick states “I am your knight in white satin”, I cannot help but grin at the overt hint. This is perhaps one of his finest compositions yet, a classic Miller track that has all the condiments to excite the taste receptors, including a rather dreamy yet solemn outro.

A breathtaking instrumental “She of the Darkness”, is the proud owner of a heartbreakingly gorgeous melody played on the flute by Giulia Cacciavillani, shrouded with dense orchestrations, a pastoral acoustic guitar from Kane Miller and an elegant piano accompaniment. Simply magnificent.

The title track reverts back to familiar territory, a flowing lilt that does have a Floydian feel , what with the gentle rhythmic pulse, the voice effects, the bluesy guitar flourishes and Rick seizing the microphone once again, less hushed and more immediate, as the main melody will adhere to your senses from the very first spin, as if this was ‘One of the Many’ times his material had offered up such pleasures. The daunting lyrics are particularly clever ‘The truth gets torn to tiny bits, so we can reach a million hits’. My everyday thoughts precisely, as bold-faced media lying has become the new messiah.

The grand epic is up next with “Perchance to Dream” a colossal 13 minute + effort, the appropriate platform to stretch out the arrangements and literally shoot for the stars. The flute, piano and voice combo settle once again the score (excuse the pun), adding lush choir vocals, a current fixation of mine. Again, the lyrics are highly expressive, with the current trend of disbelief firmly stated. “You place your trust each day in the machine, you want to believe, but life is not what it seems. I don’t care if I ever see another day of reality. Look back through the years, I once dried your tears”. Gulp! Yes, I have become uncomfortably numb! I long for the gentler, perhaps even naïve days of my youth. A series of profound guitar solos underpin the sorrow of the burgeoning importance of the negative narrative, banishing the goodness to the sin bin. A masterful performance once again. The siren is calling on “Wonderlust”, a beckoning to some kind of finality, a revelation or simply just an end and perhaps an eventual rebirth. Sorrowful choir, acoustic guitar, and a stark cello surge from Artem Litovchenko and Mateusz Swoboda conspire to illustrate the dread, sliced wide open by razor sharp electric guitar surgery, amid all the Gothic Valhalla intensity.

The final track acts as a bonus track (the brooding lyrics introduced after the musical credits), asking ‘how long does a lifetime last’and referring a moody ‘Days of future past’. It is the natural finality that as we veer towards the golden years, nostalgia kicks in. We will ALL eventually return to those pleasant moments in our past where we found solace, love, understanding, compassion, and peace. Old Souls, old memories.

Kudos for the recent artwork, as Old Souls, Altered States and this latest one, are all attractive renditions of the music inside. This album is my favourite from this artist, and I urge the discriminating sonic adventurist to go out and get endless bliss from this release. I certainly did and will, as this was one of the many times I listened.
Review by tszirmay

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