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Pier Mayhem and Return Address

Milo or Miles is Pier Mayhem. He released his first album, Decimal, in May 2017. Stemming from a history of gaming, he was inspired by Jesper Kyd’s soundtrack for Hitman Codename 47. This drew him to write the score for a small indie game called Hedron Online, which never came to fruition but allowed Miles to formulate his appreciation for EDM and its various styles in relation to virtual realities. He is interested in short films, robotics, live-streaming, games, performance and basically everything but the kitchen sink… well, maybe the kitchen sink too.

I’m listening to a previously posted live-stream/video from his Facebook page, watching him drink coffee and make tweaks to his project. For me, I like watching people work. I love the actual process of making music. I love documentaries about the making of a film sometimes more than the films themselves. So, he gets a plus from the get-go because he’s sharing his process. Now, lets set the volume to an appropriate level and get started.

I’m listening to Pier Mayhem for the first time. The song Return Address is playing through my speakers, the bass kicks in and the trickling techno elements slowly make their way into the song as the panning filter invites and introduces the next instruments into the mix. The bass weakens for a moment just to come back in and take you on a summer stroll as if it were a soundtrack to a hazy walk to the beach. I debate going to get another coffee from the kitchen and decide to just turn it up really loud and listen to it throughout the whole house.

I went through a phase listening to electronic music and going to raves, planning them. I never got into the million different styles. So if you ask me what style this is, I’ll have to say it is electronic, made without any acoustic instruments, lots of stereo panning and synths that tickle your senses. But, I’ll have to say, that not knowing EDM genres is liberating. I don’t want to say its New Wave or Bass Wave or Stick House or Spoon Bass. Those things just sound silly to me. The thing that it all comes down to is the storyline, where the music takes you and what it makes you feel. I am a producer as well, so I hear the arpeggiator right away. I can hear the space between the sounds and the care taken into the placement of the frequencies. I want a warmer sound from the synths, but my main concern is the steering wheel. The visor comes down to block the glare from my sunglasses and I squint into the distance to try to figure out exactly where we are going. I’m curious where the song is taking us. I like the tones and the space of the sounds, but I am wondering, “what is going on in the mind Pier Mayhem.”

DJs excel through context. DJ Shadow clearly has context. You can feel the street when he puts a track together. And what I hear in this track is weightlessness, a looping context of time rather than a specific story about anything. It could easily be the scene in a movie when the bachelor goes on a bender with his friends and they wake up in a rental car in Indiana. It could be a dream in which that old familiar key doesn’t fit in the lock anymore and you just feel glad that you don’t have to go home. There is something about the relaxing feeling, the glide to it all, that says, “hey, things’ll be alright anyways”. I keep repeating the title in my head over and over again to find that context of returning, to try to hold onto that space, to engage the actual process of getting back to where we came. Again, it’s all about context, organization and liberation.

At the 5 minute 12 sec mark the song takes a break. It almost becomes a new song, but with the same elements as the first half. Hans Zimmer says that lines should communicate with each other and it seems like this half is replying to the first. They’re having a conversation but only one of them is speaking at a time. The tempo slowly creeps up and the tenseness of the synth grows. I’m still not sure where I am or where I am going. I don’t really feel like it needs lyrics or samples, but its summer tone says, “I want to be outside.”

I would definitely cut this track into two, make a part one and a part two, but I do like the cinematic length to it. I'm a big fan of cinematic sound. Music too often gets lost in the background of our lives and I think that EDM songs of greater length are justified. As I recoil from the dreamy 11 minute trance, the song drops off, finishes, stops on a click and disappears. At first I’m wondering where it went, but then it doesn’t feel inappropriate at all. It feels like I went out and that song, somewhere, kept going as if it were returning home without me.

Below you can listen to more tracks and get to know Miles from his websites and projects:

Pick your poison. Listen to Pier Mayhem's Decimal on:

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