Undisclosed location near Black Rock Mountain
Playlist: Fathoms on Spotify
The following is from Penrose Projex by Mike Avery. Check it out HERE
Sundown was in full effect through the natural corridor of Rockfish Valley. While higher ground enjoyed a few glimmers of dying light, the low-lying areas had already succumbed to the shadow of the ridgeline. The serene landscape was pierced by the defiance of bright lights, indistinct shouting, and thrashing bulls kicking up plumes of dust. Further into the recess of twilight held a path up the foothills. Deer traipsed along a meadow of tall grass while even higher-up turkeys ritualistically encircled the summit. Perched above all others, a solitary coyote, blonde and stocky, surveilled the scene from a rocky outcropping. To him, the disturbance below was nothing more than a distant glow and a rumbling of odd-sounding thunder. He observed silently from the tree line, as an object with much brighter lights cut through the darkness. This far out, mankind’s imprint was reduced to two strips of gravel, barely wide enough for tires. But it was at the last bit of discernible road that a cabin presented itself.
The auspicious structure served as a welcomed refuge. Walls comprised of solid coniferous lumber. The red-stained timber comprised a generous portion of the architecture, giving you the sense of residing inside a tree. Large panes of glass extended the width of the great room and surrounded a triumphant stone fireplace whose chimney rose to meet a vaulted ceiling. Candles were carefully arranged throughout the space, creating a warm and inviting ambiance. Books found conveniently in cozy reading spaces ranged from Beowulf to Life: a User’s Manual. A Newspaper rested upon the hearth of the fireplace. It felt like it came from a different century until you read a headline commenting on the rise of artificial intelligence. The stillness of the space, the simplicity of its presentation, even the air felt suspended in time.
The chalet served as a source of reverence as bags of equipment were brought in one by one. Lighting, haze machines, cameras, audio equipment, and camping gear quickly amassed in the foyer. Months of meticulous planning, revisions, and scout research had culminated in the next entry for Myles Brown. Also known by his stage name M.Y.L.O., began his musical sojourn at a young age, learning and reciting classical piano. It was in college in 2018 that he really began to explore the prospects of creating his own music. As the melody of his life continued, he began to view music not just as a listening experience but catharsis in the highest order of transformation. ‘It’s helping me identify what I want to create, the direction I want to move in, and how creative I want to be in my work.’. His discography is well into the maturation process, and each project has resulted in exponential outcomes, broadening the circumference of his artistic scope and allowing him to dial in further into a sound of his own. Myles fills his palette with dabs from an unorthodox array of genres: jumping from electronic to folk and over to R&B. When talking about the direction of his music, he said ‘it’s very interesting, think 808’s and heartbreaks meets blonde meets 2020 experience meets bon iver’s bon iver’ Brown described the current composition of his work. On this particular trip, Myles Brown worked on a short film and musical single, “NO TIME”.
Billed as acoustic, indie pop, and R&B, “NO TIME” tells a story of two worlds and the balance between them. This particular cut from start to finish was five months in the making. Myles carries a lot of intent in each project he approaches in his musical career. After completing a visual album, Journey, M.Y.L.O. has used his platform to chronicle personal experiences as an open journal to his audience. ‘That’s why I’m doing singles; it’s allowing me to move through the spaces that I want to make them.’ Each piece has standalone traits defining itself as a single while offering elastic undertones. This allows his work to appeal both on a surface level of intrigue and to those eagle-eyed connoisseurs who can still seek to understand the relationship between sounds and visuals. His song “2 Step” walks up on the viewer with swagger and the tenacity of boom bap. At the same time, “CARTOONS” slows down the metronome with an assiduous melody and raw emotion. But in the middle is an artist phasing through mediums that best serve the most authentic expression. No Time is a corollary to the dynamic of two competing themes. Both energies angled toward each other throughout the video.
While Myles carries out much of his work independently, he also magnetizes with a small production team to help facilitate the vision. ‘Our crew is small, but it consists of people that I trust.’ he explained, ‘Everyone’s there for a reason, and I try to ask for their advice often because I truly value their input. They help me come up with dope ideas that I never would’ve thought of myself, and I’m truly grateful for that.’
One member is Miles, no not Myles, Miles. On set as an audio consultant and B.T.S. videographer Miles is a catch-all in the humble art of creating. When he’s not helping adjust sound design, he’s exploring his own interests in beat-making. But I don’t want to belabor skill sets because profile write-ups should be people-first. Seemingly bashful but ultimately hilarious when you’d least expect it. Miles is a certified real one, not here for only the nice weather, but the long hours and the difficult conversations. While “NO TIME” is a solemn deliverance of equanimity, the energy on set often benefits from a thermostat. It may be sitting down to talk through what the moment is bringing out of us, creating an open dialogue to process. Other times, the mood needs to be broken up, and he throws on Peaches and Eggplants. I think the song’s name speaks for itself, but the point is that when you have a binding isotope like Miles, the molecule becomes more stable. Miles spoke on his experiences with the Myles: “His ability to organize our ideas into a cohesive story and weave random moments of creativity into the overarching plan for a visual piece of music makes working together both a smooth and unique experience that his hard to replicate with anyone else.”
At the crack of dawn, production gear was promptly transferred back into the vehicles for a full day of shooting at multiple locales. Until now, most music videos had been shot exclusively in Richmond. Riding along Skyline Drive, you took an expanse of earth that almost revealed its curvature. In this entry, Myles operated with a scope significantly larger to create the expression flowing from the mind’s eye. That being said, it’s important to note that Myles’ videographical ability goes far behind the lens. As an owner and operator of his own video production company, MYLO Video Productions, he has the unique perspective of understanding the technical elements of filming. Diligence is often at the forefront between takes to adjust speed, lighting, and focus so that no minute of footage goes to waste. ‘I want to tell stories that make people laugh and also make people cry. It’s cohesive from beginning to end where no shorts are filler; every shot has its purpose.’ He also described the importance of using nature to represent abstract concepts. ‘Like describing the flow of a dance by just by showcasing how the water moves naturally, and cutting between the two can tell a story.’ To layer on this philosophy, MVP incorporates drone work into projects. ‘I like drone shots because it gives the viewer a completely different perspective than their own, and the viewer contemplates the material from a different outlook.’ In a few short years of MYLO Video Production’s genesis, the startup has notched more than a handful of accolades. Richmonders may have seen his work in the rebranding visuals brought to you by Chamber RVA. Brown landed the role of Project Videographer for R.V.A. Community Makers, making his first official debut in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Never one to settle, Myles was awarded the Best Environmental Film for his work, ‘ Forest Hill Park’ in the Richmond 60 Second International Film Festival. Yes, it’s a thing, and it receives thousands of submissions from around the world.
Another member of the Team is Josh from Josh B Productions. Another deceptively mild-mannered disposition masked an adrenaline junky that challenged frivolous conventions like the laws of gravity. He’s also an unbelievable wizard with lighting. Chiefly producing content for his church, Josh has spent a decade in the field defying conventionality in pursuit of boundary-pushing cinema. This isn’t hyperbole; at one point, I saw this man sprint *camera in hand* towards the edge of Ravens Roost Overlook, nestled on top of a mountain, just to get a dynamic shot panning out into the void. The spiritual fervor of this man is less ‘Fear of God’ and more ‘Lord Willing’. While running a file transfer, he took the time to showcase a project he recently did for his church’s missionary trip to Tanzania. Shots bounced to a rhythmic drum beat as visuals explored the natural beauty surrounding a village, inviting the viewer to meet a uniquely spirited community that proudly wore its traditions in dance and music. 20 minutes had passed before I realized the video was still running, which underscores his ability to take recorded video and bring the viewer into another world. On that trip, though, he fell off a separate cliff and broke his foot. So maybe he’s getting better at that thing. Myles would prefer his corporeal talents in one piece so they can continue forging new creative frontiers.
While at Raven’s Roost, Mother nature had a difference of opinion in the direction of the shoot. The crew was already working against the clock for natural light, and now a cold front had pushed in a rainstorm through the mountain range. Choppy gray skies with light seeping through slowly made way for darker tones. With Josh’s coordination, Myles had positioned himself in the overlook to show the subject with the expanse to create an apex of emotion. As the drizzle could continue, you could see a wall of white mist trudge over the mountain and zero in on set. There was no yield at this juncture from either party. The sample music barely came through the waterlogged speaker as M.Y.L.O. sparred with the deluge bearing down on the face of the mountain. The exchange of intensities between the two powers felt more poetic than combative. Sheets of rain buffeted the bluff while Myles rebuked the gesture, pounding his chest and performing his heart out. At one point, the combination of wind, rain, and surface stability led the crew to hold onto one another in a daisy chain to keep from slipping off the edge. Every version of ‘Do not try this at home’ reverberates in this encounter, but you must admire when passions combine to achieve pure artistry.
This talent resonates with Myles’ foundation in music. Where a subliminal goal is to blue-skidoo the viewer into the music video. Allowing themselves to enter a part of their story into the narrative. ‘I don’t want people to ever feel like they’re locked into what they see on their screens; I want people to drift and have to watch it again because it made them think of something that was meaningful in their life.’ The experiences may be unique to Myles, but he seeks to create an open stage where anyone can stand on their own two feet as the subject. Myles also demonstrates congeniality when out in the field. During breaks between shoots, we’d find him helping visitors with family photos, stopping and chatting with locals about the hidden gems in the area, and even flying a drone shot for a couple’s flash wedding at Ravens Roost. Further emphasizing that these chivalrous quests are not about he but we.
And there’s a lot to be said about the royal We. Myles has yet to make himself a stranger to the curious circles of Richmond. From underground cyclists like the Broad Street Bullies demonstrating for transportation equity to street dancers such as X-Glide and Decori making their mark under gates of light in nocturnal gardens. Artists re-rendering the landmarks of a city through statements of murals. Helping a local legend and veteran in the hip hop industry reintroduce their time-tested prowess to the world, from the parking lots of Waffle House, to the red carpet of the B.E.T. Awards. ‘Working with Mad Skillz has been one of the coolest things I’ve done..His kind of taking me under his wing has been really cool. He’s a great person and a great creator.’. Focusing on the foundational qualities of transformative relationships. Myles seeks to further extend the range of that positivity by empowering art from unexpected corners to the center scene. He spoke to others with compassion and a sense of belief in their story, then showed them through his art power. And all the while maintaining the single solitary trait and bedrock of these relationships: true kinship.
“You said you felt like you had no time, what did you mean by that?”
The question briefly hung in the air. Stillness filled the great room, and only the weight of the emotions could be felt. The epic on the mountaintop, worthy of Odysseus, unnoticeably skipped to something Newton would grapple with. Myles’ hair was dry, there was no storm outside, but somewhere in the dissonance, the phenomena still raged. Sitting in one of those heavy log chairs, steeping in the quandary. The wood creaked as he shifted his posture to issue his reply. But this all plays out as intended in the epilogue of the music video and short film. Because there is a sense of service to viewers in this open-letter format. It’s clear that this isn’t going out for virality or some sense of altruism. This is someone who knows the feeling of going through it, on a path away from the main road, and showing others how to see the forest through the trees.
‘I want to help so many people that I forget to help myself.’
The answer seemed to orbit those relationships we hold near and dear. Though at the center of all of it; what about the relationship you carry within yourself?. There was another pause; this time you could see the change of direction internally. We take so much care in how much the store looks we often forget to take inventory of what’s inside. And there’s so much in that space that can be evaluated. Myles has created a sense of that in No Time, but even more than just one-off, he’s aware of the intrinsic guidance manifesting at a subconscious level. ‘One of the highest compliments you can get as an artist is that you make something that sounds new and original, but it’s really good at the same time, and it reflects what you’ve been doing and who you are.’
Myles’ opening act in the music arena was offered as tributes to those that he loves. In the next act, he attributes that love back to himself. ‘Most of my music videos had been dedicated to other people, and I wanted to make one for myself.’ Casting stories to sound and finding new forms of expression and connection. ‘I’m most excited about my next projects coming out and the music videos I’m shooting for myself.’. This leads to a variable multiverse of outcomes. Carrying full-length wooden mirrors through an autumnal forest, observing 1920’s cinema in an empty theater, dabbing up cyclists popping wheelies under railways. ‘I feel like I’m finally moving in the direction I want to go in.’And when we realize we can feel as much as we can accomplish, there comes a paradigm shift in how we perceive meaning.
Behind the chair was a shimmering door. Light breaching from every liminal space between the frame and the threshold. Cautiously approaching that door, it’s tough to see what lies ahead. It’s just an indiscernible distance filled with light. And you really have to judge that line in the floorboards as something you’re willing to cross. Your intuition could be telegraphing plainly that it’s going to be good and to just go, but the element of the unknown is an invisible bind from our greatest aspirations. Talking to Myles, you can sense that he peered through that same gateway, but theatrically and metaphorically. What you see is someone living on the other side. Recognizing that the most wholehearted life to live is built from the love we’ve shared.
Days pass, hearts beat. As the world turns, so does the mind of M.Y.L.O.. Taking off past the city limits, Myles found himself in settings anew. Four wheeling across the dunes of the Mojave. Lightning struck out over the waters at night on Miami Beach. Serene sunsets were eclipsed by boulders in the ocean of the Pacific Northwest. As if those visuals weren’t enough, shortly thereafter you might find him sailing down the waterways of Venezia, Italy, strolling along the Mediterranean seaside in Menton, France, or even weaving between cable cars outside the Gucci flagship in Milan. Myles reflected on the peaks of this saga, ‘The best would be making the trip with my dad to Europe.. Just with everything we’ve been through recently, and be able to have time to hang out with each other and to explore a different part of the world we’ve both never been in. That was 100% the best part.’ He paused and then added ‘Also the funniest thing was my dad on that trip, trying to learn how the internet works overseas.’ The wholesomeness poured out ‘really the time with my dad was the coolest part.. It was healing,’’. From Myles Brown, the homegrown talent recognized internationally in his own backyard, to Mylo Global, world wanderer and savant in the human experience.
You’ve probably gained a sense that there’s an underlying intent in M.Y.L.O.’s work to share a strong bond with the wilderness as his own personal compass. The chattering streams in low-lying gorges wouldn’t be possible without the crashing of water fallen from the mountains, hitting rock
and yet, somehow, we manage to find tranquility again. The pathways that connect to the basin share the same terrain as the overlook, despite sometimes feeling so far away. It’s all relevant to the human condition: highs, lows, and the tunnels in between.
When asked what he would be doing without music, videography, and the production between the two. ‘Just sitting by the water and watching it move.’
Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson riveted the discourse of history through his essay entitled Nature. He wanted people from all walks of life to sense what today we consider Interbeing. By witnessing the connection of all things, we gain a deeper understanding of our place in the natural world, a metaphor Emerson aptly named the Transparent Eyeball; absorbent rather than reflective. Taking in everything from our surroundings without preconceived notions. Myles Brown now carries the torch of humanism. Channeling his own vision through the lens of an earthbound iris.
A shooting star fell on the final night in the valley. A brief but luminous flash of silvery blue fire streaked almost straight down towards the darkening ridge line. It was here and gone before I could even point it out. But it was completely irrelevant to a heated debate of Who would win in a fight: Jimmy Neutron’s Ultra Lord from vs Turbo Man from Jingle All The Way. There’s ten bonus points for anyone who can appreciate both references.
In this timeline, it’s easy to become hamstrung by measuring the value of our experiences. As if the most significant occurrences only occur over weeks, months, or even years. Worse still, these moments become weighed against a certain lack of time rather than spending the seconds that matter most.
We could spend an eternity pondering all the wishes that could be made, or we can take those moments to live with the ones that have already come true.
As a personal disclosure, Myles Brown is nothing short of a conduit of divine timing in my own trek into this expressive world. In the existential quagmire of COVID toppling our day-to-day norm, he was someone that helped me realize that my life wasn’t stapled to the ordeals presented by the hardships of the pandemic. Myles taught me how to shoot video, better understand photography, and write out the relationships between shutter, ISO, aperture, etc. He introduced me to many of the icons that you may see in Richmond lore. When I started to write more, he was a singular source of support. You can see that in my previous entries penning the Journey Arc. Even the banner video for this page has been curated by the cultural architect of this piece. Beyond the technical components, when the cameras aren’t rolling, he’s been there through every form of adversity. Just today, as I’m writing this, a car crashed into my place of work. I responded to injured passengers, and thankfully, everyone was okay. He talked to me on my way home, bringing a sense of peace to a chaotic moment. The sum of this is a deep appreciation for an excellent colleague and a luminary soul. We all have our path into a world of free expression; this is mine. To share this next part is not some act of gratitude but more of the rock-solid belief in Myles’ increasing impact.
Because of these things, I’ve taken the initiative to nominate Myles for the Forbes 30 under 30 award. I just wanted to share a brief excerpt of that nomination to encapsulate this figure:
What was once a distant ping slowly began scrolling with a dull thud and then suddenly transcended into a loud, ubiquitous boom from every available speaker. This meteoric crescendo is being orchestrated in back alleys, foreboding woods, and unassuming parking lots. His path isn’t laden in gold, and his screen isn’t silver, but that’s the difference between diligence and decadence. Somewhere you haven’t heard of, a trail is being cut. And it’s tiresome work, taking longer than others and yielding lower quantities. Still, the result is superb, trading a gilded veneer for something more precious than metal. An intangible quality Mylo seeks to pass on to the viewer.
No matter the hand dealt, Myles Brown plays to thrive. Flipping obstacles into windfalls and paying it forward. There is no doubt his resolve is both profound and as it is magnanimous. It may just be a job and a business with exponential growth on the outside, but it’s never just that. There is always an element of something more in each delivery. It allows the audience to access something inarticulate but vital nonetheless. Hidden deep within ourselves is a particular affinity for something beyond our imagination. By tapping into those elusive inner mechanisms, we can truly discover the world for ourselves. By expanding our consciousness in principle, we find that its reaches are infinite.