Instrumental music and Christianity have always shared a wonderfully curious relationship, adding a twist to the age old question, “what makes music Christian (or not)?” While attempting to answer that questions is always interesting, and dare I say, fruitful, it would take up much more time and space than what we are afforded here. Nonetheless, it seems appropriate to quote Johann Sebastian Bach: “The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.”
The tension between lyrical expressions of faith, and the creative pursuits of instrumental music is seen most clearly–at least in contemporary times–in electronic music. The family of subgenres is dominated by non-vocal and/or non-lyrical expressions of musical creativity, with a few notable exceptions, of course. Nonetheless, plenty of Christians have been drawn, or perhaps even called, to make electronic music in its various forms.
Millipede founder Don Hill dabbled in a number of fringe electronica genres including noise, industrial (including Kettleblack, Scrap/Grinder and Porteur de l’Image), and ambient (often working with Josh Pyle of Audio Paradox). But even Hill’s take on the already unconventional genus of ambient music was in itself non-conventional, often employing rhythmic structures not common in the genre. This is best illustrated by our Song of the Day, “Diplopoda Crawl” (the title a scientific reference to the band name). The track is a collaboration with Jan Carleklev (of Sanctum/Mago/Parca Pace).
Sadly, Don died a few years ago, losing his battle to cancer in 2015, thus making the music even more special to the handful of people lucky enough to have discovered this wonderfully oddball project. Although ambient music tends to have a ‘quiet’ nature, I find an accurate truism to be that “Quiet music should be played loudly” (paraphrase from Over the Rhine).