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My Art Installation KICKSTARTER is up!

My first Kickstarter Campaign, for my first art installation at the Brattleboro Art Museum, “Transmuting the Prosaic”,  is nearing completion! It’s going well, but if it really goes, it will have a profound effect upon my future work. I have an agent working to get this installation to other art museums/venues.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/559618439/transmuting-the-prosaic-film-conceptual-art-and-mu?ref=ksr_email_creator_launch

There are two elements to the installation: 

1. My film Davis Square Symphony;
2. Five of my “Modified Vinyl” conceptual records.

Then I will be artist in residence for three nights:

1. Artist talk;
2. new music for solo electric guitar;
3. music for string quartet (and turntables!).

To make sure this happens, this is my first Kickstarter campaign. There is a video of me explaining what the installation is, and why I’m starting the Kickstarter. And of course, a slew of interesting “Rewards” for your contribution.

Please share this if you can! I am counting on this Kickstarter succeeding to create the artwork.

And here is a link to a very short video where I example how I have altered a lap-steel guitar to become a portable prepared piano:

Thanks for reading.
Roger.

P.Island Feb24:17 copy 2                            Two years ago, Plum Island, MA. Photo: Debra McLaughlin.

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Winter 2018/2019

 

Trinary System:

Mixing is finally getting completed! Excited!
LP due out by June 2019 on Feeding Tube Records! Excited!
Cover art will be by Wayne Valdez. Excited!

Trinary System at Sonelab Studios, Meat for Tea, 2015. Photo: Austin Rutledge.

 

Alloy Orchestra winter gigs: 

Feb.1: World Financial Center, NYC. Underworld.
Feb.22: Topeka, KS. Silent Film Festival. Metropolis.
Feb.28: Hartford, CT. Phantom of the Opera
Mar.3: Somerville Theater, Somerville, MA. Metropolis.
Mar. 19: New Jersey. Speedy.

Here’s an interesting interview w/Mr. Miller which starts with Mission of Burma then slants heavily to Alloy Orchestra.

      Cheloveks kino-apparatom (1929) aka The Man With a Movie Camera Dziga Vertov

 

Kickstarter:

Miller’s first Kickstarter campaign is now up and running! It will be for his spring 2020 art installation at the Brattleboro Art Museum. The funds will be used for the following purposes:
1. To complete the film the Davis Square Symphony;
2. To create five different “Modified Vinyl” pieces to be hung on the wall and acquire five turntables w/headphones to be positioned in front of the pieces on the wall, to play them on;
The next two are for when he is artist in residence there:
3. To assist in acquiring gear for his updated Elemental Guitar work, which will feature two or three inexpensive lap steel guitars fixed together to become a sort of portable prepared piano. Most of this music will be created using his Dream Interpretation technique;
4. To create 2 records and purchase 2 Direct-Drive turntables for his composition “Music for String Quartet and 2 Turntables”, where the string quartet will interact with record noise and recordings of itself. Miller will operate the turn-tables in the performance.

Miller’s agent is working to get this installation traveling to other museums.

Initial Etching of Bach Fugue #16.

 

As a Composer:

Three compositions premiered at Tufts University on September 28, and were performed excellently by the Ludovico Ensemble. Here is Miller’s composition “Rocks Music for Solo Cello”. Small rocks thrown against a garage door were analyzed for the first section, while a rock in his backyard in Vermont was used to structure the main body. Of course there is a pun on the word “rocks” – this was written for cellist Benjamin Schwartz who is as big a fan of Mission of Burma and Minutemen as he is of Iannis Xenakis or John Cage.

Leo Eguchi, Cello (Ludovico Ensemble), at Distler Performance Hall at Tufts University

 

Surrealist Games:

Feb.14: Valentines’ Day. Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT.
It always brings me great joy to see groups of people, many who do not consider themselves artists or poets, create new work. With Surrealism in charge, anything is possible. It’s a great ice-breaker to boot, hence a Surrealist Valentine’s Day in Hartford.

Miller’s surrealist frottage drawing used for the cover of the Readercon 16 Booklet.

 

Anecdote:

My father, Robert Rush Miller, studied “fish that live in the desert” (he was an icthyologist/paleo-icthyologist), so a good chunk of my childhood summers were spent in that environment, wonderfully in the middle of nowhere (can you tell me where Jones Valley, Nevada is?). By 1969, our (my brothers Laurence and Benjamin and I) interest in creating music with guitars got the better of things. Here I am trying to find a new riff by a dried up wash with the old Silvertone acoustic.

Photo by Robert Rush Miller.


Fall 2018

As a Composer:

Thurs. Sept.27, 8pm, at Tufts University. Free!

This is Miller’s first concert entirely focused on his chamber work.
——–Three premiers:
Solar System Sonata (for piano and string quartet);
Three Skies (for viola and piano);
Rocks Music (for solo cello).
——–Plus:
Snakes Dream Sky (viola, piano, percussion, altered sounds) and
In Natura (for clarinet, violin, prepared piano, modified nature ambiences).


 

Alloy Orchestra:  

September 30:
Hamilton College F.I.L.M. program, Clinton NY. MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA (Russian avant-garde); THE GENERAL (Buster Keaton)
October 8:
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA.  COEUR FIDELE (Dark French romance)
Oct.16 – Oct.30:
Midwest tour. (Columbus, OH; Chicago; Milwaukee; Omaha; Lincoln, NB; Iowa City; Webster Groves, MO; Nashville; Tuscaloosa, AL.)
Dec.1:
San Francisco Silent Film Festival. The Castro Theater.

Alloy Orchestra smites Again!         L to R: Roger, Terry, Ken. Drawing by R.Miller

 

Trinary System: 

The band was derailed in mixing the new album over the summer, but is planning to complete mixing before the end of 2018.

Trinary System playing “See You” at Thunder Road on Aug.17. Video by Will Regano.


——–A 

A Night of Surrealist Games:

Thurs., Nov.15, 2018. 118 Elliot in Brattleboro, VT.
Miller is jumping back on the surrealist bandwagon, looking forward to opening minds of the masses.
Tickets and info HERE.

Previous Exquisite Corpse Result

———

As an Experimental Film-Maker: 

The Davis Square Symphony score is being recorded instrument by instrument. Hoping to have it completed by the end of Dec. So far ‘cello, stand-up bass, french horn, trumpet, clarinet and flute. The film will be part of an installation at the Brattleboro Art Museum in spring 2020 along with five of Miller’s modified vinyl pieces, and very likely at film festivals.

Roger at deCordova Museum.  (D.McLaughlin)

———–

Anecdote:

My sister Francie, like many in my family, was a zoologist. She studied primates before she taught biology at UNO. In 1966 or ’67 she did a neo-Jane Goodall thing, spending nine months in Rio Muni (now called Equatorial Guinea) in Africa, studying a troop of monkeys in the jungle. Just her and an African guide with a machete most of the time. When she came home, she brought back 4 monkeys! A chicken-wire fence was installed in the back yard of our Ann Arbor home, and the monkeys (Katie, Kobo, Ka’a, and Chitfung) moved in. She would sometimes take them out and let them play in the yard and with us kids – but they always came back because they had bonded with her. She was a pretty amazing sister, and is still very much missed.

                                                                                Francie and 3 of 4 monkeys.


And:

Here’s Deb on our summer trip to the Four Corners region of the US. The place is stunning – you can see deep time in the rocks.

Deb in Bryce Canyon, Utah.


Summer 2018

Thurs., Sept.27, 8pm at Tufts Music School in Medford, MA. Free!
Tufts Music School presents a concert of Miller’s chamber music.
Three premiers: Solar System Sonata (for piano and string quartet); Rocks Music (for solo ‘cello); Three Skies (for viola and piano).


Trinary System:

HERE is Trinary System’s version of Robert Fripp’s King Crimson song, RED. Why did they learn it? Because they could.
The band is in final mixing phase for their first full-length. Rawer and more immediate than their previous psychedelically swampy release.
Summer Shows:
July 21: Framingham, MA. Exhibit “A” Brewing street party: Demo Tape Fest.
July 29: Greenfield, MA. First Annual Psych Fest at Hawks and Reed Performing Arts.
Aug.17: Thunder Road, Somerville, MA. With Count Zero and Chris Brokaw Band.

Miller hammering the song “Dave Davies” with Trinary System at the 9:30 Club, Washington DC. Photo by Roxplosion.

———–

Conceptual Art:       

Recording the score for Miller’s first experimental film “The Davis Square Symphony” begins on July 2 with Cello, French Horn and Trumpet. The completed film will show at film festivals and at Museum Installations.

Miller’s conceptual vinyl piece “POP Record/evolving” was taught this spring in “Sound Studies and Sonic Arts (Master of Arts)” at Universitat der Kunste, Berlin. This bodes well as he is planning on creating more Modified Vinyl pieces over the next year.

POP Record Cover: xerox deterioration of black, 1982

———–

As a Composer:   

The Tufts Music School will present a concert entirely of Miller’s chamber music compositions on Sept.27, 2018. There will be three premiers: “Solar System Sonata” for piano and string quartet; “Three Skies” for viola and piano; and “Rocks Music” for solo cello. All of these scores are highly organized by natural phenomena.

Page I, Movement III, from “Three Skies”.

———–

Alloy Orchestra:

The group will spend much of this summer completing and rehearsing two new films to premier at Telluride and play throughout the coming year.
Summer shows:
Aug.11: Mass MoCA (Rudolph Valentino’s Son of the Sheik)
Aug.29-Sept.4: Telluride Film Festival, Telluride, CO.

New Alloy Orchestra T-shirt!

———–

Frottage Drawing:       

A series of 6″x6″ origami paper frottage drawings were done from the various locations that Miller shot the Davis Square Symphony. Folding the surfaces of the locations onto themselves to create a new reality.

Origami Paper Frottage #1 May 9, 2018. (Surfaces used: sidewalk, wood on walls, 2 manhole covers)

———–

Mission of Burma:  

“Invisible” is the only song recorded for The Obliterati album not to appear on that album – perhaps the title was prescient? It is none-the-less a somewhat unique song in the band’s catalog, incorporating dub effects and a nod to Dr. John’s spooky first album “Gris-Gris”.  

It is not legal to post the mp3 because it is owned by Mission of Burma, but HERE is the link to purchase with about 30 seconds of the song.

 

Sgt. Rock comic from the ’60’s.

———–

F.U.K. (1977 pre-Burma punk-rock):      

The crushing 1977 proto-Riot Grrrl archival 7″ from F.U.K. gets the feature treatment from Dusted Magazine. A very interesting philosophical article.
It can be purchased HERE from the label, or from Miller at shows.

Back cover of F.U.K. 45.

———–

Anecdote:

When I was in 10th grade, I painted psychedelic lettering posters for The 5th Dimension Club in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They were displayed in the small door marquee advertising the coming week’s shows: Amboy Dukes; SRC; The Thyme; The Rationals; Frigid Pink, etc… I didn’t get paid, but I got in for free to any concert I wanted except the big ones which I paid for: Jimi Hendrix; Pink Floyd, Mothers of Invention. So just about every weekend I’d be in the club, absorbing ideas and skills from bands a few years older than me.

One of my earliest experiences there was as follows: 

L.B., the kid who I learned the psychedelic lettering technique from, was the lead singer for a small local band. A couple of the guys in the band were on the “dubious” side, but I was there to take it all in and learn. During their 10 minute version of “Hey Joe” (didn’t everybody do it that year?) the guitar solo was very peculiar – it seemed to mostly consist of semi-regular percussive attacks. Curious. Finally, of course, the guitarist smashed his guitar (didn’t everybody do it that year?).

After the show somebody’s Mom came into the club quite mad, claiming that the guitarist had stolen her son’s guitar. There was a bit of a scene, and it was during this scene that I discovered that the odd guitar solo was the result of the kid systematically stapling all the guitar strings to the neck before he smashed the (stolen) guitar. All in all, a learning experience.

The Sky High Purple Band, May 1967. Left to Right: Dave Rogers; Ben Miller; Roger Miller; Tom Grimes; Larry Miller. Photo Francie Miller. (Same basement as the F.U.K. cover!)

———–

Photos from our Southwest trip May 2018: 

Roger and Chance at 10,000 Feet above sea level.

Roger and Deb at the Grand Canyon.

 


Spring 2018

F.U.K. (Fucked Up Kids, 1977)  

Release date:  March 21, 2018, on Hozac Records.
A nice review in Raven sings the Blues.
One can order from Hozac or purchase from Miller at shows…
“Here’s this chugging 2-chord riff coming at you, and then it bursts into a guitar solo that sounds like a wet robot frying in a vat of acid.”
It was Oct. 1977, and Miller had long decided not to join the Ann Arbor band Destroy All Monsters. But his band Red Ants had already bottomed out in four completely different incarnations. So he decided to put one last band together before he moved to Boston. He named it F.U.K. (Fucked Up Kids) in a quasi-parody of D.A.M. (Destroy All Monsters). In a quasi-parody of punk rock, most members of this one-off band could barely play their instruments. They played one show, on Halloween, at The Cube in Ann Arbor, MI. It was a very fun mess. The song Road Kill was performed extremely sloppily at that show, and Miller recorded this version with Sue Rynski in Dec. of that year. The B-side, I Got A Head, was one of 5 or 6 songs which he wrote as fast as possible whilst listening to the first Ramones album three times in a row in the summer 1977.

FUK

Singer Sue Rynski on F.U.K. cover

—————-

Trinary System 

All overdubs are done for their first full-length album: only mixing remains. They will likely release their version of King Crimson’s 1974 classic “Red” as a pre-release freebie.
—–Spring shows:
June 8, Fri: The Root Cellar, Greenfield, MA
June 9, Sat: On the Ground, Townsend, VT

Tim Bugbee

At the Sinclair, Boston. Photo Tim Bugbee.

—————-

Alloy Orchestra

—–Spring shows:
April 15: Beverly, MA
April 21: Ebertfest, Champaign, IL
May 4: AFI Silver Theater, Silver Spring, MD
May 6: Maryland Film Festival, Baltimore, MD
June 19: Walter Reade Theater, Lincoln Center, NYC

Alloy T-shirt

New Alloy Orchestra T-shirt!

—————-

Mission of Burma

***  “Vs.” was recently listed as one of the 10 best post-punk albums to own in vinyl.

June ’80 at The Channel. Photo Richie Parsons.

—————-

Other:

Miller will be performing solo (guitar/voice) for an Amnesty International benefit on Sun., Mar.25, at the Aeronaut Brewery, Somerville. Miller will perform songs he’s written starting in 1967 (2 years before Sproton layer) and ending in 2018. That should be “quite a trip.”

Miller will be sitting in on keyboards (as he has happily done many times before) with the venerable improv. group Club d’Elf at Lizard Lounge on Fri., Mar.31.

 

Anecdote

Ryles, a club I didn’t frequent much, is closing in Cambridge. Still, they promoted local musicians and gave non-rock bands a place to play. One more club gone.
Some years ago I was scouting for vocalists at Ryles for a film I was scoring, “You Don’t Know Dick”. It was around Halloween and costumes were requested, so I went as “death”: completely robed in black with a very white “The Scream” face mask. I sat in the back of the room, and as I knew no one there I just listened. People started to get very uneasy about my presence – death just sitting in the back of the room, saying nothing. Towards the end of the night a couple guys, after more than a few beers, came up and started provoking me. I had nothing to say really, but they got more and more worked up. Finally I realized there was a possibility of violence and that maybe it was time to act more “alive”, so I perked up and managed to defuse the rising adrenalin in my corner of the room. Close…
The other time I was at Ryles was a great show by Lookie-Lookie where Deb and I danced the whole night.

Deb Ipswich

Deb on Plum Island, Nov.2017


Wintry 2017/18

Trinary System:

——————— ———– – Upcoming Gigs:

Sat., Jan.6: Brooklyn, NY.
El Cortez. Headlining with Munic Hoof opening.
Sun., Jan.7: 9Washington DC.
9:30 Club. Opening for Boat Burning 100 Guitar Orchestra.

The band will be mixing their first full-length at Kimchee Studios in February.

Hasslefest 2017. Photo Ben Stas.

———–

Alloy Orchestra:

The Fall touring season is over, and winter is usually spare. But the group has the following shows going into the new year:

Jan.25: Keene, NH.
The Black Pirate.
Mar.3: Somerville Theater, Somerville, MA.
Two shows: The Lost World and Page of Madness.
Mar.9 and 10: Cornell Cinema, Ithaca, NY.
Two shows: Strike! and The General.

L to R: Roger, Terry, Ken.

———–

F.U.K.:

“Road Kill” (with singer/lyricist Sue Rynski) and “I Got a Head”, both recorded in Ann Arbor, MI, in 1977, will be released as a 45rpm on Hozac Records. Miller played all the instruments (yes, it sounds like punk rock with Eno sitting in). This is definitely a curious artifact. Release date not yet set, but probably Spring 2018.
——–————————-————-—————-“I don’t need a rifle to be an American Hunter.
——–———–————-————-
—————-All I really need is my shiny front bumper!”

Road Kill/I Got a Head front cover on Hozac.

———

The Davis Square Symphony:

The fine cut has been critiqued by a select few. Ideas are being compiled. Completion of the final cut will happen in Jan/Feb.

———

Living:

The Bathroom Upgrade is finally Done. We have officially been potty trained. Now I can’t wait to get into second grade so I can make stencils of leaves with a paint-soaked toothbrush over a metal screen.

Trash Removal. It’s Gone.

———

Minor Anecdote:

The mind-bending 2.5 minutes that changed my life on the Ed Sullivan Show (“I Want to Hold Your Hand”) nullified my positive feelings about piano as a 12-year old. Yet I took up French Horn entering Jr. High, and kept studying piano, and (of course) started guitar. Who knows why anyone does what they do… Once the Doors and Pink Floyd kicked in, keyboard was cool again. Not that the 9-year old pictured here had any idea what was going to happen in a few years…

Roger@Piano, age 9.

 

 

 

 


Fall 2017

Alloy Orchestra Fall Tours:

Sept.22 – Oct.6:
Hopewell, N.J.; New Haven, CT; Cedar Rapids, IA; Iowa City, IA; Lincoln, NB; Omaha, NB; Milwaukee, WI; Nashville, TN; Columbus, OH; Rochester, NY.
Oct.-Nov:
Forays to Washington, DC; Hamilton College, NY; Keene, NH; Silver Spring, MD; Baltimore, MD.

The band will mostly be playing their new score to A PAGE OF MADNESS, a 1925 Japanese silent which takes place entirely in an insane asylum. Half the time one sees things from the inmates point of view. Very psychedelic, and a perfect vehicle for Alloy’s more improvisatory work.

New Alloy Orchestra T-shirt!

————

Trinary System Action:

Nov.10: Ralph’s, Worcester, MA
Nov.11: Once Ballroom, Somerville, MA. Hasslefest with Pere Ubu headlining.
In Sept., vocal and acoustic guitar overdubs started on their first full-length LP. Overdubs will continue into December.

Hasslefest Poster 2017

————

As a Composer/Conceptual Artist:

The first pass of The Davis Square Symphony is nearly done. Miller not only scored but also shot and edited the entire film. This may account for the excessive time it is taking to complete the project. It’s almost there.
Miller is also revisiting his conceptual vinyl work, beginning with his 1984 record, POP Record/evolving. That record involved record surface noise ONLY, which wears away and is replaced by new surface noise. It was in two gallery shows which also featured Christian Marclay. Miller has come up with a number of new manipulations of the vinyl medium which he has begun preparing.

Gallery Show from 1987.

————

Fun World Productions:

Miller and Andrew Willis (Trinary System bassist) produced an EP for the Washington DC multiple guitar band BOAT BURNING. The same duo also produced the first Trinary System record, AMPLIFY THE AMPLIFIERS. They are available for production needs.
contact…

Fun World Productions, producing.

————

On the home front:

Our bathroom is nearly finished! The charm of an outdoor shower wears off after a couple of mandatory months.

Almost ready to Use!