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RICK MILLER

Crossover Prog • Canada


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Rick Miller biography
Richard Norman Miller

Canadian composer and multi-instrumentalist RICK MILLER made his debut effort as a solo artist back in 1983 with the new age production Starsong, which shifted a highly respectable 30.000 units at the time. He would follow up this venture with Windhaven in 1987, and his efforts Interstellar Passage from 1998 and the EP No Passion, No Pain from 2009 would continue exploring similar musical territories.

But after honing his craft working at Sound Design Studios in Toronto throughout the 80's and 90's, Miller wanted to have a go at his true musical love as well, atmospheric progressive rock inspired by artists such as Pink Floyd, The Moody Blues and Steve Hackett.

This lead to a flurry of releases following the start of the millenium: The One (2003), Dreamtigers (2004), The End of Days (2006) and Angel of My Soul (2008). These efforts gave Miller a good reputation, and in 2009 he was signed by Canadian indie label Unicorn Records. His first release for this label was the 2009 effort Falling Through Rainbows.

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RICK MILLER discography


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RICK MILLER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 10 ratings
Starsong
1983
2.39 | 12 ratings
Interstellar Passage
1998
3.30 | 14 ratings
The One
2003
3.47 | 24 ratings
Dreamtigers
2004
3.59 | 22 ratings
The End of Days
2006
3.97 | 35 ratings
Angel of My Soul
2008
4.01 | 32 ratings
Falling Through Rainbows
2009
3.70 | 34 ratings
In the Shadows
2011
3.91 | 65 ratings
Dark Dreams
2012
3.93 | 44 ratings
Immortal Remains
2013
3.93 | 142 ratings
Heart of Darkness
2014
3.72 | 60 ratings
Breaking Point
2015
3.50 | 26 ratings
Delusional
2018

RICK MILLER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

RICK MILLER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

RICK MILLER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Rick Miller
2018

RICK MILLER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 3 ratings
Paradox - Electro Leftovers
1985
5.00 | 1 ratings
No Passion No Pain
2009

RICK MILLER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Dark Dreams by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.91 | 65 ratings

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Dark Dreams
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars 2012's 'Dark Dreams' saw a new flautist in Nancy Foote, but apart from that the line-up was the same as for 'In The Shadows'. From the very first song, 'Return To Uqbar' there is the impression that Miller is taking a step to move slightly out of his comfort zone. Although for the most part the Floydian and symphonic elements are still here, but here he is definitely pushing the boundaries of his own musical envelope, from the sue of middle eastern influences through to harsher guitar solos and a brooding darkness that sits underneath the music. There is a far greater sense of dynamics on this album, and I can see why it has gained more popularity among critics than the two albums which preceded it. Me, I thought they were incredible pieces of art as they were, and there was no need for change, but this allows the listener to hear a different side of Miller. As well as highly complex layers, he is also content here to put vocals against piano and cello in a way that is more reminiscent of acoustic and folk acts that someone who is generally thought of as being a crossover prog musician.

There is definitely a confidence in the album, as one would expect from someone who has been consistent both in his musical approach and in the personnel he has used on his albums, of which this was his ninth. As with his previous album, this was released in a gatefold sleeve with all the lyrics and an inner, just as if it had been put out on vinyl and been backed by a major record label. It certainly deserves that approach as yet again this is an album of real majestic symphonic melodic delight. I rarely see Rick's name mentioned on the multiple progressive groups I belong to, which is a massive oversight, as he has consistently produced wonderful albums which I can listen to repeatedly with great pleasure each and every time.

 In the Shadows by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.70 | 34 ratings

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In the Shadows
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars 2011's 'In The Shadows' saw Rick move to the Russian Mals label, but apart from that it was pretty much a continuation from the previous album, except he also brought in Barry Haggerty who provided both Telecaster and Les Paul guitars. One might expect a more dominant guitar performance from this, but musically this is a direct follow-on from the previous album. given that I loved 'Falling Through The Rainbows', that can only be a good thing as far as I am concerned! Yet again we have plenty of symphonic Floyd style influences, mixed with elements of cat Stevens and Alan Parsons. These are relaxed songs with vocals at the centre, as opposed to long instrumental workouts. Those looking for lengthy guitar histrionics or shredding will have to look elsewhere, as this is all about albums that are reflective, with a fragility that makes them feel like a spider's web in the rain.

Incredibly melodic, there are times when the flute and mellotron combine to make me think of a fresh summer's day, and Rick's gentle vocals bring back memories of Greg Lake at his most pastoral.. There aren't too many harsh or heavy dynamics, and when the electric guitar is allowed some space it really does seem as if Gilmour is sat there with a smile on his face having fun. The complex layered arrangements, particularly among the vocals, may seem cloying and over the top to some, but to my ears it is absolutely perfect, and sat listening to this in the dark of the night seems the absolutely perfect time to be doing so. I sit here listening to this on repeat, nice large gin and tonic in hand, and have a great big smile on my face as it such a perfect album in oh so many ways.

 Falling Through Rainbows by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.01 | 32 ratings

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Falling Through Rainbows
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Rick Miller, in my opinion, must be one of the most under-rated and unknown artists within the progressive scene, yet this Canadian has been releasing complex and wonderful albums since his debut in 1983, although he really hit his stride with his third, 'The One', in 2003. Since then he has released albums on a fairly regular basis, and this was his seventh, released in 2009. All songs were written, arranged, produced and performed by Rick (along with guests on flute, drums, cello, violin and additional guitars), who also provided all the artwork for good measure.

In many ways this is classic Floyd, yet more angular, with guitars that can be both strident and delicately picked, and vocals that are harmonic and multi-layered. I was watching a cartoon yesterday with my granddaughter (yes, I really am that old ' that's what happens when you've been writing about prog for nearly 30 years), and the main theme was that if you were angry then you should take a breath, count to four, and by the time you got to the last number you would be more relaxed. This album is just like that, as it slows everything down like classic Leon Redbone, mixing Floyd with Cat Stevens to provide a perfect Seventies album with Gilmour and Hillage-style guitars than one can drift away on.

This certainly doesn't sound like an album that has been produced in the last ten years, as it belongs in the mid Seventies before Punk had attempted to sweep all before it, and musicianship and reflection were allowed and indeed encouraged. There are just so many songs on here where one can imagine a sea of lighters in the audience (am I the only one thinking an iPhone app just isn't the same?). It is dreamy, it is glorious, and wraps around the listener like a warm blanket. This is comfort music, which keeps the evils of the world at bay and transports the listener to a world where it is all going to be okay. Absolutely glorious from the first measured note to the very last.

 Breaking Point by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.72 | 60 ratings

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Breaking Point
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by taylorm

3 stars Canadian musician and producer Rick Miller provides an intriguing addition to his catalogue of prog-orientated albums. Breaking Point skirts between various musical genres - from flat out cinematic instrumental compositions that could easily accompany the latest blockbuster release, through to Floydesque prog, replete with intense Gilmore style guitar solos. For some, this eclecticism could be off putting. The transition from the opening track's film-like soundscape to the subsequent onslaught of jangly brit-prog, for example, is abrupt and a little jarring. However, you can't make a prog omelette without breaking some eggs and I enjoyed the album's repeated change of pace and style. Tracks such as 'Suspirar' combine the best of spacey guitar-driven prog with the cinematic impulse beautifully, providing a pathway between the various elements. There is no doubt that in terms of the compositions, this is a top quality album with plenty of innovation. Lyrically, the tracks wander and there isn't a clear narrative progression. Instead the tracks invoke a series of reflections on darkness. 'White Dogs' certainly has a welcome poetic flourish, yet the potential for a stronger story-telling element to the album is lost. That said, when the instrumental sections are of this high a quality, much can be forgiven. Perhaps the only significant issue for this listener was the quality of the vocals when they do appear. Miller is an adept musical craftsman and performer, but a strong singer he is not. I felt that a number of production tricks were being used to cover over the rather mundane quality of the vocals and I wished he'd simply hired or borrowed a vocalist that could give the material the quality of delivery it merited. Recommended for those interested in the blurred boundaries between prog and cinematic music.
 Dark Dreams by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.91 | 65 ratings

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Dark Dreams
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by Progulator
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Two things should immediately catch your attention about Rick Miller's latest album, Dark Dreams. First, the really cool cover. I don't know what it is about this cover, I think somehow it kind of reminds me of watching The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe cartoon from when I was a kid; kind of a psychologically destroyed post-apocalyptic version of Aslan on the stone- table. But seriously, what really got me excited was Miller's references to Jorge Luis Borges, again! He's already paid plenty of tribute to Borges in the past with his album Dreamtigers and various Borges themed song titles, and what we get here is a fantastic opening track, "Return to Uqbar," which pays homage to the master of short story. Dark Dreams is a very relaxing and mostly satisfying album. I would describe it as symphonic prog with a strong new age vibe. The sound of the album is very thick and atmospheric. It is calming, but at the same time I feel like buried under much of the music is a certain level of distress or anxiety which keeps the album interesting. My only complaint about the record, overall, is that it seems to have its ups and downs as far as the compositions go. Some tracks are really fantastic, while others seemed to put me to sleep. Definitely an album worth checking out, especially if you're into Borges and Pink Floyd!
 Heart of Darkness by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.93 | 142 ratings

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Heart of Darkness
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Canadian composer and musician Rick MILLER has been an active recording musician for more than 30 years, and since the beginning of the 2000's he has steadily released studio albums where he explores his own particular brand of progressive rock. "Heart of Darkness" represents Miller's ninth foray into the progressive rock universe, and was released through the Russian label MALS Records in 2014.

Atmospheric laden, carefully performed progressive rock with ambient elements, folk-oriented details and a certain Pink Floyd vibe to it is the specialty of Canadian artist Rick Miller. At this stage of his recording career he has a sure hand in creating warm, melancholic and calming landscapes of that kind, occasionally twisting the knife to add undercurrents of a more threatening kind, but always going about in a careful, subtle and mostly non-dramatic manner. Fans of dark, atmospheric progressive rock should know their visiting time here, and as usual I'd recommend those who tend to enjoy 70's Pink Floyd to inspect the works of Rick Miller, if they haven't already done so.

 Heart of Darkness by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.93 | 142 ratings

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Heart of Darkness
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by Daggor

4 stars While my primary coverage is the metal side of the progressive world, occasionally I come across a progressive rock album that's so good that I have to cover it. For those of you that can't exist without distortion, feel free to tune out now, but for the rest, I implore you to read on. Rick Miller is a Canadian composer and recording artist. He's got a long career that I'm presently ignorant of, but after hearing his 2014 release Heart of Darkness, I could see that changing pretty quickly. Heart of Darkness combines rich and haunting ambient soundscapes with the instrumental strength of progressive rock. There's a fair comparison to a nightmarish Pink Floyd, or even, at times, a more song-oriented approach to horror soundtracks.

I came across Heart Of Darkness on bandcamp, and I was completely blown away by the strength of the atmosphere of the album. Being "dark" has been in vogue for progressive rock for quite some time, but to be honest, I've heard so much that it often comes off as pretty cheesy. Rick Miller manages to capture a bit of that noise that creeps in the night, but also presents it with the subtlety to fully enhance the effect, leaving plenty of contemplative open space in his music.

The opening track, "Heart of Darkness", is an incredibly potent hook for the album. It's slow, methodical, and even a bit tribal sounding with the pounding drums and flutes. What's remarkable is how the introduction manages to fuse this rather primal acoustic feeling with very new age synths, all the while making it sound very natural. This kind of unity is what keeps the album fresh and quite authentic. Miller's vocals create another valuable contrast to the music, because for as dark as the music is, the vocals aren't trying to enhance that atmosphere. Instead, they adopt a more dreamlike approach.

Perhaps this style of music is heavily directed at a very particular niche. For that niche however, it's absolutely wonderful. Heart of Darkness is a captivating ride in effective songwriting, as well as featuring particularly potent and extremely poetic lyrics. The power of this passage from "Blood Of The Rose" is particularly striking. "Stammering and staring, it was their last hour, a madness of farewells. A man who had given all other bliss, and all of his worldly worth for this, to waste his whole heart in one kiss, upon her perfect lips." I mean wow. If a dark progressive rock album, rich in phenomenal songwriting, and stark musical contrasts sounds appealing, you absolutely can't go wrong with Heart Of Darkness.

4.25 // 5

Originally posted at www.blackwindmetal.com

 Heart of Darkness by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.93 | 142 ratings

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Heart of Darkness
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Less than a year after I reviewed 'Immortal Remains', here I am writing about Rick's 2014 release 'Heart of Darkness'. This is his fourth in four years, and his ninth since 2003, but there is no sign at all of him having an issue with quality control, as this one is better than his last! This is an incredibly emotive album, extremely deep and full of passion, even when there are just a few instruments being used, as it is the arrangements that really make such a difference. Guitars can be duetting with the wonderful flute of Sarah Young (whose contribution to this album cannot be overstated), or there can be just gentle drums and keyboards, all I know is that I find myself drawn into the world that he is creating time and again. Some may say that there are elements reminiscent of classic Floyd or Camel, but I also found large elements of John 'Rabbit' Bundrick, especially his 'Moccassin Warrior' albums as the flute is often used more as a native instrument than as if it were being wielded by a bug-eyed one-legged madman.

My 17 year old got into the car the other day when this was playing, and her normal reaction is to grab the ipod and choose something that she wants instead (normally Bowling For Soup), but after a few minutes she actually turned up the volume and said "you know what, this isn't bad". High praise indeed from this teenager (even though her first ever gig, at the age of 9, was The Flower Kings where she actually sat on the corner of the stage). "Castle Walls" is simply a beautiful song, with wonderful orchestrated arrangement and acoustic guitar that allows Rick to sing his heart out. I keep being reminded of some of the classic Sixties pop numbers, and could imagine The Small Faces or Cat Stevens having a go at this.

There is no doubt that this is a great album, a real breakthrough in so many ways, and now all that is needed is for others to try it out for themselves. Although this has been released on CD by Mals (www.mals.ru), it is also available for streaming or download on Bandcamp so why not get over to rickmiller.bandcamp.com and give it a listen for yourself?

 The One by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.30 | 14 ratings

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The One
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars In 2003 the time for Rick Miller to enter the Prog Rock realm for good had come.He recorded and released the album ''The one'', where he handles all instruments and programming.Having known a lot of people around the Lakefield area, he was joined by several singers in this release.Not really pleased with the final result and its production, he put this album on sale for limited time, making it the rarest among Miller's album to be found.

I can see some flaws in the instrumental sounds, but the music is so good that the negative zone is covered by the refined melodies, the elaborate arrangements and the beautiful female voices that prevail in the album.The result is somewhere between STEVE HACKETT/MIKE OLDFIELD and the early works of IONA and MOSTLY AUTUMN, basically a melodic Symphonic Rock entry with lots of folky-inspired vocal tunes and plenty of orchestral midi-based instrumentation.Miller appears to be a trully talented composer and his only fault seems to be the somewhat thin keyboard parts of the album.Otherwise the listener will have to deal with some really emotional, dreamy and melodious musicianship in here, featuring imaginative guitar solos, smooth piano interludes and sonic soundscapes.There are still some more passionate moments with a bit of an edgier/dramatic guitar work, but the bulk follows a melodic, relaxed electric enviroment with plenty of OLDFIELD-ian atmospheres, while I guess I am not the only one to hear some Celtic inspirations in the ethereal female vocals of this work.Add some impressive symphonic textures in a bunch of tracks along with a deep, cinematic grandieur that characterizes this whole effort and you are pretty close to Miller's musical tendency in ''The one''.

As this is one of Miller's rather hard-to-find albums, be informed that most of this tunes are available in his ''Leftovers And bonus tracks'' bandcamp compilation.A work along the lines of KARANATAKA, IONA and STEVE HACKETT with light, symphonic elements and a strong sense of atmosphere.Warmly recommended.

 Heart of Darkness by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.93 | 142 ratings

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Heart of Darkness
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Through the murky fog, the drums pound into your head. Stumbling through the relentless jungle, the flute pierces through the blackness. Sweat. Tears. Heartache. Your breathing gets heavier and heavier, and your mind embarks on a trip into madness and sorrow. Your pulse races: Your tongue sticks to the roof of your mouth. Dehydration mixes with saturation to produce sheer misery. The drums pound in your skull: The rhythm entrances your soul.

That, my friends, is the experience of Rick Miller's "Heart of Darkness". Rick's newest album is a true experience for your senses and emotions. As you can tell from the dark evocation present in the sensual cover art, "Heart of Darkness" is mysterious and somehow lovely, too. It seems only thematically based on Joseph Conrad's novel of the same name, but really it could be a telling of the story from a purely emotional perspective. Anyways, one of the first things that struck me about this release is the quality of the lyrics, whether they be in song or in spoken poetry. The writing is, in a word, perfect. No cheese. No cliches. The album is full of memorable, haunting lines, and expressive word pictures that really create images in your mind. Be prepared, then, for an immersive experience.

Rick Miller is a busy musician with 9 releases since 2003. However, his music doesn't seem to get stale or played-out. His music is definitely based on a foundation of Pink Floyd, as the music a swirling mix of guitar solos, ambient keys, and atmosphere. I also seem to hear a good amount of the light airiness of of Steve Hackett's solo albums here, too, especially in Rick's vocal style. Into that mix, Rick has added ethnic and electronic touches to tailor "Heart of Darkness" to fit its theme. Pounding tribal drums interplay with exceptional flute passages and a thick, incense-laced atmosphere, and it's all so very enjoyable.

This album is all about contrast. Dark and light. High and Low. Organic and synthetic. Soaring guitars and shrill flutes pierce through the dank atmosphere and rhythmic drums. Electronic synth laces the tribal vocal harmonies, displaying a marriage of synthetic and organic. Surreal and stark, vague and frighteningly real. "Heart of Darkness" plays with your mind, all the while delighting you.

The album is also rather varied. From the nightmarish, ethnic "Heart of Darkness" to the soft, emotional pleas of "Blood of the Rose" and "Castle Walls" to the misty desolation of "The Dark Lady" and the blackened harmonies of "Come Summer, She Died"; this album is deeply inspired and forbiddingly poetic. "The Dark Lady" is my favorite track, and certainly my favorite track of 2014 thus far. It features incredible structure, mystery, and an awesome instrumental with an incredible guitar solo and synth performance.

If this is the way that 2014 is going to perform, bring it on! Rick Miller has scared me as much as he has delighted me in "Heart of Darkness", but that just shows his skill and maturity. He knows the type of music he wants to create, and he does it with gusto and inspiration. "Heart of Darkness", then, is the first masterpiece of 2014.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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