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Ben Millburn

Waking up from a dream can be a harrowing experience. Louisiana born and Austin based artist Ben Millburn has woken up from his dream with Part Two of his EP series entitled “The Balance EPs.” In December 2015 Millburn released Part One, Strange Love & Consequence, which was inspired by and born largely out of a recurring dream. This first EP related not just to the dreams of sleep but also to the ambitions of pursuing music.
Local Honey, Part Two of The Balance EPs, is less about chasing these dreams than it is about dealing with them. After arriving in Austin, Millburn spent some time in isolation writing a set of stripped down songs meant to act as a counterpoint to Strange Love & Consequence. Featuring sparse arrangements and minimalistic production Local Honey is the soft to Strange Love & Consequence’s loud. While the guitars may have less distortion and the drums may be stripped away, the focus on melody and harmony remain, and take center stage. If Strange Love & Consequence was the house party then Local Honey is waking up at the house the morning after.
Musical and lyrical ties exist between the similarly numbered tracks on each EP making the series an exercise in duality. Millburn grapples with the same issues from alternative sides, arranges similar chords in a different way, and takes opposing approaches to production on the two EPs. The result is two EPs presenting contrary forces that are actually complementary, as the shadow cannot exist without the light.
The single of the bunch, “I’ll Go”, is perfectly representative of the album’s concept. Millburn’s slap back vocal is accompanied only by his guitar, yet the space allows room for a haunting emotion to reside. He chose this song as the single for the same reasons that he chose “Don’t You Wait” as the single off of Part One. He wrote each song in as long as it took to play them, as they presented themselves fully formed.
Again producing the EP himself, Millburn returned to Jim Eno of Spoon’s Public HiFi in Austin to record, and he played all of the instruments himself with additional vocals from Ashley Cowart. The songs were recorded and mixed in a single weekend with the help of engineer Brad Bell.


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