Sunday, June 06, 2004

Roger Miller
Oh. guitars, etc
Forced Exposure (FE-014) 1988

Some folks might dismiss this as "more irritating than significant" -- but I see it more akin to some great Northeastern literary lion like Cheever or Updike releasing a collection of short stories, poems and articles. While Roger Miller first identifies himself with Mission of Burma -- in the seventeen year "break" he was putting out a prolific amount of music (see the link to him on the RHS of this page).

One of his pastimes has been experimenting with his instruments -- be they piano or guitar. Like his frottages, he creates new textures and contexts by layering the sounds he creates often to superb effect. Here he takes his jackhammer, screwdriver and detuning fork to his trusty old friend, the guitar. For the Burma freak, there's much here that is referential to those Burma collection. "We Grind" is a reworking of lyrics from Signals, Calls and Marches while "F.W.R." is a reprocessing of Burma's "Fun World" at faster and faster speeds until it is a mere blip. In someone else's hands this might come off as uninteresting and indeed the concept of it made me consider not even digitizing it. But after repeated listens, it stands on its own quite well.

Other cuts such as "Chinatown Samba" "Firetruck" (based on improvs with Peter Prescott) and "Forest" are mood-changing iPod treasures that will certainly brighten up the random shuffle. I've included "Chinatown S." as an example of these tone-poems -- you'll find it quite humorous, I think.

"Meltdown Man" is more on the metal machine music vein and consists of a conversation between several "prepared, detuned and octaved guitars" and perhaps may veer into irritating but in a good way. The only cover here is welcome -- a fine reworking of Sun Ra's "Space is the Place". Those who find the more experimental side of Sonic Youth happening should scarf this up.

It is available at a mere $7 from Forced Exposure in LP form or you can find it even cheaper at (just punch Roger Miller Oh into the search engine -- unless you want to browse that OTHER Roger Miller's output).

Chinatown Samba
Meltdown Man
(MP3s removed, as promised, on June 13th, 2004)

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