With the release of his Cotton EP, Miller Blue has kicked off his 2019 in a way that anyone would envy.
Miller Blue is a name you will undoubtedly hear throughout the coming years, especially if Cotton is anything to go by.Although this is not his debut project, this is the first project of his that I have personally listened to. I was introduced to Miller Blue a short while ago through one of the tracks off of his EP ‘Rush’. From that, I got a very refreshing and fun R&B feel from his music, so when I tuned into Cotton I expected the same. I was completely wrong. To give a better overview of the kind of range Miller has, the closest comparison to another artist I can give is to James Blake. They share their musical roots in electronic but blend that base with other genres. Where James Blake is much more experimental and tends to push the boundaries of music in a way that can for some be off-putting, Miller Blue takes that style and gives it a polish that makes it almost seem like it should be pop. The sounds on Cotton will resonate with any kind of music fan due to how many influences and stylistic elements are at play in the project.
From ‘Streets Of Croatia’ through to ‘Lately’ we are thrown into Miller’s musical playground. ‘Rose’ throws us into a melancholic cut with the electronic sound taking centre stage production wise. ‘Marigold’ follows on with the electronic elements but there is a much bigger pop element to it which blended together, gives a hybrid electronic-R&B pop anthem with a sprinkling of rap in there too. ‘Rhythm In The Dance’ and ‘Rush’ are much more clearly leaning towards the R&B side of things and are an interesting contrast to the more electronic dominated tracks. Yet this contrast is supremely polished, the complete package not only sounds organically cohesive but extremely sonically pleasing. Cotton closes on ‘Lately’ a track which you can clearly hear one of his influences, Frank Ocean, in the production but again balances the R&B and electronic elements present throughout the project.
What adds to the impressive nature of Cotton, and is a testament to his talent, is the fact that Miller Blue self-produced the project and has no features. In fact, the project is completely Miller alone, a bold move when collaborative tracks have been absolutely killing it commercially. Here the lack of features feels justified because of how complete the project sounds. Whilst only an EP, Cotton has the refinement of an album and shows that Miller Blue can be a real force musically. I hope this is just the start of things to come from him and that he pushes on from this project to become a UK heavyweight in the footsteps of another of his influences James Blake. He more than has that potential, in fact, appeal wise he might even have even more potential than James Blake. I would want more music, just to see how he would manage a larger track-list without his sound becoming monotonous, but that can be reviewed when/if he drops an album. All in all, a quality project.
If I had to give it a rating 8.5/10. Cotton is extremely good, it drew me in from the opening chord even though it wasn’t a genre I would usually gravitate towards. Tracks are polished and flow well from track to track. The only room for improvement lies in making sure that he doesn’t get stuck in his sound. Whilst an extremely pleasing package he has the potential to push his sound a bit more into the realms of a James Blake and I think both time and experience will help him with that. I don’t think he needs to go as far as Blake with the experimental nature to his tracks, but on longer projects, a few more experimental hints that show he’s not just playing it safe will go a long way. As an early career offering though this project is one to be proud of, and one that I hope gets the attention it deserves.
You can also catch Miller Blue at his headline show at The Waiting Rooms in Stoke Newington on February 23rd – tickets available here.