Nick Millevoi – Numbers On The Side (2014)

Philadelphia guitarist Nick Millevoi has chops to spare, evident when he’s playing in bands like Many Arms, Deveykus, Form and Mess or Haitian Rail. For his own solo records, Millevoi takes a different tact in making music, devising songs out of thin air and presenting endless possibilities of timbres that can wrung from a lone guitar. His third such release Numbers On The Sides is best thought of as a continuation of In White Sky (2012), whereby Millevoi wrings odd sonorities and carries out unusual strategies on a solo, six-string electric guitar.

There are just three tracks, of diminishing length, and each an entity onto itself. These performances aren’t so much songs as they’re sonic sculptures. And like a sculpture in the making, it’s impossible to know in the beginning what it’s supposed to look like as a finished product but over time, the curtain is slowly pulled back, revealing the intended outcome. Put another way, these pieces go down a path of evolution.

Two thirds of the album is consumed by “Howling After The Endless Tandem Suns,” which has just two ingredients: feedback and reverberating chords. Millevoi strums chords every so often and let them sustain a while. The last chord he strums goes on for some ten minutes, and that’s when it starts to get really interesting: the feedback and white noise drone mutate, melt and degrade in a hypnotic way. Heavy metal minimalism at its finest.

“Where Is The Crime?” consists of scraping strings up and down, eventually making a crashing sound at the end of every run up the neck. Feedback becomes a bigger and bigger component and by the end, those crashes overwhelm the glides up the strings and it’s the sound of calamity itself. The high-pitched sounds Millevoi creates for “Rockets Redglare” resembles a flock of birds being tortured.

Like all Nick Millevoi albums, it won’t work if you’re approaching it with any preconceptions about what music is supposed to be. By using noise as a source for shaping sonic art, Numbers On The Sides challenges the listener and if the listener chooses to accept it on those terms, it’s as fascinating as it gets coming from a lone electric guitar.

Numbers On The Sides is now available for sale via Bandcamp. BUY IT HERE.

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Catch Nick Millevoi on stage at these dates and places:

April 16 – Pittsburgh, PA – Garfield Artworks
April 18 – Detroit, MI – Trinosophes
April 19 – Chicago, IL – Elastic Arts
April 20 – Lafayette, IN – Black Sparrow Pub
April 21 – Columbus, OH – The Summit
April 22 – Yellow Springs, OH – Vitruvian Brewing Co.
April 24 – Erie, PA – Basement Transmissions
April 25 – State College, PA – Webster’s Books
April 26 – Philadelphia, PA – Pageant Gallery
April 28 – New York, NY – Webster Hall

*all dates with Eric Carbonara except April 28

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is a CPA and mid-level data analyst for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. Contact him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews.com.