Trance producer Robert Miles has passed away aged 47.
The Italian composer and DJ died at his home in Ibiza, Spain after a short, undisclosed illness. He had been living on the Balearic island since 2012, where he had been operating Open Lab, an alternative radio station.
Roberto Concina was born in Fleurier, Switzerland to Italian parents, and was raised in Fruili, Italy, where he developed an affinity for music. As a teenager, he began to make a name in a variety of Italian clubs and radio stations, and by 1990 he was recording in his own studio under the name Robert Miles.
While Miles may not have been a household name to those unfamiliar with the inner circle of trance, nearly everybody will remember his 1995 hit, ‘Children’, an instrumental, dream-like trance track with a melodic piano riff, which reached number one in over twelve countries and swiftly became a club mainstay across Europe. The track, endorsed heavily by Radio 1 dance icon Pete Tong, has since been remembered as one of the definitive trance anthems of its time, and has appeared everywhere from samples by Dot Rotten and a cover by classical outfit Escala right through to Eastenders.
The success of ‘Children’ made Miles an overnight hot topic in the dance world. His debut album, ‘Dreamland’ was released in June 1996, going platinum in the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada, and Gold in the USA and France. The albums second single, ‘Fable’ was also a top ten success, featuring in the trailer for Drew Barrymore box office hit, ‘Ever After’.
Miles released his sophomore album, ‘23am’ in 1997, leaning towards a more lyric-driven approach. The lead single, ‘Freedom’ a collaboration with Kathy Sledge from Sister Sledge was a modest success, reaching no3 in Miles’ native Italy, but the album was a disappointment compared to ‘Dreamland’, barely scraping the UK top 50 and failing to chart at all in most European markets.
Following the disappointment of ‘23am’ sales, Miles parted ways with Deconstruction in 1998 and founded his own record label, S:alt Records with whom he released three more records. None of these albums managed to chart, but they saw his collaborate with a myriad of fellow artists and saw his music feature on a number of film soundtracks.
Subsequent years saw Miles compose the soundtrack to the documentary ‘The Turn of THIS Century’ as well as establish Open Lab in 2012, on which he worked until his death.
Italian magazine DJ Mag Italia reported the passing of Miles, indicating he had died after a ‘short illness’. Since the announcement, tributes have rolled in from across the world of social media, with Darude, Pete Tong and Tritonal among those expressing condolence. Joe T Vannelli, a longtime friend of Miles, offered the below tribute.
“The tragic news of the death of a very talented artist of our time, makes me incredulous and upset,” Vannelli said. “I will miss the fights, brawls, criticism, judgements but especially your talent in finding sounds and melodies unparalleled.”