Since hearing my first Illenium song two years ago, Nick Miller (aka Illenium) has been one of my favorite artists. When I look for new tracks, one of the things I like to pay attention to is if an artist is local or not. Lucky for me, Nick is currently a resident of Denver, Colorado; and due to this accessibility, I have had the opportunity to see him perform three times in the past 9 months including his performance on the iconic Red Rocks main stage. During Decadence, as well as his show at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, I was able to get a glimpse at some of the unreleased tracks from the album which immediately blew me away.
The album starts off calm, but powerful, featuring vocals from King Deco, with whom he has worked previously on the track “Spirals” that is also featured on the album. As a matter of fact, all of the tracks on the album (excluding the bonus tracks) have a vocalist featured on them.
It’s hard to pick favorites, as I think that each song has something special, but I will highlight a few that stand out. The third track of the album called “With You,” featuring Quinn, as well as the appropriately named track “Without You” both have a certain quality about them I couldn’t place until I asked my brother about it. He doesn’t listen to electronic music at all but was able to place that it had a Jared Evan feel to it. It’s been a while since I last listened to Jared Evan’s work, but I had a moment of clarity that it’s been a while since I’ve heard songs with that slow, calming, yet emotionally driving tone.
I have always had a soft spot for female vocals and powerful lyrics, and “Only One” delivers on both aspects. I like to think I can tell when a vocalist doesn’t have their whole spirit and soul behind a track, and Nina Sung does a great job of giving the song heartwarming depth.
I wanted to get a feeling for the inspiration behind the album and fortunately I was able to speak with Illenium and get his reply.
“I wanted to create something timeless. Music has this crazy way of coming into people’s lives and totally take their problems and struggles away for a moment. It lets people breathe and be in the moment while also taking them to a different reality. My hope is that this album does that and creates a bond with the listener and music forever.”
Overall I think the album is well put together with depth seemingly missing in a lot of electronic songs these days. The vocals clearly add a feeling of closeness and human connection. I hope this album reaches you in the way Nick intended when he created Ashes. This album takes me to a new world, I hope you can join me there!