Band of the Day

2012.05.18

Miguel Migs

Warm, sultry, bass-driven deep house
Maybe you're hiding from something in the stars. Reaching for someone that knows just who you are. Been on a rhythm and I just can fight it. Been on a feelin that I can't deny.
lyrics from So Far

Miguel Migs is the stage name of San Francisco Deep House DJ Miguel Steward. Migs began his musical career as a lead guitarist for Zion Sounds, a local band from Santa Cruz, CA. After the band broke up, Migs began to work on his electronic music production, which uncoincidentally would reflect the soulful and deep grooves of Zion Sounds. In 2004, Migs founded his own label, Salted Music to release forward thinking soul-based electronic music. The label also serves as a platform to help humanitarian efforts across the globe. In addition to a slew of EPs and Remixes, Migs has released four full-length albums, most recently Outside the Skyline in 2011, which was released on his Salted label and electronic music juggernaut Om Records. Miguel and his label have both earned Independent Music Awards and heaps of critical praise for his live shows, production, and pioneering in the genre.

San Francisco-based producer Miguel Migs is all about the slow burner. Judging from his spacious, alluring deep house tracks, Migs understands that a fulfilling climax is only truly realized with a healthy amount of foreplay. The diametric opposite of impatient frat-steppers like Skrillex, Migs uses his developed, razor-sharp sonic spacial understanding to craft understatedly devastating tracks that are effortlessly sexy and totally fulfilling.

Like his music, his career has also been a bit of a slow burn. While he has been crafting and refining his sound for more than ten years — his debut EP The Mercury Lounge dropped in 1998 — he is finally starting to get the widespread acclaim his prodigious talent warrants. Though he is best known for his remix work, he is quickly gaining much more recognition for his smooth, slinky originals. His sound is most fully realized on his third LP, Outside the Skyline (2011). Migs employs a stable of vocalists — Meshell Ndegeocello and German stalwart Georg Levin are the standouts — to lend their voices to his lush, alluring brush strokes.

While Outside the Skyline rarely deviates from the chillout/deep house vibe, there is a surprising amount of variation on the record. The lead track, "Intro," sets a bouncy, island vibe thanks in part to the vocals of reggae singer Half Pint. The breezy cut bleeds into the show-stopping Ndegeocello collab "Tonight." Migs perfectly frames the vocalist's delicate, yet confident coo with a bubbling baseline, spacey synths, and a driving backbeat. The duo repeats the trick with the smokey, sparse "Close Your Eyes," that gradually unwraps to a dream, transformative pop song. When Ndegeocello gently implores you to "close your eyes" and "step into another time," it's impossible not to heed her advice. The reggae-influenced "They Don't Know" and "Life" are essential for fans of languid, bass-driven grooves and that island sound.

In recent years, subtly has become an endangered species in dance music, as producers seemed more intent on attempting to blow the listener's clothes off with a mighty womp-womp cyclone than coaxing them off with a gentle breeze. While eating candy for every meal might sound fun for a little while, it's never going to fill you up, and folks looking for a more substantial, yet equally tasty dish would be wise to give Migs a listen.