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Fri, Jan 12


Hawks & Reed

Roger Clark Miller: Dream Interpretations for Solo Electric Guitar Ensemble

Roger Clark Miller (guitars)

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Roger Clark Miller: Dream Interpretations for Solo Electric Guitar Ensemble
Roger Clark Miller: Dream Interpretations for Solo Electric Guitar Ensemble

Time & Location

Jan 12, 2024, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM

Hawks & Reed, 289 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301, USA

About The Event

Roger Clark Miller is best known for being the guitarist in Mission of Burma, where he expanded the vocabulary of rock guitar playing by incorporating elements of free jazz and 20th Century classical music. His "Solo Electric Guitar Ensemble" expands the vocabulary in a new direction, with or without rock music. Miller's involvement with loops began in 1979 when he asked Martin Swope to apply live multi-tracked tape looping to his Mission of Burma song "New Disco." Time got bent inside-out, transformed. For several years after Mission Of Burma, he then worked with his ‘Maximum Electric Piano’ concept, incorporating live looping with guitar pedals connected to a piano. Looping is pivotal to this current record too. He began conceptualizing his "Dream Interpretations for Solo Electric Guitar Ensemble" in 2018. He currently uses a regular electric guitar and three lap-steel guitars on stands, two of them loaded with alligator clips or bolts, the other to a post-Glenn Branca full unison E. Using bass and tenor guitar strings, this melted his previous prepared piano ideas into more portable guitars, resulting in percussive grooves, bass-lines, and similarities to the Chinese Ch'in. Combining looping technology with new guitar stomp-boxes, many in stereo, the sound palette is enveloping. By tightly following and translating a specific dream into music, a new type of structure was available: organic and personal, yet universal. Realizing the essentially surrealistic/psychedelic nature of dreams, the type of guitar sounds he was interested in now had an appropriate context. In performance, Miller sits in his cockpit, able to reach all four guitars and a plethora of pedals from one position. The music is highly organized while simultaneously often chaotic. There is improvisation as well as much reading of scores and a foot-dance on pedals It requires intense concentration to play these compositions, but they could not have occurred any other way.

Miller grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is the son of an icthyologist whose specialty was researching fish that live in isolated springs in the desert and comparing them to their fossil ancestors. Until he was 18, Miller spent part of every summer in the western U.S. deserts on these scientific expeditions. This has had a strong effect on his artistic outlook where the themes of nature, extremes, self-reliance, and a deep sense of time recur in his work.  He started piano lessons at age 6, studied French Horn in middle school and picked up guitar at age 13.

After becoming disillusioned with rock music in the mid-’70’s, Miller attended music school as a composition major. A formal introduction to surrealism and music theory still left him wandering, though better prepared for action.

In 1979 he moved to Boston and co-formed Mission of Burma. Since 1980 he has released over 50 albums, ranging from the aggressive avant-punk of Burma to piano-based music of Maximum Electric Piano, The Binary System and Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. Never content with a single genre, Miller has covered much territory between those two extremes in solo and ensemble endeavors. His work explores the edge of music combined with a physical performing style and a hyper-active imagination.

Miller is also a conceptual/sound artist. His first art installation in this direction, “Transmuting the Prosaic”, was at the BMAC in Brattleboro, VT from March 15 – Oct.12, 2020, and at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth, NH, in from Dec. 2022 – Jan. 2023. As well, he is a visual artist utilizing Max Ernst’s Frottage technique, and has been in numerous shows selling his work.


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