Identified for drawing equally—and artfully—from bass, dance and pop music, Denver DJ/producer Illenium (born Nicholas Miller) presents his third studio album, Ascend. Constructing off of the dreamy soundscapes established on his first two full-lengths—2016’s Ashes and 2017’s Awake, each heavy doses of billowing vocals, lure breaks, helium synths and digital rumbles—Ascend veers in direction of the mainstream, embracing conventional pop constructions and heaps of featured friends (The Chainsmokers, Lennon Stella, X Ambassadors and others). However the spectacular factor about this album isn’t all of the glitzy names—it’s Miller’s refined manufacturing, which has by no means sounded extra refined or refined. There’s no competitors to your consideration right here. By letting the melodies breathe and the vocalists shine, Miller helps us recognize why he selected them within the first place. Take heed to alt-pop duo Bahari coo-ooh-ooh over muted drums (“Crashing”), admire Annika Wells’ soprano paired with a strumming guitar (“Unhappy Songs”) and take a look at to not tear up because the Portland group Echos sing over tinkering piano match for a lullaby (“Each Piece of Me”).