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  • Filed under: Review
  • 03/31/2014

Millie & Andrea Drop the Vowels

Over the course of their respective careers, the individual work of Miles Whittaker and Andy Stott (who together form Mille & Andrea) has always seemed to come with a sense of purpose. Stott's Passed Me By and Luxury Problems were centered around distinct sonic concepts, while Whittaker's releases (usually as half of Demdike Stare) have often adhered to more abstract conceptual guidelines. The details may differ from one release to the next, but the producers' separate efforts have continuously felt as if they were driven by something more than just an urge to make good tunes. Millie & Andrea's Drop the Vowels LP bucks that trend to a certain degree, as its eight tracks seemingly go in whichever way they please. Ultimately, the album sounds like two producers simply having fun with their combined talents.

Considering each artist's established penchant for dark and rich sonics, "fun" can be a tricky word to use when talking about Whittaker and Stott, and indeed, in purely sonic terms, Drop the Vowels is anything but a light-hearted record. Whether delving into ritualistic soundscapes, subterranean rave, or fervent jungle, Millie & Andrea utilize only the toughest of structures. A wealth of burnt distortion permeates each track, giving the album's breaks an extra crunch, its hats an extra sizzle, and the chords an ominous, looming haze. The more murky and filthy the textures, the more Whittaker and Stott sound at home.

Across Drop the Vowels, Whittaker and Stott apply this scorched approach to a number of forms. "Temper Tantrum" is dark and ravey—save for the floating chords which appear momentarily in the middle of the production—while "Corrosive" and the LP's title track are tough jungle excursions, the former presenting a twisted take on trap in its opening and closing movements, which come off like Kuedo run through an incinerator. The duo even comes as close to "house" as either producer has possibly ever come with "Spectral Source," while a pair of beatless compositions—"GIF RIFF" and "Quay"—are enlisted to bookend the LP, opening the record with doomsday gamelan and ending it with a long series of beautifully disintegrating textures.

Drop the Vowels may take a number of different turns during its run, but the album rarely suffers from a lack of momentum. Together, Whittaker and Stott never fall short in terms of craftsmanship, and the combined depth of their skills as producers does much to help carry Millie & Andrea's works through their many different forms. From its massively hedonistic club tunes to its handful of cavernous dancefloor abstractions, Drop the Vowels is an unsurprisingly quality affair. In the end, it's a pleasure to hear Whittaker and Stott combine forces, even if they truly are doing nothing more than just fucking around.

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