“Dream Interpretations for Solo Electric Guitar Ensemble” is the most complex performance Miller has ever set for himself.
Four different guitars are used: a slightly modified 6-string, two lap-steel guitars (on legs) that function like prepared pianos, and one lap-steel guitar (on legs) that is tuned to unison “E” and is used as a slide guitar, but also is often prepared with objects such as a fork, rocks, business cards, etc.
Pivotal to the work is his new looping device, the Boomerang III, which is capable of looping/repeating up to three separate loops, each which can play in reverse, or shift an octave up or down. Along with a new series of sound-altering devices/stomp-boxes, Miller is able to layer up multiple parts simultaneously with a wide variety of tones. This is a live performance: nothing is pre-recorded.
All the compositions use his “Dream Interpretation Technique”, where he transforms dreams from his dream journal into music. The unconscious mind is expressed by extended techniques and attitudes in the electric guitars. We all dream.
Miller began this new work in late 2019. By early 2020, he had gathered all the equipment he needed (his Kickstarter campaign helped immensely), and by fall 2020 he had finalized eight compositions. A virtual concert video of this music aired on Oct.1, 2020, in conjunction with his art installation “Transmuting the Prosaic”, at the BMAC. There are four Dream Interpretations, followed by a Q+A by the director of the BMAC.
Initially this performance was to be part of his concert series at the ICA Boston; MassMoCA; the Warhol Museum; and Rhizome DC in March/April 2020. The concerts also were to feature his work for string quartet. Covid-19 neutralized these concerts until some as-yet-to-be determined future date.
From 1983-1988, he made extensive use of loops in his “Maximum Electric Piano” work, and again in the early 1990’s with “Elemental Guitar”. However, this new loop-based music takes things considerably further down that road.