Saturday, 27 October 2018

My favourite music artists of the 10s : #76 - Dave Miller (Algernon, Spam Filter, Lonesome Limos...)

If his solo album from two years ago, Old Door Phantoms, was a bit less impressive to my ears but still really good with his bluesy instrumentals blending classic rock, psychedelism and oddly dissonant bursts of guitar freedom inherited from his jazz musicianship, Dave Miller has been a consistently stimulating member of the Chicago improv scene this decade, from the freeform experiments of his short-lived quintet Spam Filter somewhere between dark ambient, jazz-noise anthems and tribal phantasmagorias, to the destructured beat-based grooves of Lonesome Limos' first EP alongside with Tom Perona, a weirder cousin of Red Snapper sampling Vertigo's soundtrack on the fantastic opening track Replicator, at the crossroads of abstract hip-hop and kosmische electronics.

However, my admiration for the guy stays deeply related to another project, the "post-rock" combo Algernon with Miller on guitar and the aforementioned Tom Perona on bass, joined by second guitarist Toby Summerfield, vibraphonist Katie Wiegman and drummer Cory Healey. Third and latest album to date, Ghost Surveillance made me call them "the new Tortoise" when it came out 8 years ago, which was, for me, pretty much the same thing as calling them the new best band in the whole universe. Nowadays, Australian quintet Tangents pretty much took up the torch as best heirs of the authors of TNT, since nobody heard of Algernon for years. But this album in particular remains a masterpiece of libertarian and playful instrumental rock, full of windy epics, cristalline melodies, dreamlike meditations and tense polyphonies rooted both in jazz, movie soundtracks and electricity.

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