Sproton Layer

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)

Work has begun on their follow-up World in Sound release, PRESS YOUR HAND AND THE WHOLE ROOM FLUCTUATES, for a 2018 release. This consists of unreleased recordings (1969-1971), a few from 2016/2017, and has cover art again by Sproton Layer associate Arnold “Sproton” Lelis.

The band’s 5 shows in 2013 were very well received.  They played a healthy dose of “With Magnetic Fields Disrupted”, recorded 1970, as well as unreleased material from 1969/1970.  Their last concert was 43 years ago (before their June 2013 Michigan concerts).

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.”

To hear Sproton Layer music, go HERE.

Live video from Blind Pig in Ann Arbor: The songs: “Up” and “Forest”


The reissue of WITH MAGNETIC FIELDS DISRUPTED on the World in Sound label from Germany, is now out.  Replete w/excessive booklet, 100% bonafide psychedelia, and vastly improved mastering.

With Magnetic Fields Disrupted cover, 2011, by Arnold Lelis.
Sproton Layer at the Little Theatre, Pioneer High School, Ann Arbor, MI.  May 1970.  L to R: Harold, Lar, Roger.

Ugly Things Magazine, Oct. 2011:
“I would rate Sproton Layer one of the most worth-while reissues of 2011, and it will drop the jaw of those who think they’ve heard everything from the classic psych era”. (Patrick Lundborg).

In-depth interview with Sproton Layer in It’s Psychedelic Baby.

Ear Candy Review: 4.5 out of 5:
“The remastered sound is punchy and intense. Plus there is a booklet packed with updated information on the band. Get this; let it sink in to your bloodstream.”

Wolfgang Reuther (World in Sound):
“…Sproton Layer is something totally UNIQUE … a mix between easy listening and epic, monumental freak sound!”

Freak Trio releasing Music, 1969, RCM.

In March of 1969, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Miller brothers Roger (17), Benjamin (15) and Laurence (15) had a mind-altering improvisation session on guitar, bass and drums in their basement.  They called it “Freak Trio Electric”, and none of them, or their views on music, were the same after this event.  A few days later, after repeated amazed listening to the tape (“Sounds like Pink Floyd cut with Captain Beefheart!”, wrote Roger in his journal), they decided to form a band.  Roger wrote many songs that Spring incorporating riffs and motifs from their improvisations.  Later that year they added trumpeter Harold Kirchen (brother of Bill Kirchen of Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen fame) and changed their name to Sproton Layer.  Benjamin and Laurence began composing around this time.

Ben at Big Steel Ballroom, Ann Arbor, 1970. Photo: Mark Brahce

Their music was most definitely psychedelic, with many songs based on the “Toke Mythology.”  The band played 20 or so shows in 1969 and 1970 before folding in the fall of 1970 due to the conservative direction rock music was moving.

In late summer 1970, they recorded an album’s worth of material with classmate Mark Brahce engineering, again in their parents’ basement.  This album, “With Magnetic Fields Disrupted”, was released 23 years later on New Alliance, along with a 45 from 1969 sessions, to very little notice.

In 2010, the German label World in Sound found out about the group, contacted Laurence, and agreed to re-release “With Magnetic Fields Disrupted” in higher fidelity.  And, to the amazement of the brothers, they offered to include a 24-page booklet with photos, song-lists, drawings, journal entries, and a history of the group.  The CD and LP was released Fall 2011.  Another album, including many other songs and improvisations, will be released in 2014 by World in Sound titled PRESS YOUR HAND AND THE WHOLE ROOM FLUCTUATES.

Advertisement for the book WITH MAGNETIC FIELDS DISRUPTED, 1972.

In the fall of 1970, through a bizarre series of twists (like getting sponsored by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research), Roger wrote out the music for With Magnetic Fields Disrupted in score form, and a book of the same name was published in 1972 by Ann Arbor Publishers. Roger painstakingly listened to the songs over and over and wrote down every note in score form, to the best of his 18/19-year old ability.

Sproton Layer

Laurence Miller

Benjamin Miller

Roger at Big Steel Ballroom, Ann Arbor, 1970. Photo: Mark Brahce
Lar and Harold at Big Steel Ballroom, Ann Arbor, 1970. Photo: Mark Brahce


I highly recommend you buy the World in Sound version rather than the New Alliance version: World in Sound is vastly superior in mastering and sound.
I believe brother Laurence has some copies of the New Alliance version – you could go to his website (there’s a link on the Yola Sproton Layer site) and get one from him there if you really want that.

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