We’re nearly a year and a half removed from Mac Miller‘s death in September of 2018, and his fans and contemporaries alike are largely still reeling from the untimely loss of the young emcee. News of Miller’s passing landed just a month after the release of perhaps the most creatively ambitious work of his shortened career, Swimming. At the time, little did we know, Swimming was only one half of a two-sided concept Miller was in the middle of finalizing. Now, the second half, Circles, is finally ready to be heard in full—posthumously completing Miller’s legacy as his final album.
There’s a haunting quality to the Jon Brion-produced Circles in the first listen through. Sonically, the album picks up right where Miller left off: augmenting slick rhymes with emphatic live instrumentation, further actualizing his vocal prowess outside of rapping, and laying his own unique creative tropes against different musical backdrops that wouldn’t typically characterize a hip-hop record. The album often departs from the groundwork laid by its predecessor, offering yet another perspective on Miller’s talent. Though, all the while the listener is constantly reminded that Miller is no longer here, giving the record a somber, chilling tone amid summery melodies and psychedelic guitar riffs.
Circles, released Warner Records, is being welcomed by fan pop ups across the country. Three exhibitions celebrating Mac’s work will take place in Los Angeles, New York, and his hometown of Pittsburgh. Entry is free and all net proceeds from pop up merchandise sales will go to The Mac Miller Fund. Each pop up event will be open to the public from 12:00 – 9:00 p.m. local time. Hear Circles in full below.
Featured image: George Lange