Album Review: "Buena Vista" by Miles Matrix

Miles Matrix's debut album entitled "Buena Vista" is an excellent throwback to '80s soundscapes and retro feels....

May 27, 2019

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Buena Vista by Miles Matrix

A little about Miles Matrix:

    Hailing from Vienna, Austria, Miles Matrix has released several singles throughout 2018 and 2019, finally dropping his debut album Buena Vista on May 17th, 2019.  If you are familiar with his work, you will know that Miles possesses impressive skill with instrumentals, and began by mixing in his own haunting vocals with said compositions. Self-taught with no background in music theory, he wrote, produced and mixed all the tracks on this album in his living room. Mastering was done by Stefan Noltemeyer (who has done work with acts such as Sven Väth and Paul Van Dyk).

Miles Matrix

    As Miles progressed in his musical work, he decided to begin focusing more on instrumentals, thus this album is predominantly that, with just 2 tracks containing vocals (Stay a While, Stay Forever! and Enemy Mine).  His inspirations for the album came from '80s movie soundtracks, video games, and artists such as Jean-Michel Jarre, John Carpenter, Vangelis and Klaus Schulze. This can definitely be heard in tracks such as Starpilot and You Did Good, Kid.

    When you listen to this album in its entirety, you are taken on an amazing journey from fast paced soundtrack pieces to ethereal and personal melodies that tug at your heartstrings. Listening to many artists, I slowly discover and notice a signature sound they have in their patches and sample selections, and Miles is no different. He has a preference for epic chords and climactic builds.  As per his press-kit, he uses Garageband with VSTs such as UH-E Repro, Korg PolySix, Mono/Fury, Dexed, OB-XD, PG-8X and Audiaire Zone.

Let me try and break down this incredible album track by track:  

Night Striker (Album Version) - The only track on the album released a bit early as a single and featured on Luigi Donatello's Youtube channel, this song reminds me of Terminator or Escape from New York. One of the faster songs on the album and all instrumental, it has a powerful and fast attack in the percussion, with Miles signature climactic synths providing a running story fit for a chase montage.

Miles Matrix - Night Striker

Starpilot - My favourite track on the album. It has a build and phrasing that brings to mind epic sci-fi cartoons from the '80s. I imagine missiles spiraling in space as they travel to their targets, raging battles as spaceships blast past each other. If you liked Robotech, Starblazers, or Gundam as a kid, this track will evoke those wide-eyed feelings you had as you stared at the screen watching the epic scenes play out.

Miles Matrix - Starpilot

Super Getaway Driver: Miami - Listening to the composition, you really can’t believe Miles has no music theory background. The production and pacing in this fast track is simply amazing. Beautiful cyberpunk sounds blended with retro effects culminating in MM’s distinct builds and climaxes for a track that envisions cars weaving in and out on future lit streets, with trails of tail lights glowing in an urban night.

Miles Matrix - Super Getaway Driver: Miami

Adventure Club - An eerie track heavy on chords, it begins with a slow build and drops into a quick paced trek through sounds evoking scenes of futuristic firefights or action packed adventure. Miles states the track is his most personal song related to memories of his dad taking him on adventures and explorations in the woods behind their house. Like all of us, he envisioned epic discoveries and stories, and this tune does a fine job of providing a background soundtrack to those imaginations.

Miles Matrix - Adventure Club

You Did Good, Kid - Beginning with a dialog sample from a sci-fi movie entitled “Assignment: Outerspace”, this track is a slightly slower atmospheric trip through the vastness of space and time. A beautiful melody and plucks from warped synths provides the listener with a sense of peace and tranquility.  

Miles Matrix - You Did Good, Kid

Stay a While, Stay Forever! - One of the surviving tracks from Matrix’s abandoned prior sessions. Some of you will recognize the phrase from an old Commodore C64 game called “Impossible Mission”.  The track contains Miles distinct instrumental sounds and his haunting vocals. With a beautiful pace, dropping and breaking between story and powerful ambient melody, it is dedicated to a deceased friend named “M” (referred to as Player 2 in the song), and speaks of the nostalgia and the times they spent together playing games and hanging out.

Miles Matrix - Stay A While, Stay Forever!

Main Force Patrol - Miles describes watching all the Mad Max movies while producing the album, and this song in particular is an homage to the raw energy of the first film. The synth sounds used in this are more raw, and provide a harder, more aggressive compliment to the other tracks on the album.

Miles Matrix - Main Force Patrol

Enemy Mine - The title of the song is borrowed from an ‘80s sci-fi movie that starred Dennis Quaid and Louis Gosset Jr. This is the second song on the album featuring Miles distinct haunting vocals and also the second song to survive his purge from prior sessions. It features some early '90s trance chords layered on a very ‘80s paced rhythm and synth.

Miles Matrix - Enemy Mine

    From beginning to end, "Buena Vista" is chock full of quality retro soundscapes and top notch production. Not only that, but Miles provides a distinct sound to his creations, setting his music apart from others, and providing a uniqueness that allows his work to stand out from the crowd. My favourite tracks from the album are "Starpilot", "Stay a While, Stay Forever!", and "Main Force Patrol". I recommend everyone give this release a listen, and if you like it, purchase it on Bandcamp or Soundcloud.  Miles Matrix is active on social media, and fortunately for all of us, engages and supports both other artists and fans. With this, coupled with his talent, it's no wonder the Bandcamp comments on the album feature nothing but praise.

Follow, support, and contact Miles Matrix at the links below:


Julian Green

Published May 27, 2019

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