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RICK MILLER

Crossover Prog • Canada


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Rick Miller biography
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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Falling Through RainbowsFalling Through Rainbows
Import
Imports 2010
Audio CD$13.52
$13.11 (used)
In The ShadowsIn The Shadows
Mals Limited
Audio CD$26.59
The End Of DaysThe End Of Days
Mals Limited
Audio CD$26.59
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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 | 6 ratings
Starsong
1983
2.32 | 9 ratings
Interstellar Passage
1998
3.17 | 10 ratings
The One
2003
3.49 | 16 ratings
Dreamtigers
2004
3.52 | 14 ratings
The End of Days
2006
3.89 | 27 ratings
Angel of My Soul
2008
3.56 | 20 ratings
Falling Through Rainbows
2009
3.30 | 23 ratings
In the Shadows
2011
3.76 | 56 ratings
Dark Dreams
2012
3.86 | 28 ratings
Immortal Remains
2013
3.79 | 99 ratings
Heart of Darkness
2014

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

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
No Passion No Pain
2009

RICK MILLER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Heart of Darkness by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.79 | 99 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.

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 Heart of Darkness by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.79 | 99 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

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 Heart of Darkness by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.79 | 99 ratings

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Heart of Darkness
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

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?

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 The One by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.17 | 10 ratings

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The One
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

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.

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 Heart of Darkness by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.79 | 99 ratings

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Heart of Darkness
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams

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.

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 Immortal Remains by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.86 | 28 ratings

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Immortal Remains
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Canadian composer and musician Rick MILLER has a career in music that stretches back to the early 80's, specializing in ambient, new age tinged music back then. From 2003 and onwards he started to explore the progressive rock universe, and has released eight full length albums of this kind since then. "Immortal Remains" is the most recent of these, and was issued by the Russian label MALS Records in 2013.

Rick Miller appears to have developed his particular take of progressive rock one step closer to perfection on "Immortal Remains". Careful, subtle and dark music, with a likely foundation in late 70's Pink Floyd of the more accessible kind, where he conjures dark and reassuring moods on one hand and more unnerving ones on the other. Smooth in execution, and without any dramatic effects as such, an album to seek out by those who prefer music made and performed with a gentle, delicate touch.

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 Immortal Remains by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.86 | 28 ratings

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Immortal Remains
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars This is my first experience of Canadian composer and multi-instrumentalist Rick Miller, but he made his debut with 'Starsong' as long ago as 1983, at which time he managed to sell 30,000 units. He followed it up with 'Windhaven' in 1987, but then there was quite a gap until 'Interstellar Passage' in 1998. But, in 2003 he really hit the ground running, and this is his eighth album since then. I am at a loss to explain how he managed to stay off my radar for so long as this album is a sheer delight, and if the others are of this quality then I definitely want to hear more. This is real crossover prog, with a refusal to stay within any one genre as he brings in psych, Floydian prog, crunching guitars, plenty of space, bongos and so much more.

Rick describes the album himself as "The music is soft, dark and melancholy because that's the way I like it. This particular album is rather angry and even darker than my previous ones, so if you're looking for a pick me up, you'd best look elsewhere.." For me it works just fine, with some beautiful Gilmour style guitar offset by delicate acoustic guitar and piano. There is a great deal of space in the music, with Rick's vocals quite laid back, and there is no hurry, no pace. It is music for a sunny afternoon when it is possible just to lay back and let it all soak in. He has used guest musicians here and there, and it is a wonderfully arranged album where he uses additional instrumentation and orchestration incredibly well. But, "My Atom Heart" is basically Rick's voice and some reverb and it is simply stunning.

Why not pop over to Bandcamp and give this album a listen, and if you get the physical copy you will get an additional song. This is album is a sheer delight and has been a joy to listen to, now how often do I say that about prog? www.mals.ru

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 Dark Dreams by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.76 | 56 ratings

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Dark Dreams
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Canadian artist, composer and musician Rick MILLER is among the veterans of the Canadian music scene, with a recording career that goes all the way back to 1983. "Dark Dreams" is his ninth full-length studio production, and was released by the Russian label MALS Records in the spring of 2012.

Gentle, subtly brooding progressive rock with distinct similarities to 70's Pink Floyd in sound is Canadian artist Rick Miller's specialty, and on "Dark Dreams" he's created perhaps his most enticing album of this kind so far. Sporting arrangements of a somewhat more refined nature than previously, it is a CD that should please all existing fans and one that merits a check by followers of the aforementioned Pink Floyd.

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 Dark Dreams by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.76 | 56 ratings

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Dark Dreams
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Dark Dreams' - Rick Miller (7/10)

Canadian multi-instrumentalist Rick Miller has always been one for mellow music. Beginning his work in the eighties with the new age record "Starsong", Rick has gone on to make a series of albums, often drawing comparisons to the work of Pink Floyd, and for good reason. "Dark Dreams" is another warming addition to this saga, capitalizing on his soulful guitar style and artistic maturity.

The comparisons to Pink Floyd are well founded, although I think I would take it one step closer and liken Miller's work to Floyd guitarist David Gilmour's solo career, particularly "On An Island". The music here is fleshed out with atmosphere, built around melancholic songwriting, and brought to life through Miller's lead guitar, of which listeners will hear much of. Although his voice is somewhat plain, Rick uses it well, and his songwriting- often graced with satirical lyrics- works with his subdued vocal approach. Like many other, more laid-back vocalists in prog rock- notably Steven Wilson- Rick Miller distinguishes his vocal talent through beautiful vocal harmonies. The key to his talent lies in the guitar, however. Although much of the album's forty-five minutes is allocated to the more structured elements of his songwriting, he never forgets to give some breathing room for his guitar, home to some of the most tasteful soloing I've heard in a while.

Above all, I may be most impressed by the way Miller has produced his work. After having worked in a recording studio for some time, it's clear that this experience has translated well in his work, resulting in a gorgeous sound for "Dark Dreams". With particular regards to his vocal harmonies, Rick's ear for mixing is spot-on. Of course- much like the songwriting- the sound of "Dark Dreams" sticks itself within a fairly tight room. Barring the ethnic ambiance that bookends the record, listeners can expect to hear a fairly straightforward course of melancholic rock, rarely deviating from the slow to mid-tempo pace. For the intents of a 'chill out' album, "Dark Dreams" does not suffer loss, but it would have been nice to hear Rick Miller's artistic vision broadened. His talent and skill of engineering is very evident, but the sense of restraint is never broken.

Needless to say, fans of David Gilmour's solo work will love what Rick Miller offers; Rick certainly delivers many of the same traits and qualities that make the former such an icon. "Dark Dreams" rarely leaps out or seeks to surprise, but it creates a warm, welcoming atmosphere for one to sit down and relax to, and I think that's what Miller set out to do all along.

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 In the Shadows by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.30 | 23 ratings

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In the Shadows
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

3 stars Rick does it again, brings us accessible symphonic (but not Symphonic enough to be in S. Prog category) backed songs that are simply beautiful. Indeed, that's the word to describe them, because of how smoothly they flows, how you can close your eyes and let it take you down the stream of this Prog river. However, in this lies a problem, most of these songs are of a typical composition - piano, vocals, symphonic backing (e.g. - the songs simply sounds too much alike). But I suppose that's inevitable in this kind of music. At least "In the Shadows" is instantly recognizable.

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Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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