Adam Miller – Mistakes (Atrium, 2015)


The fifth album out of the new Atrium Tapes label is another gorgeously short affair to fit their cassette release format; at just twenty minutes long Adam Miller’s Mistakes is a short and fleeting presence in our lives but its tenuous and transient dronescapes leave a wonderful impression in their short lifespan.

Opener “Weetzie” is the shortest piece of the four, creeping in at just over 2 minutes long, but like all of the pieces here its short span is deceptive; although outwardly it projects the visage of being nothing short of a simple introductory track its ringing drones and muffled darkness act to summon a magnificently obfuscated track with layers of pleasant subtlety. It shimmers and hovers around us, enveloping us in a gentle and harmonious haze that feels only minorly upset and imbalanced, before terminating abruptly to pave way for the tangential and unbidden rising thoughts and feelings of titular track “Mistakes”, as though reminiscing suddenly jarred a difficult memory into the fore of our conscious mind. It’s a slow burner too, a rising fester of cool and regretful deep drone beds that wash over us in a haze of distant melancholia, thin bands of light pitching through like reflections off glazed eyes that look inward glumly. Something about it feels quietly humble though, especially towards the end, as though it concedes the inevitability of error and misjudgment in one’s own life.

Indeed, follow up piece “Blood Shore” seems anxious to press onwards and retreat away from this miserable territory as its slowly cresting onlaps of sound press with increased energy as compared to its predecessor, their distant and fragile repetitions easing us away and calming us down on the heads of elongate drone swashes. Before we know it and seemingly far before its time finale “False Version” comes round to see us off, this time submerging us in fluidic and disengaged swells of heady drone currents and swooshing synth notes that smear off into memory, not too dissimilar to some of 36’s more drone oriented work actually. It’s a softly distracted and lulling track that retains only the merest hint of the briefly miserable turn experienced just minutes before.

We’ve all been there, lying in the peaceful calm of near sleep in bed when without warning some silly memory seems to be dragged up from nowhere, filling our somnolent minds with faint anxieties as we bury our faces into the pillow before quickly casting our thoughts elsewhere, anywhere, to get us back ready to drift off again. Adam seems to have encapsulated this feeling perfectly to me, and although the short runtime works beautifully I could happily listen to a heck of a lot more; only a few cassettes remain so be quick and get this little gem while there’s still time.