I rarely get to review a song that hasn’t been released on the bigger streaming platforms. Therefore, I would like to thank Milii Austin for allowing me to review Playground. It is an awesome piece of work. I am going to share with you just why it’s a great song, how the arrangement, sonics and production work. I will explain why you should stream it today and finally, as usual, where you can learn more about the artist, Milii Austin.
Usually, I can give you a Spotify or a YouTube link, but here I will provide you with the YouTube and Spotify channel addresses. The Instagram profile and Milli’s website can also be found at those links. I will repeat these links at the end of the post below.
I am writing this post today, 2nd May 2023. However, I am scheduling this post for Friday, 19th May 2023.
Who is Milii Austin?
As with so many artists I review here on Krannaken.com, Milii Austin has a musical family. ABBA has been a big inspiration for Milii. Even today, she could wake up at 3 am (as has happened) and record a melody on her phone. I am all too familiar with this scenario. When lying in bed, thinking of musical ideas before getting up to turn on my keyboard and trying to put the music going through my head into action.
Some of Milii’s earliest memories were of singing into a hairbrush at her “concert”. Milii Austin loves to spend time in her own world with her musical ideas.
That’s not the end of the talent of Milii Austin; she is learning production techniques and is very independent as an artist.
A Greco RG-750 (325 Rickenbacker copy) guitar was used in this recording, played through a Vox AC30 amplifier. This resulted in a warm, loud and rather “Brit” sound, which was just right for the song, as you can hear when you listen to Playground by Milii Austin.
The Story Behind the Guitar
There is an extraordinary story behind the Greco guitar. Greco was left to Peter (producer) in the will of Chris Toms, ex-Drop Bears. Chris was a good friend of Peter, and he must have thought much of him with the inheritance of such a great-sounding guitar. It was actually manufactured on Peter’s 18th birthday – yes, really! It was created on Peter’s 18th birthday. If that’s not a reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is. That is the day you can also go for a pint in a British pub – unless you’re like me and get a pint in on your 16th birthday.
The backing vocals for Playground were all “tracked and stacked” by Milii Austin. She would record one voice and then another, accompanied by her earlier recording. Milii is highly accurate and able to carry the vocals without resorting to cut ‘n’ paste.
Adam Świerczyński from Warsaw was the bassist in this project.
Milii Austin also played the keys as well as being both lead and backing vocalist.
Casper Tromp was also responsible for the keys at the rise section at the end of the bridge.
Playground was recorded in Sydney, Australia. The mastering engineer was Paul Fox in Melbourne.
The Production of Playground
As a guitarist, I notice the guitar parts first and foremost. I appreciate the use of tremello in Playground.
The instruments provide a laid-back and smooth backdrop that ensures the song is an enjoyable experience for the listener. I appreciate the way that the instruments cover the right frequency ranges.
A lot of thought is put into the pitches of the different instruments and the vocals. This includes the bass guitar covering lower frequencies as bass should. It also includes the higher pitches with Milii’s voice providing a beautiful experience for the listener.
Arrangement of Playground
Playground has a lovely relaxing feel throughout. However, there are moments that I feel should be mentioned in particular. This includes the change at 46 seconds where the entire song seems to shift into a more major key. It appears at this section that everything changes – not just a key change. One can hear the distinct rhythm change that provides more bounce with a definite swing to the beat.
At 1:57, we can hear an instrumental section which is led by a guitar. We hear that the guitar keeps to the mid-section and doesn’t venture too high or too low, giving a subtle harmonics-nod to bands like U2, Simple Minds and REM.
The keyboard part in at around 2:24 is an excellent addition to the song. It is so easy to get this section wrong. However, the keyboardist gets the section spot on and it injects more real energy into the song.
Where Can You Learn More About Playground by Milii Austin?