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Robert Miles dies in Ibiza hospital aged 47.

  • The DJ, producer and impresario is best known for his 1995/6 hit ‘Children’ which is considered hugely influential on the rise of trance in the following years.
  • Recent projects have included Ibiza’s Openlab radio station.
  • Tributes paid after Italian Miles loses 9 month battle with cancer.

DJ Robert Miles, best known for his trance hit Children, has died at the age of 47.

It is understood Miles died in Ibiza’s private Villa hospital following a short battle with metastatic cancer.

The news was broken by producer and longtime friend Joe T Vannelli, who was reported by the BBC saying “The tragic news of the death of a very talented artist of our time makes me incredulous and upset.

“I will miss the fights, brawls, criticism, judgements but especially your talent in finding sounds and melodies unparalleled.

“Children is an instrumental and dance anthem, one of the most ever loved tracks. With Robert Miles a part of my life dies with him.”

Tributes have been paid by many leading lights in the dance music world, alongside those of close personal friends.

Among those close to Miles in Ibiza, Ibiza music industry promoter Danny Whittle said “Last night my family and I lost an amazing friend and brother, he faced everything with so much dignity, I was with him when he received the news that he had Cancer and he was so much braver than me all the way through.

“So last night he passed with courage right to the end. There is a huge hole in our lives now that we have to fill with amazing happy memories. Amazing friend, brother and best RV navigator a guy could have.

“I love and miss you Robert Miles you were so very special to me, Sally and little Dan. Wish I could hug you now.”

Life & Career

Roberto Concina, who later adopted the stage name Robert Miles, was born to Italian parents Antonietta Lauro and Albino Concina in Fleurier, Switzerland on the 3rd of November 1969.

He moved to the small Italian town of Fagagna as a young child where he became a proficient pianist. He started working in the music industry from 1984 and by 1990 had saved enough from his work as a club and radio DJ to open his own recording studio and pirate radio station.

Children & Dreamland

In 1994, Miles wrote a trance/chill-out piece based on acoustic guitar chords and soft synthesizer effects, “Children”, which was later developed into what was dubbed the first ‘dreamhouse’ genre track featuring its distinctive piano theme on top.

Children notched up over 350,000 sales within a few weeks of release, and the single received an unprecedented “Essential Tune of The Week”, three weeks in a row on the then hugely influential Pete Tong show on BBC Radio One.

Children’s instrumental composition gave it pan-European appeal and it topped the European charts for 13 weeks.

The single went Platinum in many countries including the UK where it peaked at number 2.

By 1997 Children had sold over 5 million worldwide and critical acclaim followed with a Brit award as best international male newcomer in 1997, a world music award as best selling newcomer , and various others.

Children was followed by further hits with ‘Fable’ and ‘One and One’ which reached number 7 and 3 in the U.K. charts respectively.

Fable was also noted for its use in the Hollywood film ‘Ever After’ and One and One followed Children in capturing the European imagination holding top spot in the Euro charts for 6 weeks over the Christmas period of 1996.

Miles also released his first album ‘Dreamland’ in 1996, followed by his second 23am in 1997.

His next single ’Freedom’ released in November 1997 featured Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge.

New Direction

Miles took his career in a different direction from 1998 when he split from his prior record and management company to set up his own independent label S:alt Records (the S:alt standing for suitably alternative)

Though not attaining the commercial success of his previous work, Miles’ music continued to receive critical acclaim and tracks from his third album Organik were used in several films including The Bourne Identity.

Organik remixes was released in 2002 and included remixes from a competition he had held on his website alongside those of established artists such as Future Sound of London.

Collaborations

In 2004 his appropriately titled fourth album ‘Miles Gurtu’ was released as a collaboration with percussionist Trilok Gurtu.

More collaborations were forged on his fifth album ‘Th1rt3en’, released in 2011. Guest artists included Robert Fripp, Dave Okumu, Jon Thorne, Mike Patto and Davide Giovannini, who worked with Miles in producing an album of ‘electronic soundscapes’.

Miles’ connection with the film industry surfaced again in 2012 when he was commissioned to compose the soundtrack for a film documentary featuring the photography of Life Magazine.

Open Lab

In 2012 he also established the Ibiza radio station Open Lab. Originally based in the Ibiza Music Factory and latterly moving into the old Global Radio studios, Open Lab was launched as an alternative station renowned for their eclectic content of experimental music, arts and cross-media technology.

In a statement, the station said “Robert was more than just an artist, he was a pioneer, a creator, an inspiration, a son, a father, our friend.”

It added “Throughout [his illness] he was strong, determined, incredibly brave and did everything he could to fight this horrendous disease.”

Tributes

A few of the many tributes being paid to Robert Miles in the press and across social media.

  • Pete Tong on Twitter “Sad to hear Robert Miles passing. RIP, thanks for the music.”
  • Danny Rampling on Facebook “RIP Robert Miles sad to hear of his untimely passing. Thank you for the music.”
  • Judge Jules on Facebook “Very saddened to hear of the passing of the producer of one of my favourite records of all time. Robert Miles RIP. Your Children lives on”
  • Armin van Buuren on Facebook “I’m just really in shock about the passing of Robert Miles at the age of 47. His music (and not only his amazing track ‘Children’) has meant a lot for me in a time when I was developing myself as an artist. I wish his close family and friends my condolences. Thank you Robert for everything you’ve done for music. R.I.P.”

The Children Story

  • Dubbed by the BBC as “the hit written to save clubbers’ lives”, Miles wanted his biggest hit to help stop Italy’s “Saturday night slaughter”

Children’s unique mellow sound prompted the birth of one of electronic music’s many sub genres ‘dream house’.

Miles has been quoted as saying the sound was a very deliberate choice, and though it was initially written as an emotional reaction to seeing images of the child victims of the war in Yugoslavia, the track then took on a different life – and a different motivation. Miles wanted to make it big to help save the lives of clubbers.

In the mid 90s Europe’s clubs were playing hard and fast sets which, in combination with the fuel of drugs prominent on the dancefloor at the time, were being blamed for a huge spike in car crashes during the after club hours at weekends.

The problem was so bad in Italy that they coined an expression – “stragi del sabato sera” – Saturday night slaughter.

In an article released by the BBC following his death, Miles says he wanted Children to be an option for DJs to put on as the last track of the night.

The article continues “It had a soft beat, slower and far less frenetic than the music that would have preceded it. The full-length version started without any instruments at all – it began with the natural sound of a thunderstorm.

“But it was the piano riff that really made Children different. It was mournful, a sound that triggered deep emotions. To listeners, the children of the title were not literally the world’s under-16s but their own younger selves.

“To those in the right frame of mind, the track brought feelings of nostalgia, calm and longing, like the regret of remembering a beautiful dream. Not for nothing was the track’s parent album called Dreamland.

Miles once described the reaction the first time he played the track: “I lifted my gaze and saw a sea of hands reaching up high and a smile stamped on every face,” he said.

“A girl approached me in tears. ‘What music is this?’ she asked me. I don’t think I shall ever forget that moment, when I realised that my feelings had been conveyed through my music. My dream turned into reality.”

Italian authorities and parents are said to have welcomed the release of the track. The BBC article concludes that “his track had changed dance music forever – and perhaps also changed the lives of certain clubbers who thought twice about exhaustedly staggering into their cars on hot nights in mid-90s Italy.”

Robert Miles, 3 November 1969 – 9 May 2017, Rest in Peace.

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