Meander Scars by Gavin Miller (with Aaron Martin) / by Sergio Díaz De Rojas

By Blake Parker


Meander Scars strikes instantly with a feeling of deep archaic roots. Guitar strings are strummed, and their vibrations ring out over a mild glow of background synthesizer and echo with such cavernous beauty it seems ancient. As the music grows, the listener finds themselves feeling almost out of place, like they are peeking into the private lives of the gods that shaped this earth, views of their tinkerings and bumblings about seeming undeserved, even stolen from the universe.

Perhaps that is a little dramatic. But the sounds of Meander Scars are themselves bathed in drama and emotion. The album was not, in fact, composed or performed by the makers of the world, but by Gavin Miller, with the feature of Aaron Martin on four of the eight tracks – or rather, one of the two versions of the four-movement composition the album presents. It is unsurprising that such intensely rich and dusty music would come from Miller, a musician wearing various hats from one half of the duo Worriedaboutsatan to writer of Drowned in Sound. In this particular offering of songs however, Miller sheds some of the preconceived sounds from his previous solo works and allows a gorgeous pairing of acoustics and electronics to come to life like a dance, with the guitar and other acoustic elements leading the motions.

Much of the album brings to mind the bleak-but-beautiful desert sounds of José González, the peacefully unstructured meanderings in musical thought of Brian Eno’s “Music for Airports,” and tip-of-the-tongue familiarity to the feeling of a well scored cinematic experience, perhaps set in the American West. The music of Meander Scars weaves these and other ineffable elements into an intelligent and supremely wonderful sound. Decisively, this release accomplishes something difficult to describe but easily considered amazing.