Summer 2014

The Slaying of HumbabaThe Slaying of Humbaba

As a Composer:

This concert has been postponed until early 2015 due to the baritone vocalist getting an opera gig.  Delays are unfortunate, but all will be in place in early 2015.

                                    (Monday, Sept.22, The Callithumpian Consort (with Miller on guitar) will premier “Scream, Gilgamesh, Scream”
                                                                                                    at Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory.)

Scream, Gilgamesh, Scream (Punk Rock Piano Concerto) is written for piano, soprano voice, baritone voice, two percussionists, electric guitar, alto sax, bass clarinet, french horn, string quartet and synthesizer (bass).  This is a setting of the Babylonian “Epic of Gilgamesh”.  Miller’s take on the story is more about what happened to Enkidu, rather than Gilgamesh.  The music is quite barbaric: given that the Epic was composed 2,500-3,000 years B.C., and that “punk rock” is a subtitle, this may not be surprising.  But given the nature of the story, there are many lyrical moments as well.

Clarinetti in Natura (for two clarinets, prepared piano, and modified nature ambiences) was well received at its March 31 Southern Illinois University premier during the “Outside the Box Festival.”

CLARINETTI IN NATURA, March 31, 2014.

Bradford BallroomBradford Ballroom 1983.  Photo by Vernon Doucette.

As a Guitarist/Vocalist in Mission of Burma:

Mission of Burma will be on the West Coast at the end of August:

Aug.28:  The Roxy Theater, W. Hollywood, CA
Aug.29:  The Independent, San Francisco, CA
Aug.30:  Doug Fir, Portland, OR
Aug.31:  Bumbershoot Festival, Seattle, WA

For more information

 

Ukraine 2013Protests in Kiev from our trip in 2013.

As a Keyboardist in The Alloy Orchestra:

The band has three shows the end of June in, you guessed it, Ukraine.  Kiev and Odessa, i.e., the safe side of the country.  They were there last year and enjoyed it very much.  Never having been to Odessa or seen the Black Sea, this promises to be, in many ways, a very interesting trip.

July 12:  Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY.
Aug. 3:  Michael Moore’s film festival in Traverse City, MI
Aug. 9: Mass MoCA, North Adams, MA
Sept. 20:  San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

Midwest Tour starts the last week in Sept.

As a Camper:

D+R VTMe ‘n’ Deb hiking whilst camping in upstate Vermont.


Spring 2014

The Trinary System after the Act

The Trinary System after the Act

The Trinary System to play two shows in May

The Trinary System is breaking out again this May, like they did in May 2012.  The band is Lawrence Dersch on drums; P. Andrew Wills on bass and vocals; Roger C. Miller on guitar and vocals.  Some new songs have been added.

Fri., May 30:  STORE 54 in Allston
Sat., May 31:  Montague Bookmill, in western MA

BIKE! Video from TT the Bear’s, May 2012

 

The Mission of Burma documentary “Not a Photograph” was included in the Huffington Post’s 18 Documentaries you need to watch on Hulu Right Now.   We’re in there with the Stones “Gimme Shelter”, Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Look Back”, and “The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins”.  Pretty amazing – comparatively, we are almost nobody.

 

And the Surrealist Games continue:

Fri., May 2:  The I.C.A., Boston.
Sat., May 17:  Portsmouth Book and Bar, Portsmouth, N.H.

Article/interview in Seacoast Online for Portsmouth show
Mass MoCA’s photographs from the Feb.22 Surrealist Games event there.


As a Composer:

Mar.31, 2014: The “Outside the Box” festival at Southern Illinois University featured a performance of “Clarinetti in Natura”.  The composition is for two clarinets tuned 1/4 step apart, prepared piano, and a solid 9.5 minutes of modified and collaged natural ambiences.  It was very well received.

Miller is currently working on Half-Moon Pond.  This composition utilizes natural phenomena to organize a composition involving time-specific improvised gestures.  For String Orchestra.

Rothko Score I

Initial Score work for Half-Moon Pond

Half-Moon Pond Photo

Half-Moon Pond Photo

 

As a Guitarist/vocalist in Mission of Burma: 

Burma RegentRockin’ the Regent Theater, Feb.2014.

Shows upcoming this summer:

Mission of Burma playing the SLED ISLAND FESTIVAL in Calgary, Canada, on June 19.

Mission of Burma on the West Coast Aug.28-31.

Mission of Burma Web Site


As a Keyboardist in The Alloy Orchestra
:

The Spring Season is kicking in for another round of bringing silent film into the 21st Century:
March 28-30: AFI Silver Theater, Silver Spring, MD
April 12: Cape Ann Community Cinema, Gloucester.
April 19: National Gallery, Washington DC.
April 25: Roger Ebert Film Festival, Champaign, IL
April 27: Brandeis University, Waltham, MA.
May 11:  Maryland Film Festival, Baltimore, MD

Alloy Orchestra Tour Schedule

Alcazar Hotel, our fave in ClevelandOur favorite Cleveland Hotel, The Alcazar Hotel


Frottage Drawing:


Miller has not done much frottage drawing of late, but he did have two of his frottage drawings laser-etched onto his Strat.

Strat front

Strat back


At the top of 2014

As a COMPOSER:

Miller will be joining the Callithumpian Consort the first four Mondays in March, from 2-4pm, at the Gardner Museum in Boston, performing music by Stockhausen.  The compositions are defined by Haiku-like descriptions and are highly improvised.  Miller will play electric guitar.

Miller’s composition “Clarinetti in Natura” for two clarinets, prepared piano and an audio track made of 30 different natural ambiences will premier at Southern Illinois University in March as part of the “Outside the Box” festival in April.

The Feb.20 concert at New England Conservatory has been postponed to Fall 2014 due to over-extension of the Callithumpian Consort.  Miller’s composition “Scream, Gilgamesh, Scream” will still be included in that concert.

Miller's work-table for composing "Hillside Rock", for solo electric guitar.

Miller’s work-table while composing “Hillside Rock”, for solo electric guitar.

As a SURREALIST GAMES HOST:

Miller has reactivated Surrealist Games Night.  Miller is the consummate surrealist host and guides attendees through the drawing game, word games, and The Dream Game.  He also provides an appropriate soundtrack via his laptop.

Upcoming shows in 2014:

Sat., May 17: Portsmouth Book and Bar, Portsmouth, NH

Feb.22:   Mass MoCA, North Adams, MA.
Mar.1:   Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT.

1977 Exquisite Corpse drawing:  Laurence Miller, Roger Miller, Link Yaco,.

1977 Exquisite Corpse drawing: Laurence Miller, Roger Miller, Link Yaco.

As a guitarist/vocalist in MISSION OF BURMA:

Four February shows in place:
Thurs., Feb.6: Spaceland Ballroom, Hamden, CT.
Fri., Feb.7:  The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY.
Sat., Feb.8:  First Unitarian Church, Philadelphia, PA.
Sun., Feb.9:  Regent Theater, Arlington, MA

As a keyboardist in ALLOY ORCHESTRA:

Jan.25 at The Somerville Theater, Somerville, MA.  The film is “He Who Gets Slapped” and stars the amazing silent film actor, Lon Chaney.
Other shows upcoming.

Escaping the Disney Magic on the TCM Cruise, Dec. 2013.

Escaping the Disney Magic on the TCM Cruise, Dec. 2013.

AND SO FORTH:

Miller will complete DISRUPTION in January, the next film by Skylight Productions.  The last film he scored with Skylight was GRANITO, which helped convict Guatemalan Dictator Rios Mont of genocide.

Miller continues teaching Guitar Lessons out of his home.

 Ice in Debra's creek in VT.

Ice in Debra’s creek in VT.

New Mexico Hotel (detail).

New Mexico Hotel (detail).

https://www.facebook.com/rogerclark.miller


			

Fall Actions…..



The Alloy Orchestra is in full tour mode for the fall:
1.  Telluride (Coloroado) Film Festival, Aug.28-Sept.2, where they premier their new film.   http://www.telluridefilmfestival.org/
2.  Then on to Tromso, Norway, Sept.5-8, for the Tromso Internasjonale Film Festival.   http://tiff.no/en
3.  Then to their midwest tour, Sept.27 – Oct.15, with a recording session at Third Man studio in Nashville towards the end.
Alloy Tour Schedule:  http://alloyorchestra.com/tour-schedule

Alloy Orchestra smites Again

Alloy Orchestra smites Again

Mission of Burma has a midwest jaunt, Sept.12-15:
Pittsburgh, Columbus, Indianapolis (these last two cities are firsts for the band), ending in Chicago at the Riotfest Festival.  Schedule here.

Between the two shows at Maxwell's.  Photo: Debra McLaughlin

Between the two shows at Maxwell’s. Photo: Debra McLaughlin

Frottage Drawings continue to get made (see Frottage Gallery 2013).

Heslinki Botanical Gardens,

Helsinki Botanical Gardens, July 8, 2013.

The film Miller scored in 2012, GRANITO: HOW TO NAIL A DICTATOR, was nominated for the Emmy Award Outstanding Investigative Journalism—Long-Form in July, 2013.  Hoping it wins!
http://skylight.is/films/granito/

—————————————

Composing is an on-going process.
Currently working on both “Scream Gilgamesh, Scream!” and the Davis Square Symphony.

MLC Score #2 BLOG

Video for the Trinary System at TT the Bear’s in May, 2013 performing BIKE!


Summer Summer Summer

Sproton Layer at PJ's Lagerhouse in Detroit, June 2013.  Photo Mark Brahce (with assist by Benjamin)

Sproton Layer at PJ’s Lagerhouse in Detroit, June 2013. Photo Mark Brahce (with assist by Benjamin)

Sproton Layer, the Miller Brothers’ band from 1969-1971, has three more shows this summer.

Sproton Layer is not neo-psychedelic – it is psychedelic.
Roger on bass and vocals, Benjamin on guitar and vocals, and Laurence on drums.  Non-brother Steve Smith on trumpet.  Until our June 2013 shows in Michigan, which were exceptionally well received, the band’s last concert was 43 years ago.

Their album “With Magnetic Fields Disrupted”, recorded in 1970 and released in 2010 on World in Sound Records, has garnered high reviews from psych-heads who’ve listened.
Michael Azerrad described their recordings in his book OUR BAND COULD BE YOUR LIFE: “…a valuable document of an amazing band that sounded like Syd Barrett fronting Cream.”

See video: “UP” from Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, June 14, 2013.

July 2013 East Coast Shows:
Thurs., July 25: TT the Bear’s, Cambridge, MA
Fri., July 26: Mercury Lounge, NYC
Sat., July 27: Flywheel, Northampton, MA

(Literally), our Hotel in Amsterdam.

(Literally), Mission of Burma’s Hotel in Amsterdam.

Mission of Burma in Europe was quite fun, though the usual long drives and lack of sleep most nights must oft-times be ignored.  Started off sunny in London, not extremely common!  Best show we’ve ever had in Amsterdam.  Beautiful harbor-side scene in Hamburg.  First time in Scandanavia.  Enjoyed the Botanical Gardens in Helsinki (where I completed most of the below frottage drawing which was started in Hamburg).  Overall really great hosts everywhere.

My two main “things to do” on this tour were:
1. Read the really amazing book “The Origin of Consciousness in the Break Down of the Bicameral Mind”, by Julian Jaynes.  It is the first take on human origins that made it clear to me how “we” got from proto-human to actual civilization.  And how consciousness formed from there out of language.  It almost explains too much, and I’m pretty sure it’s not for the squeamish.  Stunning.
2.  Work on my composition “Scream Gilgamesh, Scream”, a setting of the Epic of Gilgamesh for 10 musicians, soprano and baritone voice.  The alternate title is “Punk Rock Piano Concerto” so you can imagine there is a fair amount of bad attitude in this baby.  If the music is often quite barbaric, it may be due to the fact that the story was composed close to 2000 B.C., pre-Babylon.

See my Tour Blog on the Mission of Burma FB site for more tour details.

Frottage started in Hamburg on July 4.  Not done yet.

Frottage started in Hamburg on July 4. Not done yet.

Alloy Orchestra setting up in New Mexico theater.

Alloy Orchestra setting up in New Mexico theater.

Alloy Orchestra is half-way through their new score for the fall.  They will premier the film at the Telluride Film Festival, end of August into early September.  Then play all over the U.S. (this side of the rockies) through December.

Score Map for VINES FOR MUSIC.

Score Map for VINES FOR MUSIC.

In June, Miller’s Composition VINES FOR MUSIC was performed at the New England Conservatory’s SICPP (Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice) event.  The piece was very well received by audience and performers alike.

NewMusicBox Review (July 2013):

Roger Clark Miller’s Vines for Music was an immediate stylistic contrast, and the musicians proved themselves totally ready for this pared down aesthetic. While Miller nods to Cage in the program notes because of the use of prepared piano, there is a more implicit resonance with Lucier and a piece like Still Lives in the use of shapes found around the house (in Miller’s case, vines attached to the garage door) as pitch contour. The transparent quality of the slow string glissandi and careful inside-the-piano work demanded a special kind of concentration from the players, which was beautifully met.

Camping in VT w/Deb.

Camping in VT w/Deb.

After camping w/Deb the week before Sproton Layer’s East Coast shows, I am hoping to be around almost all of August before the fall touring season kicks in.  That would be a luxury I rarely see.


Summer’s Rolling In…..

Roger on bass, July 1970.  Big Steel Ballroom, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Roger on bass in Sproton Layer, July 1970. Big Steel Ballroom, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

1.   Sproton Layer, the Miller Brothers’ band from 1969-1971, has five shows this summer.
Sproton Layer is not neo-psychedelic – it is psychedelic.
Roger on bass and vocals, Benjamin on guitar and vocals, and Laurence on drums.  Trumpeter Steve Smith (just off a couple gigs blowing w/Burma) will handle the trumpet duties.  The band’s last concert was 43 years ago.
Their album “With Magnetic Fields Disrupted”, recorded in 1970 and released in 2010 on World in Sound Records, has garnered high reviews from psych-heads who’ve listened.
           Michael Azerrad described their recordings in his book OUR BAND COULD BE YOUR LIFE: “…a valuable document of an amazing band that sounded like Syd Barrett fronting Cream.”
          June 2013 Michigan dates confirmed:

Fri., June 14: The Blind Pig, Ann Arbor.
Sat., June 15: PJs Lager House, Detroit
          July 2013 East Coast dates confirmed:

Thurs., July 25: TT the Bear’s, Cambridge, MA
Fri., July 26: Mercury Lounge, NYC
Sat., July 27: Flywheel, Northampton, MA

Ukrainian Tree Spirit.  May, 2013

Frottage Drawing: Ukrainian Tree Spirit. May, 2013

2.  On June 22 Miller has a solo frottage art show at the Milton Center for the Arts.  Besides hanging his work, he will do a lecture/interactive demonstration on frottage in the afternoon and perform “unplugged” solo guitar in the evening.

Vines4Music photograph/organic score.

Vines4Music photograph/organic score.

3.  ALSO on June 22, Miller’s composition “Vines4Music” will be performed at the New England Conservatory as part of the SICPP Festival.  The piece is for 3 pianists at one heavily prepared piano, 2 cellos, 1 viola, and 2 violins.  The music is based on how vines grew on his garage door – the organic structure of these vines provides the organization of the music.  How can Mr. Miller be in two places at once, one might ask?  Answer: not certain yet.

4.  Mission of Burma‘s gig at NYU was a blast with brother Benjamin Miller again sitting in/wailing on sax.  During the breakdown of “1970” Clint was stunned to hear TWO horns animalizing and noticed brother Roger Miller blowing trumpet whilst sporadically slamming his guitar to alter the feedback.  Mission of Burma will be going to Europe May 29 – June 7.

Kiev, Ukraine.  May, 2013.

Kiev, Ukraine. May, 2013.

5.  Alloy Orchestra‘s trip to Ukraine (as representatives of the American Embassy!) was quite interesting.  No joke: superb cabbage rolls and Beef Stroganoff.  Beer left something to be desired, but the horse-radish infused vodka was a bona-fide treat.  Ezvenitye Pazhalsta.  The group continues touring through-out the summer in the continental US of A.

6.  The very first Trinary System show on May 8 was a rollicking affair.  They performed BIG STEAM and a number of new songs, but the band is now on hold due to Mission of Burma and Alloy Orchestra and Sproton Layer’s touring schedules.  Plans for getting together and recording demos in December/January are in the works.


New things are Happening!

Roger at the MC Escher Museum in Amsterdam.

Roger at the MC Escher Museum in Amsterdam.

1. THE TRINARY SYSTEM:  May 8 at TT the Bear’s Place, Cambridge, MA. 
The Trinary System was formed to draw attention to Miller’s BIG STEAM 45.  That song plus new and older material (and a few covers) will complete the set.  They are preparing for a next recording session.  (No Mission of Burma songs will be performed…)
Miller on guitar and vocal, Larry Dersch (Binary System/Big Steam) on drums, and P. Andrew Willis on bass and vocal .
The band plans to take no prisoners.  What would be the fun of that?
Video for Big Steam, featuring Larry Dersch on drums.

The Band EULA will be opening for the Trinary System.  They’ve opened for Burma a number of times.

2.  Sproton Layer, the Miller Brothers’ band from 1969-1971, has added three more shows.
Sproton Layer is not neo-psychedelic – they are psychedelic.  Roger on bass and vocals, Benjamin on guitar and vocals, and Laurence on drums.  Trumpeter Steve Smith (just off a couple gigs blowing w/Burma) will handle the trumpet duties.  The band’s last concert was 43 years ago.
Their album “With Magnetic Fields Disrupted”, recorded in 1970 and released in 2010 on World in Sound Records, has garnered high reviews from psych-heads who’ve listened.
           Michael Azerrad described their recordings in his book OUR BAND COULD BE YOUR LIFE: …a valuable document of an amazing band that sounded like Syd Barrett fronting Cream.”
          June 2013 Michigan dates confirmed:

Fri., June 14: The Blind Pig, Ann Arbor.
Sat., June 15: PJs Lager House, Detroit
          July 2013 East Coast dates confirmed:

Thurs., July 25: TT the Bear’s, Cambridge, MA
Fri., July 26: Mercury Lounge, NYC
Sat., July 27: Flywheel, Northampton, MA

3.  Mission of Burma‘s recent 3-day jaunt southward was good American fun.  First time we ever played Baltimore – and worth every second!  The band is currently solidifying an 8-day European trip for early July.

4.  Alloy Orchestra, the silent film accompanying trio with Miller on keyboard and two junk-metal percussionists, is performing all over the map as usual.  Special notice goes for our 7-day visit to the Ukraine in May.  See you there!

Moonrise over White Sands National Monument, New Mexico.

Moonrise over White Sands National Monument, New Mexico.


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