Miles Matrix (aka Misha Verollet) is a retro producer from Vienna, Austria. Since 2018 he has explored the far edges of what it means to create authentic retro vibes by fusing together synthwave, chillwave, and vaporwave. His latest release “French Riviera” fully embodies something from each of these genres.
On the cover is a giant neon wave framed by yellow 1980s style abstract art. As I close my eyes to think about it, this image is oddly welcoming and warm. It reminds me of summery sunsets, sand between my toes, and the smell of sunscreen. I was born in Okinawa in the eighties, so as you can imagine I spent a good deal of my time growing up on the beach. Ah…memories.
“French Riviera” is the kind of music that is best experienced with a cocktail in one hand, the wind in your face, and the lights dimmed. There’s a certain romantic feel to this music that makes me want to cuddle up with my significant other and just talk about how things used to be. Generally, “French Riviera” is Matrix’s least synthwavy release, as he decides to fully lean in on his chillwave roots. I think that this is a very good decision as he has created a divergent album within his body of work.
Production wise “French Riviera” almost sounds like vaporwave. I say this because the album is very minimal in terms of how many elements of music are occurring at once. This isn’t a release that creates a wall of sound with synths. Instead it uses sparse minimalism unto which Matrix fully explores each sound in his music carefully. “French Riviera” is simultaneously both wet and dry…much like a beach. Mr. Matrix makes some really good decisions with the subtle use of reverb—which he uses to create a dreamy illusion that makes you feel like you’re underwater somewhere in the Côte d’Azur itself.
While the percussion in “French Riviera” often blends into the background, Matrix gives vibrant character to his drums when it’s essential. This is accomplished via liberal use of Roland CR-8000 samples. There’s nothing quite like a CR-8000 cowbell, and his track “Waves” puts it front and center. Personally speaking, I prefer the tone of the TR-707 or LM-1 bank of sounds myself, but I think that the lightness of the CR-8000 contextually fits really well within the overarching concept of what Matrix is doing here.
Overall, “French Riviera” is a fantastic dreamy voyage. This is a wonderful summer release, and well worth your time. It has a lot of replay value and it authentically helped to calm my nerves today. It’s been a tough week so far but Miles was there with his calming vibes to help me get through. Please check this one out!
RECOMMENDED FOR: Folks who want to chillout, zone out, and close their eyes. If you’re looking for a summertime escape, “French Riviera” is the ticket.
Stand-Out Tracks: “Cloudburst” (what a vibe), “Last Days of Summer” (the best track on the album), “Waves,” “French Riviera,” “Palm Trees & Calm Seas.” (love the horns on this track).
Album Color Profile: #F1C40F
You can find everything Miles Matrix at https://milesmatrix.bandcamp.com/