When Millaze first described her music as Piano Dreamhop, I was thoroughly confused. I got the piano part. It was the “Dreamhop” part that gave me pause.
And then I got to listen to her current EP, The Malaise – Teaser Vs. Warning and it all made sense.
I have always chosen music that was over-stimulating: Progressive Rock, Classical, Jazz, Heavy Metal. This was definitely not in my comfort zone. Of course, the music I listen to has given me a love of virtuosity over the years, so I immediately recognized the skill and talent behind the acoustic piano parts that create the base of the ambient vocal pieces.
At its core, these are excellent piano singer/songwriter songs. Unlike a straight singer/songwriter piece, there is extremely rich orchestration overlaid on top of the piano. Perhaps most surprising is the choice of hip-hop instrumentation to create that orchestration.
On par with the orchestration is the production. There is never a blank space – always something going on and always something to listen to. Every listen through the music reveals something new.
Yet even within its rich and deep arrangements, there is space. Each song is a masterful balance between orchestration and breathing room. Unsurprisingly, this balance leads to a natural focus on the lyrics. Of course, this is made even easier with Millaze’s clear, siren—like singing and unique phrasing. Vocal style seems to be a thing of the past far too often, and it’s incredible to hear someone that combines talent with style.
That can only be a good thing when you’ve spent the time and effort creating a world as deep and rich as the music. As a Pittsburgh native, Millaze has created the world of Oakland. It is here where the main character of the story traverses while alternately losing and finding herself, along with the listeners as they follow along.
Although not one of my normal go-to genres of music, this trip through a more mythical Oakland was well worth the many listens I have given it. You can dive into Millaze’s world on her website, as well as bandcamp.