Review: Rory McMillan, Remember This, Vol. 1

Rory McMillan, Remember This, Vol. 1

02 Jul, 2015 Matthew Forss

Album Artwork for Remember This (Volume 1) by Rory McMillanRory McMillan, a Knoxville, Tennessee musician, creates stunning atmospheric and electronic landscapes of aural beauty on the latest release, Remember This, Vol. 1.  There are eight tracks of diverse musical styles in an instrumental context drawing upon jazz, down-tempo, trip-hop, new age, neo-classical, and pop constructions.  The scintillating melodies are perfectly-suited for soundtrack and score themes, too.

“Moving Spaces” begins with an increasingly-progressive atmospheric and spacey resonance with buzzy electronica, symphonic overtures, sparkling noises, neo-classical piano or keyboard notes, and an array of high-pitched tones that electrify the soul.  The tune is a spacious tune with a variety of sounds and noises to set the tone for the entire album.  Importantly, the two-minute running length is not a disappointment here.

“Electro Mystery Panic” begins with a piano-type melody that is punctuated with chip-tune-esque percussion amid a spacey, score-like foundation.  There are swishy sounds, squeaky tones, and majestic atmospheric washes that fall somewhere between intergalactic soul and interstellar gold.  The glittery electronic wizardry is exciting, suspenseful, up-tempo, and diverse.  The music ends rather abruptly, but that does not detract from the rest of the track.

“Grey Mouse Escapes Space Mountain” opens with a vibraphone-like beat with an ambulating, percussive beat akin to a South American thriller score.  However, the beat delves into a swishy, atmospheric medley of slightly horn or buzz-driven elements that come together by the end of the song in perfect harmony.  The instrumental tune is very diverse and cohesive.  The end of the song contains an atmospheric wash of sound that results in a laser-like array of sound that is purely spacey.

“Winter’s Promise” begins with a barrage of swishy sounds, very fast percussion, crystalline bells or vibraphone sounds, and atmospheric buzzes and tones for a stronger overall sound.  The crystalline sounds resemble the sounds of ice crystals or icicles, while the spacey beat creates a youthful and playful result in a slightly neo-classical manner.  The spacey, laser-like sounds near the end of the song solidify the electronic backbone of the track without resorting to ho-hum, ambient sounds.

“A Beach Bum’s First Love” opens with a keyboard melody, bell-like tones, and atmospheric washes with dreamy, ambient sequences rich in lullaby-like harmonies and horn-imbued incarnation.  However, the one-and-a-half-minute song offers only a sample of music.  Still, the short song dazzles ears with electronic adornments constructed in an interesting and appropriate manner.

“Race You To The Stars” begins with a breathy, flute-like sound indicative of an electric pan-pipe that is accompanied with metallic and earthy electronic tones in an abstract fashion.  The electronic pings, tones, and noises are rather jazzy, ambient, and spacey.  The punchy tones resemble chip-tune music or video-game soundtracks with sounds reminiscent of on-screen game noises.  Yes, it is somewhat spacey, as its name implies, but the result is more avant-garde jazz or ambient music.

Rory McMillan’s new album, Remember This, Vol. 1, is a stellar recording of ambient and electronic sounds from an instrumental point-of-view.  The album incorporates several melodies that are rather short, but memorable.  Despite the short, eight-track release, Rory’s music is redeemable with delicate shades of percussion, electronic embellishments, and ambient sound-scapes that are very beautiful.  Rory brings in space-age ambient sounds with jazzy avant-garde tones and assorted industrial elements that are anything but dull.  Anyone with an interest in the more structured ambient, electronic, and space music of Robert Rich, Steve Roach, and Michael Stearns will love Rory’s new sounds here.  Rory’s electronic music concoctions may be influenced beyond our solar system, but the sounds are still down-to-earth.


Review by Matthew Forss

Rating:  5 stars (out of 5)