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Stories from Bohemia

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Album Review

Alton Miller was more than productive during the gap between 2001's Rhythm Exposed and his Stories From Bohemia album for Peacefrog, with a handful of 12" releases through Track Mode, Muse, and Moods & Grooves. Miller's follow-up to his first full-length might be smoother in comparison, but that doesn't mean that all of the edge has been rubbed off. This is best exemplified in a new look at "Shine on Me." The original version, issued on Kenny Dixon, Jr.'s KDJ label, isn't nearly as muscular as the polished version provided here, with a more fleshed-out arrangement and doubly powerful vocal performance. (Adding some confusion, an atmospheric alternate mix of the track appears on Dixon's Silence in the Secret Garden.) Miller sticks to predominantly elongated grooves, during which the developments slowly unfold, gently easing their ways into the subconscious. This doesn't pay off in every single case; a couple tracks drift off into the background a little too easily, washed out by the sheer volume of tensionless grooves. One can't help but fight the feeling that the album could've used one or two more propulsive tracks with higher bpms, in order to shake up all of the down-tempo material. Whether basing his tracks on vintage samples and hand percussion — as on the equally spare and hypnotic "No Goodbyes" — or synthetic textures and keyboard melodies — as on the deep jazz-funk of "Deep in My Soul" — Miller proves that he's able to provide a wide-enough range of sounds and approaches to span the length of an entire disc. With a little more tempo variation, Stories From Bohemia could've been more dynamic and easier to take in whole. Still, it's another strong addition to Peacefrog's rich catalog and Detroit's hallowed musical history. Miller remains one of the few house producers who can make his work translate to the album-length format.


Born: 18 May 1966 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Of the many figures central to Detroit's thriving electronic dance music scene that began in the mid-'80s and has carried on to the present, some figures such as Alton Miller have played important roles but never managed to attain the mythical status that has been granted to many of the city's more legendary figures. Growing up in the 1970s, Miller soaked up the musical environment surrounding him in the Motor City, taking a particular interest in the sounds of Motown, Philadelphia, Parliament/Funkadelic,...
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Stories from Bohemia, Alton Miller
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