Resavoir - the collaborative project led by Chicago producer/composer Will Miller - presents their second self-titled album. The new 'Resavoir' is a subtly radiant symphony interweaving modern-day soul-jazz with bedroom beats, synth serenades and twilight sonatas. It represents Miller’s most assured and refined work to date.
Imagined, instigated and produced by Miller, who ties the diverse sounds into an expansive, coherent whole, 'Resavoir' features a wide and vibrant cast of collaborators, including Elton Aura, Whitney, Akenya, Matt Gold, Eddie Burns, Lane Beckstrom, Jeremy Cunningham, Irvin Pierce, Macie Stewart, Peter Manheim and more.
Rooted in the collaborative spirit of the early 2010s indie hip-hop scene, Miller cut loose from his training at Oberlin jazz conservatory, taking a compositional assignment to write a tune about a reservoir as his cue to explore a beats and RnB-inspired sound that could function as a literal reservoir of music to draw from. Running his trumpet through MIDI keyboards, experimenting with samplers, drum machines and synths, he began to build a sound that could seamlessly collaborate with MCs, vocalists and instrumentalists.
“With Resavoir, it’s been more about unlearning those stigmas and traumas of going through the very rigid system of learning music and coming back to making something that is going to make me feel good and reflects how I'm feeling in the moment,” Miller explains.
A longtime member of indie band Whitney, and having subsequently worked with the likes of Mac Miller, ASAP Rocky, Chance The Rapper, Lil Wayne and SZA - for whom he produced “Blind” from her 2022 album SOS which spent 10 weeks at #1 on the Billboard 100 chart - the Resavoir project allowed Miller to take these experiences into his own work - creating a sound that is deft yet deep, compositionally complex, yet finely tuned to the timbres of emotion that color life’s quieter moments.
Initially developed as a group project, Miller released his debut self-titled Resavoir album in 2019. Described by Pitchfork as “a complex, soulful album which celebrates interconnectedness,” the album received widespread critical acclaim. However, Miller’s concept for Resavoir continued to evolve as the pandemic forced everyone back onto themselves, this deep well of music now offering a return to the fundamentals of his approach. He explains: “Resavoir is a compositional practice, a place, a feeling, and a reflection of the community I have around me.”
Renting a studio in the old Hammond B3 organ factory on Chicago’s NW side, Miller went back to basics, organizing open air jam sessions in the side lot of his Logan Square apartment building that would form the basis of two shimmering tracks – “Midday” and “First Light” – years before this new album came into view. As Miller remembers: “Both recordings came from the first time any of us had played music with anyone else since the onset of the pandemic so there was quite a tangible energy and emotion in the air. Folks from the neighborhood were stopping by to drop off 6-packs of beer and listen.”
Written over three years beginning in April 2020, the new 'Resavoir' saw Miller challenge himself to experiment with what he calls the “medicinal” daily practice of music making. Born out of a process of introversion and mindfulness, the eleven effervescent songs that ultimately made the cut are testament to Miller expanding on his breezy and melodic signature to showcase a bold new sonic direction - a beat-oriented but compositionally complex, lush and cinematic soul-jazz sound.
First single "Inside Minds" channels a João Gilberto-meets-MF DOOM whimsey – stripped back, spontaneous yet orchestrated. Capturing the moment of discovery, other tracks like "Sunset" are like vignettes of Miller’s process - music as an exercise in letting go, embracing the organic imperfections of their creation.
Discussing his approach to the work, Miller says: "a single chord change has the power to completely divert my entire day and provide me with a feeling of peace and wonder. Those are the best moments when creating music, the moments of transformation and healing. The feeling of this new album to me is meditative, peaceful, serene, quiet, introspective, intentional, patient, calm, awe-filled and loving. If I was truly writing to how I was feeling in the moment I think it would sound a lot different. So I wanted to speak to the transformational power of music.”