Release Date: Mar 5, 2013
Record label: Loma Vista Recordings / Republic
Genre(s): Electronic, Downtempo, Pop/Rock, Indie Electronic, Alternative R&B
Rhye are Canadian singer-songwriter Michael Milosh and Danish producer-songwriter Robin Hannibal – but you'd be forgiven for thinking their debut was the new Sade LP. Milosh's androgynous voice bears a startling resemblance to that of the lite-soul queen, and he uses it deliciously, unspooling sultry whispers and coos over chill soul-jazz and r&b grooves draped in strings, harps, flutes and flugelhorns. The result is like a drag show on the S.S.
A thought: If youthful rebellion is a core value of rock n roll, then just what are today’s youngsters to do, when those that they are meant to be rebelling against refused to grow up themselves? One option would be to enthusiastically embrace that which the previous generation abhorred for its supposed blandness. It wasn’t so long ago when calling someone a Sade fan was somehow a fouler insult than any manner of expletive, and yet here we are, facing an unlikely resurgence of Ms Adu’s trademark pristine coffee table soul, with the hotly tipped likes of Jessie Ware turning it into the hip sound of 2012-3 (an odd trend which itself follows the even weirder trend of 2011; now known in musical circles as the year of the sax as Destroyer, Planningtorock et al practically banished any memories of Kenny G and those Moods compilations for good). Or it could be that the success of those artists is entirely built on appealing to an adult audience (after all, grown-ups are apparently the only people who still buy records these days).
RhyeWoman[Republic / Innovative Leisure; 2013]By Will Ryan; March 8, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGWoman opens with the sound of blossoming strings, brass, woodwinds, and harp before settling and moving into the main body of "Open." The album that follows takes freely from a classic-leaning strain of quieted early 90s soul. Rhye, and especially singer Mike Milosh's voice, garnered immediate and accurate comparisons to Sade since anonymously releasing "Open" on Youtube. But there's a minimal, unfussy approach to Woman and a devotion to its subject matter that help bring the record starkly into the present.
Rhye's short history is marked by serendipity and mystery. A couple of years ago, after being tapped by Hannibal's Copenhagen-based electronic group Quadron, producer/vocalist Mike Milosh flew to Denmark to work with the group and they hit it off. Eventually, Quadron producer Robin Hannibal moved to L.A. in pursuit of a woman, and Milosh coincidentally relocated there as well, and started his own serious relationship (which has since evolved into a marriage) before they reconnected musically.
Neither a mononym nor a singular woman, Rhye is a promising collaboration between Toronto singer/producer Mike Milosh and Robin Hannibal of Danish electro-soul outfit Quadron. The downy-soft R & B/soul duo—who now reside in Los Angeles—bonded two years ago when Milosh was asked to remix a Quadron tune. The corporeal music on their debut album, Woman, falls in the tradition of candlelit singers such as Anita Baker and Sade.
L.A. duo Rhye follows up on the promise of singles “Open” and “The Fall” with their debut album, Woman, which exudes all the mystery and sex appeal that’s surrounded the band’s ambiguous Internet presence. The songs are diverse, but simultaneously never stray from the album’s overall aesthetic focus: The common thread of the Hall and Oates-esque “Last Dance,” the discofied “3 Days,” and the lingering, sax-laden “One of Those Summer Days,” arguably the three most divergent tracks on the album, is lead singer Mike Milosh’s captivating, intimate voice, which is oddly reminiscent of Sade’s.
When mysterious duo Rhye began posting their music online, comparisons to the likes of Sade and Tracey Thorn led to assumptions that singer was a female. While the band have now revealed themselves as Copenhagen producer Robert Hannibal and Toronto producer/vocalist Mike Milosh, it's an understandable misconception. Milosh's vocals are perfectly androgynous: while he sings of love, tears and existential yearning, often his echoey, honeyed voice becomes not so much a vocal but another instrument or layer in a beguiling tapestry of sound.
In 2010, Mike Milosh flew to Denmark to work on a Quadron remix with that duo's Robin Hannibal. The collaboration grew into another duo, named Rhye, which released two singles on Innovative Leisure in 2012. Milosh and Hannibal weren't forthcoming about being behind the achingly romantic soul-pop elegance of "Open" and "The Fall." Once word got out, it seemed forehead-smacking obvious to anyone familiar with Milosh's solo albums and Hannibal's many involvements, Quadron included.
You would be forgiven if Rhye's Woman immediately brings to mind Quadron's self-titled 2009 album, with both sharing similar usage of ethereal synth pads, sparse percussion and a smooth soprano voice. Many of those similarities are due to Robin Hannibal's presence in both duos. Toronto, ONs Mike Milosh (the other half of Rhye) acts as the crisp, ambient voice in the forefront throughout the album.
Robin Hannibal and Mike Milosh are the duo which forms Rhye, who already seem to be one of the most talked-about acts of 2013. The pair are label mates on Plug Research, a Los Angeles label that’s home to artists including Bilal, Flying Lotus and Daedelus. Hannibal and Milosh have only recently revealed themselves to be the musicians behind Rhye. Initially, it was unclear whether the mysterious act were a collective band or simply just a solo singer.
There's a lot to like in the debut album from pop duo Rhye, but most alluring of all is singer Mike Milosh's remarkable voice. The multi-instrumentalist Toronto native sings in a steady, slightly husky falsetto that sounds as assured as it does vulnerable. It seems to rise and fall in a single note and defies gender categorization. The ambiguity adds a level of intoxicating mystery to the straightforward, wine-and-dine romance of Woman, his debut LP with Danish producer Robin Hannibal.
Rhye’s full-length debut begins as sensually as ends: with luscious strings, soft synthesizers and singer Chris Milosh’s androgynous falsetto coos. Woman is replete with soulful harmonies and low-key grooves that caress like sheets of silk against smooth skin. It’s some pretty sexy stuff, a fact undiminished by one of the songs (‘Open’) appearing in a Victoria’s Secret commercial.
In the musical We Will Rock You, based on the compositions of Queen, “The Seven Seas of Rhye” is where the castigated Bohemians are sent after the evil Khashoggi brainwashes them. The character Scaramouche, a woman, becomes incensed when Galileo, a man, suggests she can’t go to “…Rhye” to perform a rescue because of her gender. By the end of the saga, this ends up negligible and Scaramouche becomes the hero and she and Galileo fall in love.
Rhye is a jet-setting collaboration, the work of Denmark’s Robin Hannibal and Canada’s Mike Milosh. Hannibal has recorded albums as part of Quadron, a Danish group that favors the swing of ‘60s soul – often updated with synthesizers or augmented with minimal string arrangements – and a lusher set of R&B sounds – Quadron has covered Michael Jackson’s “Baby Be Mine” and collaborated with Leon Ware, a master of sexually-expressive, heavily orchestrated funk like Marvin Gaye’s I Want You and Ware’s own Musical Massage. Milosh is no stranger to this style, since he has also released some slinky electronic R&B music on the same label as Quadron.
The Brit Awards were rightly criticised for being as edgy as a roundabout, but there are many ‘alternative’ artists who are every bit as anaemic as Emeli Sandé. ‘Woman’ by Canadian/Danish duo Rhye has all the hallmarks of a hipster essential (black’n’white artwork, R&B influences) but the majority of it could just as easily appeal to those who buy Downton Abbey box-sets. Mike Milosh possesses a remarkable voice, notably on ‘The Fall’, but the most interesting thing about it is that it comes from someone with an Adam’s apple.
When “Open” emerged early last year, it was the only thing concrete about the enigmatic Rhye, a neo-soul outfit cloaked in anonymity. It was a first impression, providing a window into the psyche of something that was rife with potential. “Open” is a minimalistic tour de force, glimmering with a subtle, sexual energy. Within its delicate, satin folds lies a song about love at its purest; passions and pain rendered in the cadence of a lullaby.
With Frank Ocean levels rising in the mainstream, it’s no surprise that the underground is already flooded in R&B experiments. Los Angeles has been deep and diverse with the stuff: There’s the neon future soul of Dam-Funk, the ’90s freestyle séances of Nite Jewel, and (most recently) the pitch-perfect Quiet Storm forecasts of Inc. The debut from the once-anonymous LA duo of Rhye — Danish electro-soul producer Robin Hannibal and Canadian vocalist-producer Mike Milosh — floats with ease on this wave.
As improbable as it sounds, Rhye is in actual fact the collaboration between two separately smitten men: androgynous Toronto-based vocalist Mike Milosh and Danish multi-instrumentalist Robin Hannibal of the group Quadron. But who knew? Like many, you probably assumed Milosh’s soft, stirring coos on love and sensuality, laconic and poignant like Sade’s or Feist’s, could only have come from the female lips.Emerging at the start of 2012, Rhye’s intense, morning-after love songs immediately stood out as phenomenal, fully-formed odes to late night infatuation. Thrust into the limelight with an anonymous aesthetic, no one had a clue as to their identities.
Rhye makes brave music. It takes guts to be this open, the L.A. duo paneling its debut album with grayscale close-ups of unabashed sexuality. Toronto-born Mike Milosh unravels a feathery, helium croon. Sometimes you need to sing like a girl to get a point across, and Milosh's point is deliberate ….