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Milla


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Ethereal folk/rock pop

Status:

Most recent album, The Divine Comedy (1994); an unofficial side project, The Peopletree Sessions appeared in 1998.

See also:

The Official Milla site

Comparisons:

Slight ethnic tinges and catchy, lush melodies. I'd say she sounds more like a folkier Kate Bush with a light smattering of Russian (?) flavored folk influence. Or maybe almost a cross between Kate and the October Project. (neal)

Covers/own material:

Own material, occasional traditional songs

General comments:

Milla certainly doesn't sound the way you'd expect an actress/model to sound...she's actually quite talented, and her music is refreshingly original. Though her only cd so far is wonderful, her performances while on tour consisted of stripped-down and, in my opinion, much better versions of the album material plus a few great new songs that seem to indicate that her next album won't be very similar to her first. It's too bad the wait for that album has been so long, but recent interviews seem to indicate that Milla hasn't abandoned her music career. (mcurry@io.com)

Milla's got the "model/actress" tag hanging on her, and yet she's amazingly talented. I still think her album The Divine Comedy is a classic that will last the ages. Even though her face is *everywhere*, and even though she's been in some major films, she never had that "superstar" fame thing going. (vickie@enteract.com)

Her new sound is an almost obvious amalgam of the music she's been listening to and seen lately. Milla's "evolutionary" sound might be less disappointing to a fans of her more ethereal stuff. The ethereality is still there but it's more guitar-driven and layer-heavy. (thecritics@earthlink.net)

Well, chock me up as one who thinks her talents are limited to the stage and screen departments. I liked her in Fifth Element and thinks she's a lovely model, but not a very good singer/songwriter. Oh, I know I'm blowing a few minds here. She's definitely not my cup of tea...and believe me, I listened a lot. I just don't "get it". (Violaine@juno.com)

Comments about live performance:

The one time I saw Milla live 4 or 5 years ago, her voice was wretched. If I'd heard that before hearing The Divine Comedy, I would have never bothered listening to the album...all of which is to say that unless a lot has changed (and she quit smoking), I can't imagine any live show "showcasing her vocal talents"! Actually, now that I think about it, she wasn't nearly that horrendous when she was on Conan O'Brian...but that was a single song, not a whole set. (6/99, burka@jeffrey.net)

The music? It was all new to my ears. I disagree with the earlier interpretations of her new material being "grungy music" but maybe she played a different set. I would describe her more as European... There was a lot of dissonance and the closest type of music I could think of would be Elysian Fields, Portishead, or Sneaker Pimps. I liked it, but for those of you that are huge fans of her first album The Divine Comedy you might be disappointed because this new material doesn't showcase her vocal talents as well as that did.
     My personal feeling is that there is little hope she will be playing her old material with these new songs because it's such a big leap. At one point in the show I thought she might play "Gentleman Who Fell" because the intro was similar, but that was just very wishful hoping. She'd have to change the old songs a little to make them "fit" if you know what I mean. I guess there is some hope but these sets are very short and I'm sure she has a ton of fabulous new material she wants to share with everyone and that might be her priority for the moment. (6/99, shye@uclink4.berkeley.edu)

Recommended first album:

The Divine Comedy

Recordings:


The Divine Comedy

Release info:

1994—SBK Records/ERG [EMI]—7243-8-27984-2-2

Availability:

Good

Ecto priority:

High

Group members:

Milla Jovovich—vocals

Guest artists:

Rupert Hines—keyboard, keyboard bass, piano, percussion, drums
Geoffrey Richardson—acoustic guitar, bamboo flute, pennywhistle, mandolin, violin, viola, kalimba
Eric Bazilian—guitar, mandolin, hammered dulcimer, bouzouki
Dean Parks—guitar, mandolin
Larry Klein—bass
Helene Labarierre—bass
Charles Judge—keyboards
Richard Feldman—keyboards
Ethan James—harmonium, hurdy gurdy
Brian Kilgore—percussion
John Leftwich—bass
Phil Palmer—acoustic guitar
Martha Davis—backing vocals

Produced by:

Don Rubin, Rupert Hines, Richard Feldman

Comments:

This arrived the other day and I haven't been able to get it out of my machine. Whoever it was that made stylistic comparisons between this and Margot Smith's first album was right on the money in many ways; the songs are wonderful, Milla's voice quite amazing, and the production is stunning. You should have heard my excited gleeful "yay!" when I read the sleeve notes and saw that Rupert Hine had produced half of the album! Rupert, you're still one of the most sympathetic and intelligent producers around. (ahoran@ozemail.com.au)

Milla has a good but not great voice and the songs likewise are not outstanding but a superb production and arrangement job makes the most of these ingredients and results in an album that is a joy to listen to. The instrumentation is varied and interesting and the production is clear and open so that the ear is continually delighted by picking out new perspectives. (nightwol@dircon.co.uk)

Tuesday saw the U.S. release of The Divine Comedy, the debut album by Milla Jovovich. I'd heard a promo CD from this album some months ago, and been awaiting this album eagerly since. I haven't managed to find out much about Milla, other than that she's Russian and is also a model/actress. Having scoured the sleeve notes carefully, I haven't even been able to find a references to what if any instruments she plays on the album, though she's pictured with a lute.
     It's difficult music to categorize, beyond falling in that rather vague but increasingly populated no-mans-land that lies between folk and rock. Certainly there's an Eastern European flavor in parts, perhaps slightly reminiscent of Marta Sebestyen; the last song on the album, "In A Glade", is a hauntingly beautiful arrangement of a traditional Russian folk song, though the remainder of the lyrics are by Milla and are in English.
     The instrumentation on this album is very unusual, featuring such things as mandolins, penny whistles, violins, violas, harmoniums, hurdy-gurdies and hammered dulcimers, as well as a variety of percussion instruments some of which I can't quite fix. (I should perhaps admit here that any album involving a hurdy gurdy automatically gets a high recommendation from me. I love the things. However, before I start extolling the virtues of Nigel Eaton and Blowzabella, I shall return to the matter at hand.) The choice of instrumentation gives much of the music a Celtic feel, and the percussion at times seems to have a Latin American influence creeping in. Undoubtedly a strange composition.
     The production seems good: not actually sparse, but sufficiently clear, crisp and open to make following the individual instruments easy. That's fortunate, since to spoil such a collection of instruments with muddled sound would indeed be a pity.
     I'm still in too early a listening stage to give an absolute assessment of the music. In particular I haven't come to grips with the lyrics yet, though the odd line that has caught my attention suggests that they're worth more thorough examination. Musically the songs vary from gentle and delicate to up-tempo: there are plenty of catchy tunes to buzz around your head and keep you humming for a while. I suspect this album is going spend a lot of time in my CD player for quite a while, and strongly suggest you check it out. (anthony@mh1.lbl.gov)

i only really like two songs from this album, but one of them i REALLY like ("It's Your Life). (iflin@speakeasy.net)

Milla Jovovich, not only a model with a pretty face, but also an artist I have learned to respect. From being a quite ordinary album on the first two to three listens, it exploded right in my face, and caught me totally off guard. The result: it is currently among the albums that spend most time in my CD player. Excellent! This is an album I play again and again. (Alvin.Brattli@phys.uit.no)

The musical arrangements remind me of Enya...ummm...I like the painting on the cover. (Riphug@aol.com)

It's basically pop folk music, largely acoustic arrangements, with surprisingly mature lyrics given that Milla claims to have written most of the songs around age 16 (the album was released when she was 18). It's been a *very* popular album amongst the ecto set, though of course there are some who can't stand it.
     Lyrical themes range from genocide to alien visitation to suicide to prostitution and just about anywhere in between. It was high on my list of albums from '93, and would probably rank it somewhere among my favorite albums of the decade—5 years later, and I still listen to it on a fairly regular basis. If you have an interest in the folkier, acoustic side of things, I'm guessing you'd like it. (burka@jeffrey.net)

First I must say that I was especially happy to hear the mandolin on the album and to see all the pictures of the mandolin. That made me smile. And now, for musical content. It's a good album! I let it play several times. I really like "Gentlemen Who Fell" and "Ruby Lane". It has this quality about it that's familiar, but different. Anyway, thanks for discussing and thanks for recommending. This album is better than tea. (JoAnn Whetsell)

I just got Milla's The Divine Comedy last week. Superb CD. How talented can somebody be? Milla Jovovich is a musician, model and actress. The Divine Comedy is not only good, it's really, very, very good. (billonline@adlerbooks.com)

The Divine Comedy remains one of my very favorite albums ever. (meth@smoe.org)

One of my faves. (jzitt@humansystems.com)

I wish I had bought it sooner; it's a great album. (stevev@hexadecimal.uoregon.edu)


The Peopletree Sessions

Release info:

1998—Peopletree

Availability:

Only by mail order from website

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans only

Group members:

Milla

Guest artists:

d. turin, h.loops, Chris Brenner, Ezra G, Nick Young, Stephen Perkins, Farmer and others

Produced by:

h. loops

Comments:

Note: apparently, this is NOT the follow-up album to The Divine Comedy, but is instead a side project.

it is a collaboration with the folks at peopletree. peopletree seems to be a fairly ambitious attempt to create new channels of creating and distributing music via new technology. the actual music, however, is to my ears a fairly unfocused collection of technoid/ambient ideas with Milla mumbling in the background. (bossert@suddensound.com) it sounds interesting, sort of in a Beth Orton sort of way. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

From what I recall of the samples, *this* was the music that people should have been referring to when they kept calling Tori Amos' Boys For Pele "masturbatory." (burka@jeffrey.net)

I checked out some of the songs as well and was, to say the least, underwhelmed. I had been looking forward to another album from her, though I had begun to give up hope of her ever actually getting around to doing one, but after listening to some of her new material I doubt I'm going to bother getting this CD. It has neither the lush richness of The Divine Comedy nor the wonderful simplicity of the newer songs she unveiled during her brief tour. To me this is just Milla putting in a half-hearted effort at singing over some drum machine tracks with a few weird sounds thrown in. (mcurry@io.com)

It's kind of electronica/soul/dance stuff...not the beautiful singing and music from The Divine Comedy. (Riphug@aol.com)

The audio tracks that I've heard so far are fun, but not something I'd run out and buy. "Sweetheart" sounds like a very spaced Annette Peacock working with teenage dub apprentices. Much of the rest sounds sorta like an early Beck wannabe. (jzitt@humansystems.com)

I just don't know about this one. I've played it 3 times now and I'm still not sure if I like it. It's interesting but I'm not sure it's enjoyable. I keep thinking of The Velvet Underground. (spike45@sos.net)

It's a lot different from The Divine Comedy, which was rather folky. This one is more along the trance/trip hop/grungey lines. Lots of her speaking/whispering with droning guitars in the background, a little singing. Massive disc, with sixteen tracks, I think, including some remixes. Very electronic. Her voice sounds completely different on this one, higher and very wispy. She only plays any instruments on a couple of the tracks, although she wrote all of the words. I'm still in the middle of it, but first listen says it's really good music to space out to and occasionally groove, but very different from the Milla of a few years ago. By the way, the CD is only available online at Peopletree, but at a decent price for the amount of music...and it's cool to hear what's become of Milla after some years in L.A. It's gonna take a bit to wrap my ears around this one.... (kscleaves@juno.com)

I just got a copy of milla's peopletree sessions in the mail—it is the most unlistenable disc I have heard in a while. The only description that comes to mind is track one of Poe's haunted where she is talking into the answering machine. The difference is that Poe's album then goes somewhere beautiful whereas the Milla disc kinda sits there listening to her sing into an answering machine.
     very disappointing. (gordodo@optonline.net)


Further info:

I have that Milla video. It's "official," with production credits listed on the box and stuff like that.
     But I have to say: If the video had been my introduction to Milla Jovovich's music I would have stopped there. Her CD, The Divine Comedy, sounds so much better than what's on the video, which sounds muddy.
     But—it's still a good video. If you already like Milla J's music, which I do, then this video is worthwhile. She has a good time performing and it shows. (billonline@adlerbooks.com)

Milla has a song on the Underworld soundtrack.


Thanks to Michael Curry for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2011-06-03 21:11:04.
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