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If you haven’t heard of the musician and producer Max Mileski, don’t feel bad. I hadn’t either until a couple of weeks ago, but I did start listening to his music a few weeks before that. It started out when I was delivering Readers to the Electric Fetus and saw a new CD. I always pick up free CDs from the entryway rack by all of the flyers if I see some. I was rather intrigued when I got to the Reader office and found that someone had already dropped off the same CD in our mail slot. I was even more interested because while there was a website on the two track CD, there was absolutely no information about who made it.
I became even more curious when two more CDs with just a couple of songs on them showed up at the office. Still, there was no information on who was giving me these CDs with no nonsense plain cardboard packaging which only had a sticker saying the titles of the tracks and a website that had no information on it.
After four of these mystery CDs, things started to connect. I finally got a full length album titled Elan Vital under the band name Sadkin, which is ultimately Max Mileski. It wasn’t more than a week later that I interviewed the group Dance Attic and he was the person who mastered their album. I don’t know everyone who plays music in the Twin Ports, but this Mileski guy is putting out well produced music and mixing and mastering people’s albums and I’m just now hearing about him? Finally, while I was out at Homegrown, I got the chance to meet this elusive Mileski character. Rather than focus on a review, I’m going to just introduce him because it’s likely that he’ll be working with music quite a bit in the Twin Ports.
First off, Mileski is a pretty talented multi-instrumentalist and sound engineer. The production of the albums he gave me is tight and it’s rather impressive that he took pretty much everything on himself in his latest releases. Mileski makes the blend of guitar, keys, bass, drums, layers of vocals, and putting it all together to recordings seem effortless. A common mistake with people self producing and going at it alone is not being fully honest with themselves and getting a little lazy. It’s obvious Mileski has done this before, and more than a few times.
I didn’t find it surprising that Mileski’s decision to get back into music was due to being around what I call the "Beaner’s Crew." Owner, Jason Wussow and many of the artists who have played that venue are about a supportive as it gets. Mileski moved up to the area from the Twin Cities over ten years ago and gradually built himself back up with his musical endeavors. “I wasn’t involving myself much with music until recently,” said Mileski. “Jason Wussow was integral in getting me back involved with music…I had stopped doing music for a period of time and I thought I was going to escape on a sailboat and leave Duluth, but I stayed and along that process I started pulling out instruments again from the attic an pulling out recording gear.”
Mileski said that with the four two track CDs he wanted to create “bread crumbs” or a way to slowly make people familiar with his music. Nearly five years ago his journey back into music from a recording standpoint was when he worked on one of the One Week Live albums that is recorded at Beaner’s every year. He worked with some musicians out of LA who were in the area for awhile and went on to work with the local band Space Carpet on bass, which got him playing live again.
As far as the latest recordings go, I found Mileski’s sound to be indie-rock with a European pop backbone. It carries a thematic feel without being heavy, the vocal melodies are clean and deliberate, and the instrument side also stays tight and more on the studio side more than what you’d expect from a stage performance. Mileski confirmed that a lot of his influences are in fact from Europe. Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, as well as a band called James are a few other acts that Mileski has drawn off of.
While there are no plans set in stone as of yet for playing live, Mileski hopes to join with the likes of bass player Ethan Thompson and local musician, Hattie Peterson, to perhaps play a few songs at KUWS for the Walt Dizzo show sometime in the future. On top of doing recording for Beaner’s, Dance Attic, and his own project, Sadkin, Mileski has also done some work for the Brazilian style jazz group Tender Ness, which for some reason makes me think of Don Ness, but I don’t think that was their intention.
For more information on Mileski and his music, as well as potentially getting his services as a sound engineer, visit www.sadkinsound.com. Mileski feels that he will continue to stay in the area and pursue his new found love for music, so keep an eye out.