WELCOME TO ZERO GRAVITY
Why should we be intrigued by Millennium? Well for starters, how often do you come across someone who looks like Vin Diesel but has a voice like Justin Timerblake? Okay, that's a little eery. Now imagine he's accompanied by a sweet, blue-haired Asian anime. Alright, getting stranger by the second. But should this be sufficient to earn our curiosity? Absolutely not. Truthfully, the real reason to be intrigued by Millennium is simply their music. In an era of corporate shrink-wrapped product, Millennium stands out like deranged anti-heroes. First, Stryker and Sapphire write, compose and produce all of their own songs and make no apologies about leaning away from artists who don't do the same. They've turned down opportunities to write for some major-label artists. According to Stryker, "When I was growing up, there was no term singer-songwriter. That's because the artist was the songwriter, singer and producer. Fans could connect with that." The second reason to be intrigued by Millennium is the fact that both are classically trained musicians with a true love of music. Studying voice, piano, cello, and bass guitar for years tends to give one appreciation for different musical styles, as well as valuable perspective on songwriting.
Thirdly, Stryker and Sapphire are not teenage rubber people singing about things they couldn't possibly understand or have any connection to. Both possess some life experience and have something to say about it through their music. As a result, their songs convey unmistakeable soul and integrity, going against the grain of today's pop music in a major way. So how might this duo be the release valve for a generation's suppressed creativity?
Let's back up. Stryker and Sapphire met a few years ago at their workplace. At the time, Stryker was deep in his solo project recording his fourth album and still searching for his voice. He's since retained ten copies of each of those albums in a safe and utterly refuses to let them see the light of day. That's just the kind of obsessive perfectionist he is. Sapphire on the other hand brought a carefree, whimsical attitude to his musical world, as well as much-needed female intuition. Stryker began playing her more of his songs and she was increasingly struck by his songwriting and melodic instincts. She helped him to smooth out his rough edges one bar and lyric at a time. Soon, the duo was heading into the studio to begin work on their first album together. Along the way, numerous people invariably sought to reduce the group to something resembling the status quo. This resulted in more than a fair share of course deviations and bittersweet partings. In the end, it seemed to be sheer stubbornness that defined Millennium- a gut level refusal to let go of their artistic integrity in the midst of a black hole that seemed intent on sucking it away at every turn.
Fast forward two years and Millennium is finally putting the finishing touches on their debut album 'Fusion', aptly titled for the intense process of fusing different musical styles into something coherent and energetically balanced. The resulting album defies easy classification, with songs in a range of genres from electronic dance music, pop rock and funk to reggae. What shines through, however, is the integrity and uncompromising quality of each song. Surprisingly, the first single Millennium chose to release is ‘When We Walk In The Place’, an up-tempo dance track about letting go of insecurity and embracing one’s own personal style. Perhaps its a healthy sign that the duo does not wish to come out of the gates taking themselves too seriously. However, it proves to be a thin veil for the outstanding quality of such songs as 'Roll', 'All Grown Up' and 'Goodbye', as well as songs that just need to be jammed at high volume, such as "Sunset To Sunrise', 'Jealousy' and 'You Can't Stop Us'.
If you've grown weary of the creative black hole in pop music today, you may just find cause for hope with Millennium. The fact that this is Stryker's fifth album (a point he will consistently deny) and the only one he felt worthy of releasing should also tell you something. Upon listening to the new album, it immediately becomes apparent what that is. The duo's unabashed love of music and integrity shines through in every song, their voices conveying worlds of emotion, pulling listeners from the event horizon of despair to a place of zero gravity. 'Fusion' achieves its goal, returning to fans something that has long been missing - a reason to fall in love with music again.