Miller’s first art installation, “Transmuting the Prosaic”, opens on March 14, 2020, at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center. The work consists of two parts: his first film, “The Davis Square Symphony”, will run on a loop against the far wall of the room. On the left wall will be five of his Modified Vinyl pieces, some etched, some audio, some inked. In front of each will be a listening station to hear either a copy of the record that is on the wall, or audio relating to it. One of the Modified Vinyl records on the wall consists of all the lyrics to “Signals Calls and Marches” (in alphabetical order) inked ONTO a record. At the listening station, there will be a 7″ 45 with those same words isolated from the record and sequenced in quick succession, to be listened to while one reads them on the wall. It’s a real mind-bend…
“Four Bars of a Bach Fugue” on the back of the original “POP Record/evolving.” (1985)
March 26: I.C.A. Boston;
March 28: MassMoCA, North Adams, MA;
April 3: Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA.
April 4: Rhizome, Washington, DC. (Guitar only).
The concerts incorporate two directions in Miller’s current musical work.
1. Dream-State Guitar:
This is an updated version of his Elemental Guitar work from the mid-1990’s. With a customized Stratocaster 6-string, three altered/prepared lap-steel guitars, a new looping device (the Boomerang III) and many sound-altering devices, this is his take on a “One-Person Guitar Chamber Ensemble”. All the music will be structured by dreams, utilizing his “Dream Interpretation” technique. The unconscious mind is expressed by extended techniques and attitudes in the electric guitars.
2. New Music for String Quartet (with The Ludovico Ensemble):
The Ludovico Ensemble played Miller’s Tufts University concert fall 2018 excellently. The culmination of this concert will be “Music for String Quartet and Two Turn-tables”, where a pre-recorded 12″ record plays continuously to define the composition. This record utilizes primarily record noise (referencing his “POP Record/evolving” Modified Vinyl piece), sometimes raw, sometimes organized into beats and structures.
New England Conservatory in 2010. Miller’s first chamber music concert since CalArts in 1976. Photo: Bill T. Miller
Altered “Lap-Steel” Guitar, i.e., a “portable prepared piano”.
“Surrealist Games Night” keeps happening, and the games are always tremendous fun. First one this year will be Valentine’s Day, 2020 at Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT (2019 Valentine’s Day there was a total blast). Surrealism is the perfect ice-breaker.
Miller explaining games at Real Art Ways Feb.14, 2019. Photo: Debra McLaughlin.
Trinary System went into hibernation in October due to Alloy Orchestra’s dense fall touring season. But starting January, the band will begin working on new material and setting up shows for the late spring. They are gearing up to record their second album in summer/early fall 2020.
Reviews of “Lights in the Center of Your Head”:
“Trinary System continues the elegant, abstract, agitated firestorm tradition of Miller’s Burma songs, with an unmistakable swagger… ‘Infinity in a Box’ is a Rubik’s Cube of a song, full of sharp, shiny, colorful edges that align in abrupt, unexpected ways and then, just as suddenly, go out of joint… As Miller sings in the opening song, “I love chaos cos you get to see what new forms show up when the dust settles.” Lights in the Center of Your Head is a surprising amount of fun, intricate when it needs to be, but solidly anchored in rock-hard foundations of rock, funk and blues.” – Dusted Magazine, Aug. 2019
“If Burma at its best had the jostling, bounded chaos of a really physical basketball game, Trinary System is a bit more like pro soccer.” – Magnet Magazine, Sept. 2019
Cover for 2019’s “Lights in the Center of Your Head”. Image: Wayne Viens. Design: Joanne Kaliontzis.
And then there’s living life:
It has been an incredibly dense year for both Deb and I, but we seem to be blasting out of the woods and hoping for a more relaxed 2020. So much is going on it’s almost too much, but if one is hoping to chart new directions it doesn’t happen on its own…
Deb at our air b’n’b in Cerrillos, New Mexico in 2018, where I hatched the idea for “Music for String Quartet and Two Turn-tables”.