In a tame but triumphant return, Mac Miller showcases a personal side as he always has with his music. From his rambunctious styling’s of an Oakland Shadow Lounge Teenager who cut his teeth with the likes of Pittsburgh’s underbelly. To the sold out tours around the world, there is something special about the Steel City Marauder. It could be seeing that he is from the similar backbone of the Pittsburgh artist, or maybe the way that he conducts himself on and off the stage, in any sense of the word; Mac Miller is a continuous force that proves he deserves where he is.
Standing on top of the world, looking down over the vast cities and oceans, the sea salt that is more of a refreshment than a sting is the world of Swimming. The more relaxed, more authentic instrumental focused release fromMiller is a separate entity added on to his career. With a lengthy introduction entitled “Come Back To Earth”, Miller describes through a fractal lens that he “Needs a way out of his [my] head”. He is still the alternative report of an artist that equates to more than just a hip-hop focused prodigy. Swimming is an accurate display of all the memories growing with Miller through his missteps and our own personal mistakes. “Come Back To Earth” is a deeply-rooted journey that has a relative factor and segues in immaculate fashion toward “Hurt Feelings”.
It appears fairly quickly that Swimming is going to be a more laidback approach when compared to other previous releases from Miller. Focusing more on creating spacious instrumentation that reflects the clairvoyance coming from Mac Miller’s vocals, his production is the most vital key to the puzzle that is Swimming. It continues to paint the visuals for Swimming and does a vivid job throughout the sun-bleached instrumentation that is present on “What’s The Use?” or “Ladders”. Other tracks like “Self Care” showcase Miller’s previous experience in hip-hop production as he morphs these 808’s and rattling hi-hats to form one of the more memorable displays from Swimming.
He is still stylish, approachable, and ultimately transformative as Miller uses “Small Worlds” to paint a beachside conversation stating “The world is so small till it ain’t, I’m building up a wall till it break. She hate it when I call and it’s late, I don’t wanna keep you waiting” as Miller then dives into a personal insight of his humanity and the conflicting nature of his private and public life. “You never told me being rich was so lonely, nobody know me, oh well; hard to complain from this five-star hotel.” This is where “Small Worlds” can transfer well into one of the final tracks of “2009” where the instrumental alone is almost heartbreaking.
The orchestral strings that coagulate and become this overbearing force before Miller finally cuts the tension and becomes a shining example of his past clashing with his new found awareness. Miller creates a more authentic beauty behind his production and that works into the sun that glimmers over Swimming, touching upon the sea and showing a clear reflection in the water.
Listen/Watch Here – Youtube
Directed by Atiba Jefferson
Director of Photography: Ty Evans
Laying the ground work on some of the sinister sounds that would come out of Europe, Samael was a heavy influence on early black metal that would span a lifetime of following records. With Samael however, their earliest record of Blood Ritual would be the most important in their career.
he aggression that follows the black, metallic overcoat of ultimate darkness that is Samael becomes a bloodied mess within the first moments of “Beyond The Nothingness”. A body bag of a track, the fire begins as Vorphalack rifles away with the guitar and vocal aspects as Xy performs on the percussion and keyboards. Masmiseîm handles the bass and works ultimately to constrict on Blood Sacrifice. Few records hold the instrumental weight that Samael can conquer and the keyboards are especially a high regard of the record. The instrumentation is as important as the death curdling segments of vocalization that is a mix between screams and growls of a truly otherworldly source.
There are distinctions within Blood Sacrifice that feel as a forced attack on the listener as Samael demands the attention from the listener. They stand as a dedicated and relentless movement to punch throughout the droning tracks. Flurry after flurry comes into frame as the door is then lifted on Blood Ritual to unveil a wealth of secrets spewing from the hydra. Samael holds these various movements and workings up to the flame as each play through of Blood Ritual continues to surprise and hold elements that still become discovered even over 20-years later.
Continuing into “Macabre Operetta”, one of the more lumbering and heavy-hitting productions from Samael. There is this constant rush from the band, and seeing a new direction is as refreshing as death can be. Without these tracks, Blood Ritual would become a monotonous mess. The group does not have a single leader however, as each member guides within their own way. The importance of Blood Ritual comes from Samael having these offset pathways that break off and then form once again at the track’s end.
Through the near hour of blackened death coming from Samael, Blood Ritual proves to be as substantial as it once was even back in 1992. Through the trifecta of near physically hurting musical destruction, Samael holds a sense of hope behind their sound. Relentless in nature, Blood Ritual takes the best of the aggression and forms it into one digestible piece.