Who knows what happened this last year… On Mar.14, 2020, my art installation “Transmuting the Prosaic” opened at the Brattleboro Art Museum and closed the very next day. My concerts “New Music for String Quartet and Dream Interpretations for Solo Electric Guitar Ensemble” slated for the ICA Boston, MassMoCA, The Warhol Museum and Rhizome DC in late March and early April all vanished. Who knew what was going to happen next? Nobody. And I got my first Moderna shot this March 20, 2021. What an odd time. Here is the song I wrote for the City of Boston, posted on April 9, 2020 (9.2 thousand views!). Who knew that the phrase “it’s only for a little while” could be so wrong…
I began recording “Eight Dream Interpretations for Solo Electric Guitar Ensemble” on March 16, 2021, at Guilford Sound in Guilford, VT. It continues for the next couple of weeks. Next up is completing the last two Dream Interpretations (#17 and #19). Then mixing. The album release (CD and LP) will be on Cuneiform Records, though the release date is not until Feb. 2022. Partially because…
The Fourth World Quartet: 1975.
The Fourth World Quartet was the brothers Miller (Laurence, Benjamin and Roger) along with Jack Waterstone. While at school in the middle of Michigan in 1975, this particular ensemble – piano plus three horns/electric guitar – formed and disbanded. The Fourth World Quartet covered The Art Ensemble of Chicago as well as Igor Stravinsky, and laid up free-jazz improvisation against/in association with full-on composition. All members composed. Amazingly, it was well-recorded by future Birdsongs of the Mesozoic member Rick Scott on the same Braun tape deck later used by Martin Swope for tape loops in Mission of Burma. This recording from a brief but fully mature ensemble will see the light of day late June, 2021, on Cuneiform Records. The Miller Brothers toiled in obscurity for years until Punk Rock hit, but this album, along with Sproton Layer’s WITH MAGNETIC FIELDS DISRUPTED (1970) and EMPOOL’s DO-DID-DONE (1977), helps correct that error. Speaking of Sproton Layer…
Sproton Layer: With Magnetic Fields Disrupted (the book)
Even more unlikely than the Fourth World Quartet release, two copies of the book “With Magnetic Fields Disrupted” (Ann Arbor Publishers, 1972) were sold to “an institution” for considerably more money than the $5.00 it cost to purchase upon its release. This book is the complete score for all twelve songs on “With Magnetic Fields Disrupted”, hand-written by Roger. Plus commentary on each song by Miller and artwork by Miller and long-time Sproton Layer associate Arnold Lelis. Incredibly hard to find, but worth every dollar.
Then there’s Always the Acoustic Piano
Because I have access to a grand piano these days (thanks again, Guilford Sound), I have been thinking about what this instrument means to me. Integrating all three pedals of the grand piano for maximum expression/sound ideas, in 2020 I composed four pieces, three utilizing harmony closer to the Renaissance, and one structured by a photograph of rocks on Mars. In early 2021 I began work on a more improvised composition, akin to my work in 1972-1974 (just before the Fourth World Quartet). This has been very inspiring to me, and reminded me of where part of me started.
And so on… into 2021
Deb and I are still alive on this Vermont mountain-side with excellent neighbors, a near-by art museum that put up my first art installation, and a world-class recording studio where I am recording my “Dream Interpretations” album. Spring is here, the snow is melting, and if the pond is still covered in ice, that can’t last more than a few days more at 60 degrees. So, all in all, still alive, ready to start kicking out the jams later on in 2021. Hope everyone else is well.