ROBERT MILES Organik (Salt)
ROBERT MILES Paths (Salt)
Robert Miles is likely to remain forever famous for creating one of the most popular dance tracks of all time, the plastic piano Italian house article "Children", which, depending on what you read/believe, was inspired either by photographs taken by his father of child victims of war-torn Yugoslavia or the road accident deaths of Italian clubbers, forced to drive great distances across country to attend raves. "Organik" promises to be something distinctly different, given the list of guesting jazz and world music personalities prominently posted on the cover, which includes Trilok Gurtu, Bill Laswell and Nitin Sawhney. But, to ears unimpressed by Miles' music in the past, "Organik" comes across as nothing but teeth-itchingly, timestretchingly dull. There might be a vaguely Eastern lilt to the album, but for the depressing majority of its hour-plus duration it plods, the listener slowly sinking in an aural mudpit until he or she represents the fossilised, mummified figure on the album's front cover. There's one chink of quite-goodness in this otherwise unrelenting blanket of brown: "Paths", wisely chosen as the album's first single, at least has some vocals to latch on to (although the rather fine female singer remains frustratingly uncredited: only on the single is her identity, Nina Miranda, revealed). But otherwise, no thanks.
In the interests of journalistic balance I passed "Organik" around some friends who, although not exactly giddily uncritical fans of Miles' oeuvre, at least had bought some of his previous albums, and their response was much the same as mine, one dismissing it as 'shopping muzak'. But at least I tried to find somebody who liked it.
As noted above, "Paths" is one of the album's sturdier tracks, and one of its more obvious singles. It isn't hardy enough to withstand the barrage of editing and remixing to which it's subjected to when it goes it alone, however, the result emerging as a very long way to spend 15 minutes.