Saturday, July 31, 2004

Maximum Electric Piano
Roger Miller

Live at DC Space, 1988

This was something I recorded with a handheld mono cassette recorder sometime in 1988 while Roger Miller (sorta ex-Mission of Burma, ex-Birdsongs of the Mesozoic) was touring in support of I think his second solo album under the moniker of Maximum Electric Piano (the album being The Big Industry). As you listen to this, remember that this is one person (he has a soundman of course) with just a electric stringed piano, a digital delay and a sort of metronome to keep the loops in sync. Often the piano was prepared with clips and other devices to create some awesome effects. During this show, he did several covers including Hendrix's "Manic Depression" and Pink Floyd's "Astronomy Domine" that showed the range he was able to extract from the instrument. Unfortunately, some of the more interesting cuts like "Run Water Run", "Calling All Animals" and "Groping Hands" are just too long to include here. Also, sadly, the MEP albums are all out of print. Someone should put together a collection of some of the best MEP tracks for posterity.

"This Is Not A Photograph" is the only nod to Burma in the show, an early song of theirs that shows how one can get the Piano to sound like a guitar. It includes some banter with the audience at the end that's worth sticking around for.

"Freedom of Mind" is the title I gave this though I'm not exactly sure. It shows the ethereal side to MEP and provides some contrast to "Photograph". It is kind of more reminiscent of Birdsongs as well.

One thing about these recordings (besides the sound quality of course) is that there some sort of glitch at the beginning of each track that is an artifact of the sound editor program I use (I'm open for suggestions for better software!). When you use the enhancers in my software to cut out the hiss and brighten the sound, you get these artifacts. If it bugs you, you should be able to edit the attributes of whatever jukebox you use to start the track a 1/2 second after the start.

This Is Not A Photograph
Freedom of Mind

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