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.