Independent label HIGHGRND sure is piling up the releases this summer—after The Black Skirts and Idiotape each put out their newest full-length releases, it is now millic’s turn to unveil his first album, VIDA. And because I have become very fond of HIGHGRND’s artists and the kind of music they create, of course, I sat down and went through each track and basically fell in love with the album.
I’ll be honest when I say I hadn’t heard much of millic before—I didn’t know who he was, nor did I know what kind of music he made, but only until about a week ago. I had heard of VIDA from HIGHGRND and through other artists, like DEAN or ZICO, who had shared teasers of his music on their own social media. That’s how I grew curious myself, and how I ended up streaming VIDA on Spotify the day it came out.
Released on July 10, VIDA is quickly becoming one of my favorite electronica releases of the moment. It’s a very whole album, in a way. The songs flow well together while displaying diversity in genre, but without veering too far from the whole vibe and concept of the album. They each have a certain something, as in the mostly smooth beats and simple rhythms, that’s similar from one track to another. Yet, they remain different and unique. Same thing goes for the lyrics: though the album explores seemingly the same themes through the songs, it still brings a certain variety that’s nice to hear.
Another great thing—absolutely incredible thing, even—about VIDA is its diversity in features. Though you’ll hear more Korean artists than others, the fact remains that singers and performers from all over the world are featured on the album. It shows in the lyrics, too: the songs in English are almost equal in number to the ones in Korean.
The album starts strong. The first track, “You,” features Australian singer Ta-ku, and is a chill R&B number with a rudimentary beat and a melody just as simple. In fact, that’s exactly the strength of the song—how much it manages to carry despite its simplicity in Ta-ku’s voice and delivery, the juxtaposition of beats and chords, the bass, and how everything manages to work so well together. Right from the first song, millic shows that he’s a brilliant producer, only making us more eager to hear the rest—and boy, does he deliver.
Though I’m tempted to praise each song—and I would, really, if I had space for it—I’ll only stress the following point enough for you to listen to me: please, please, please listen to “Paradise.” I’m usually one of those people who finds more interest in B-side tracks than titles, but “Paradise” is definitely an exception to that rule. Definitely one of the best tracks on VIDA, it also happens to feature FANXY CHILD, a collective millic is part of that also features DEAN, ZICO, Crush, and Penomeco. “Paradise” is a brilliant hip-hop-infused electro song with the same chill vibe that the rest of VIDA has. Every verse is amazing and unique. Just listen to it and you’ll know. Believe me.
Other highlights (if we don’t consider the entirety of VIDA a highlight in itself) include the catchy “Igloo” featuring Club Eskimo (a collective gathering which includes, amongst others, DEAN, Crush, Miso, Punchnello, and millic himself). The track definitely stands out in the same way “Paradise” does. It offers a great collection of voices and verses, each more interesting than the previous. The best part: when the beat shifts for a lovely swing beat jazz interlude halfway through the song. Ooh, yes.
Also, make sure to check out the smooth “Treasure Island” and the daring “I’m Good.” Bonus points: take a look at the series of pre-release making films HIGHGRND has been putting out leading up to the album release. They each give somewhat of an insight to the song they’re about, whether done straightforward in an interview-style video or through artistry with nicely-shot scenery. It gives a good idea of what went on behind the scenes when making the album which, in turn, enhances the experience of listening to the album itself.
Overall, VIDA is a great success for me—it’s an album that’s just as easy to listen to casually, with its simple yet impressive sound, as it is a great album to sit down and really listen and pay attention to. Please treat yourself to the entire album, as you definitely won’t regret it. These kinds of releases only come once in awhile.