Blake Mills accomplished a sleight of hand on Look, his 2018 album, by processing layers of guitars through vintage Roland synthesizers. “[Look] has more guitar on it than any other record I’ve made, but for people who care about that, it’s going to be so disappointing when they hear how un-guitar-y it is,” he told Pitchfork that year. As a producer and session musician, Mills specializes in this sort of nimble technical magic, sculpting the instrumental curves of albums like Perfume Genius’ No Shape, Alabama Shakes’ Sound & Color, and John Legend’s Darkness and Light.
“Vanishing Twin,” the first cut from Mills’ forthcoming LP Mutable Set, lands between the aquatic layers of Look and his earlier two solo albums of singer-songwriter material. Though Mills co-wrote the song with Cass McCombs, its individual pieces—hushed murmurs, a fluid little melody, airy swipes of strings and sax—bear Mills’ subtle touch and even keel. The compounded whole offers the all-encompassing warmth of sinking into an oversize couch for a nap, while displaying his ache for a distant connection in its slow-moving strokes. “Concealed between the flashing screens/there is a beam of love supreme,” he sings, offering a tempting invitation to step into the glowing void. Mills once again re-shapes the idea of what a singer-songwriter record “should” sound like. It feels good to disappear into something so gentle for a while.
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