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All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Thu, March 28 2019 1:45 PM UTC +00:00.

Roger Clark MillerBy Roger Clark Miller
First created
Roger Clark MillerBy Roger Clark Miller
First created
$8,051
pledged of $7,000pledged of $7,000 goal
155
backers
3days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Thu, March 28 2019 1:45 PM UTC +00:00.

About

Hi there and welcome to my first Kickstarter! 

Most of you know me from Mission of Burma (guitar, vocals, composer) and/or Alloy Orchestra (keyboard, composer).  I've covered considerable musical territory with these and other bands for decades. But I am also a composer of chamber music, with performances at the New England Conservatory, Tufts University and elsewhere.

So... I am planning to redefine myself for the next phase of my career to focus on conceptual art as an avenue to deepen my ideas. With perhaps a little less touring! I hope you will join me for this journey.

This Kickstarter is for my first art installation: "Transmuting the Prosaic", which references the alchemical transformation of the mundane to a higher state, from March 15 - June 15, 2020, at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center. I will also be artist in residence during this period, performing for three evenings. 

The installation itself consists of two elements: 

I: "The Davis Square Symphony". For my first film, I shot Davis Square, Somerville, MA, from five different locations in the four different seasons. The score is for a full orchestra, with each season having a different harmony. Vehicles become strings, while pedestrians become wind instruments, bicycles become snare drums, and so forth. Using a post-John Cage composition approach of my own devising, chords and motifs I could never have consciously planned appear in true beauty. The mundane world of street traffic is transformed. 

From the POP Record/evolving 7"
From the POP Record/evolving 7"

II: Modified Vinyl. These works all play with the medium of records. The five pieces will be hung on the wall for viewing, and in front of each will be a listening station: a turntable with either a copy of the record on the wall, or a recording of the record being performed, or some audio variation related to the work on the wall. There will be headphones at each station, and instructions as to how to use a turntable! Besides being conceptually broad, I believe these works will be fun as well, and the interaction of the museum-goer via the listening station will amplify their experience. The first Modified Vinyl piece I made was "POP Record/evolving" (playable at any speed) in 1984. It was reviewed in Art New England along-side Christian Marclay's "Record without a Cover", and in 1988 was shown as part of "Extended Play" at the Emily Harvey Gallery in NYC (curated by Ursula Block and Mr. Marclay). In 2005 it was in the show "Needle and the Damage Done" in Toronto, again with Mr. Marclay. In 2018 it was being taught at a “Sound Studies and Sonic Arts (Master of Arts)” class at Universitat der Kunste, Berlin. 

III. Artist Residencies: The residencies include an artist's talk and two distinct musical concerts.

Miller at an Amnesty International benefit, by Wayne Viens.
Miller at an Amnesty International benefit, by Wayne Viens.

1. Dream-State Guitar. This is a new direction for my solo electric guitar work, related to my Elemental Guitar album (SST Records, 1995). I will be using looping devices extensively, which capture and repeat the patterns and sounds I play into them. I will also use a select group of "stomp-boxes", devices which significantly alter the sound of my electric guitars, resulting in a varied ensemble, the proverbial "one-man band/orchestra". The music will be composed via my Dream Interpretation Technique, where a specific dream organizes the form and feel of each composition. Those who know my work will not be surprised that it blends rock, classical new music, psychedelia,  electronic composition, ambience and more into an organized whole. Plenty of research, plenty of discovery... right in my own home. That's what gets me going. 

Altered Lap-Steel Guitar
Altered Lap-Steel Guitar

2. Music for String Quartet. In 2010, I began composing chamber music again, picking up where I left off as a composition major at California Institute of the Arts in 1976. For the 2020 residency, I selected a string quartet as being a practical and inspiring instrumental combination. The culmination of this evening will be a new composition "Music for String Quartet and Two Turntables." Here I will be the turntablist with two records I cut specifically for the composition. On some tracks, the record will contain record noise, on others, pre-recorded string quartet. In both cases, it is the back and forth interaction of the records and the live quartet that creates the piece.

Signals Calls and Marches Lyric sheet, corrected 2018.
Signals Calls and Marches Lyric sheet, corrected 2018.

The continuing theme in my artistic exploration has been the utilization of natural elements that are often rejected as being ordinary, mundane, or even unwanted: Electric guitar feedback, cracks in walls, the density of leaves, traffic patterns, the arc of tree-limbs, rock formations, noise in technology, cricket calls, waves and water lapping and storms... I try to transform these everyday things, opening up the doors behind them. The shape created by spray-bleaching a Tupperware top on the back of my black t-shirt appears almost mystical, but its origins are completely mundane. I don't see this as a contradiction: it is mutual interpenetration. 

What follows are three  Frottage drawings on 6"X6"Origami paper. See REWARDS!

REWARD! Origami Paper Frottage Drawing, Aug.21, 2018 #3: Davis Sq. shoot1 Tree bark, electrical box, street sign pole, cement pylons, sidewalk
REWARD! Origami Paper Frottage Drawing, Aug.21, 2018 #3: Davis Sq. shoot1 Tree bark, electrical box, street sign pole, cement pylons, sidewalk
REWARD! Origami Paper Frottage Drawing, Aug.21, 2018 #9: Comicazi shoot 1.Tree bark, recycle container, cement bank wall, after hours bank deposit
REWARD! Origami Paper Frottage Drawing, Aug.21, 2018 #9: Comicazi shoot 1.Tree bark, recycle container, cement bank wall, after hours bank deposit
REWARD! Origami Paper Frottage Drawing, Aug.1, 2018 #6: Comicazi shoot. Bank wall, tree bark, sidewalk, cross-walk sign
REWARD! Origami Paper Frottage Drawing, Aug.1, 2018 #6: Comicazi shoot. Bank wall, tree bark, sidewalk, cross-walk sign

Risks and challenges

The Davis Square Symphony is in the final stages of completion - it's just a matter of wrapping it up. However, it still requires a good chunk of time in the editing room! Some of the Modified Vinyl is more up in the air - two of these I have not fully tested, but I have a very clear idea of what I want to do. The Dream-State Guitar music already has a strong start (I wrote two compositions in December), so all that needs is the equipment I hope to acquire via Kickstarter, and the time to compose. The biggest work for the residency, "Music for String Quartet and Two Turntables", is the one that needs the most time to create. I will have to mock-up the tracks I will cut to the records, conceptualize their interactions with the string quartet, and imagine myself altering the records in real time. But I have done a lot of "mock-up work" already and I have a clear idea of what I want to do. And when I have these kind ideas, it is rare that they do not come to pass.

My Goal for $7,000.00 will fund the following:

The Davis Square Symphony:
Color correction, titles, score production, the creation of DCP copies.

Modified Vinyl:
Purchasing five turntables and headphones for listening stations; creation of seven records (each one of a kind); creation of three etched records (each one of a kind).

Dream-State Guitar:
Purchasing various loopers, devices, mixers; 2 more lap-steel guitars to alter considerably.

Stretch-goal #1: $9,000.00
This will help commission "Music for String Quartet and two Turn-tables", including the creation of the two records and two direct-drive turntables for this performance.

Stretch-goal #2: $10,000.00
Towards recording a Dream-State guitar album.

Thanks for reading! And thanks to Joanne Kaliontzis, Tim Bugbee, Wayne Viens, Michael McLaughlin and Bridget Toner for various images.

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    Dream-State 2019 Guitar Album

    This guitar album (digital only with extensive pdf booklet) presents Miller's current Electric Guitar work. Included are three Dream Interpretations followed by improvisations on his prepared lap-steel guitar and Fender Stratocaster: wood-shedding and research. Looping, preparations and unusual stomp-boxes create multiple instrumental sounds to create a full Millerian Orchestra from just two instruments. Sometimes propulsive, sometimes psychedelically ambient. One can hear the ideas forming: this is where his new approach to the electric guitar begins. Kickstarter Reward Only - not available anywhere else!

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    Piano Album: Prepared and Unprepared.

    This piano album (digital only with extensive pdf booklet) presents Miller's piano music as it currently stands. It begins with two homages to Erik Satie, moves on to his two DaDa "Hypertinas", Dream Interpretation No.4 for Maximum Electric Piano, and numerous pieces based on prepared piano, some live, some in the studio. Dream Interpretation #1 (for solo violin and recitation) is thrown in for good measure. As one might expect from Miller, it is a mix of rhythm, timbre, and the occasional beautiful melody thrown in to clarify that this is all intentional. Kickstarter Reward Only - not available anywhere else!

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    Thank-You Card only

    The Thank-You Card is a 6"X6" card from one of my (favorite) origami paper frottage drawings (see reward below). It has the image on the front and the name of the Kickstarter on the back. I will personally thank you on the back too!

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    Both the Guitar and the Piano Album!

    Miller's "Dream-State 2019 Guitar Album" and his "Piano Album: Prepared and Unprepared", (see above for details) both for only $15! Digital only with pdf.

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    Guitar and Piano album + Thank-you Card

    Miller's "Dream-State 2019 Guitar Album" and his "Piano Album: Prepared and Unprepared" (see above for details) plus the 6"x6" thank-you card will come to you in the mail, signed with a special thank-you from the artist!

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    POP Record/evolving 7"

    Signed copy of RRRecords 7" release of "POP Record/evolving" (long out of print). This is Miller's first "Modified Vinyl" work, and was reviewed along-side Christian Marclay's "Record without a Cover" in Art New England. Side A is a recording of record noise which wears away with each playing while new record noise appears, so it continually changes and never gets any worse. Side B is the score for 4 bars of a Bach Fugue hand-etched into the master lacquer by the artist, using a screw-driver. Comes with a personalized Thank-You Card! Limited: 8.

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    SCM Lyric Sheet/Print

    For the lyric sheet to Mission of Burma's 1981 EP "Signals Calls and Marches", Miller compiled all the words and listed them in alphabetical order. In 2018, he corrected the few words and spelling errors to make it 100% accurate. For this limited edition piece, the lyrics are debossed letterpress printed on high quality black paper, 11"X14", suitable for framing. The print references the Modified Vinyl piece "SCM Lyric Sheet” that is part of the exhibition, which has the same words etched into a 12" record. This reward also comes with personalized Thank-You Card!

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    Photograph: Roger Psychedelicized!

    8"X10" Photograph! Wayne Vien’s psychedelicized photograph of Roger performing at the Amnesty International Benefit, Mar.25, 2018, in Somerville, MA. Printed on Endura metallic paper, suitable for framing. See photograph on main Kickstarter page.

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    Sealed Solo Ace of Hearts LPs!

    1. NO MAN IS HURTING ME: My first solo album, a mix of collage work and early Maximum Electric Piano. It's definitely a flawed album, but it's long out of print and the master tapes are lost. Includes a cover of King of the Road by Roger Miller. Oh wait, aren't I Roger Miller?
    2. GROPING HANDS 12" 45: A 3-song EP for that big bass sound at 45 rpms, all the rage in the 80's. The oil tank in my house used as the bass drum does sound rather epic. The other two tracks were not included on the associated LP, The Big Industry.
    3. THE BIG INDUSTRY (technically not "sealed", but in the plastic sheathe it came in and unplayed): The album where my Maximum Electric Piano concept came to full fruition. A favorite of mine. Includes a cover of Manic Depression by Jimi Hendrix.
    --- These are all the same price - message me what you want. And thanks to Rick Harte for believing in me enough to put these out in the 80's!

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    Origami Paper Frottage Drawings

    "Frottage" is the French word for "rubbing", the technique developed by Max Ernst involving rubbing on surfaces to generate texture and form. The work was done in Davis Square, Somerville, MA, where Miller shot The Davis Square Symphony. The sidewalk, store walls, manhole covers, electrical circuit boxes, lamp poles, vines, etc. were utilized then refined at home in Vermont. Miller used Prismacolor Nupastel sticks on black 6"X6" Aitoh origami paper. Because their size is smaller than his usual Frottage drawings, they are more akin to Haiku: a simple idea expressed as clearly as possible. And it comes with a personalized Thank-you Card - what more could one ask? --- Please see these at the bottom of my Kickstarter Page. --

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    90 Minute Guitar Lesson plus Card!

    A guitar lesson with Roger C. Miller, via Skype or "live" in Vermont. They say he does know some stuff. Whatever your interests, Miller dedicates his knowledge to expanding your ideas in a lesson setting. Plus you will be sent a personalized Thank-You Card!

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    POP Record/evolving 12"

    This is Miller's first "Modified Vinyl" piece, reviewed in 1988 along-side Christian Marclay's "Record without a Cover" in Art New England. Side A is a recording of record noise which wears away with each playing while new record noise appears: it continually changes and never gets any worse. This will be cut from an original version of the record, so it is already a new variation on the work. Side B is the score for 4 bars of a Bach Fugue hand-etched into the master lacquer by the artist, using a screw-driver. Each record is unique. Comes with Thank-you card!

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    Altered Lap-Steel Guitar

    Miller's altered Lap Steel Guitar features heavily in his new guitar work, both in his chamber music and his Dream-State Guitar music. It starts with a simple Lap Steel guitar. But instead of playing it in typical lap-steel fashion, he treats it more like a Japanese KOTO or a Chinese "Ch'in", playing it with picks and bending the strings. A variety of preparations are applied to completely alter the sound, becoming a surrogate portable prepared piano. Miller will string it, supply preparations, and alter its appearance. Included is a 90 minute lesson explaining how to get the most out of the instrument. Shipping to be determined by location. Limited: 2.

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    Custom Song For You!

    You send me words and give me a general direction of what you'd like in the song. Or it can be instrumental, with you sending some themes, or just a general direction of interest. I will create a song in my home studio, and cut the vocals (if there are vocals). Instruments could be electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, altered Lap-steel guitar, keyboard, vocals. Song length will be a minimum of 2:00. I will send you a completed song in your choice of aiff or wav or mp3. (I will retain the "music" portion of the copyright). And you'll get a personalized Thank-you Card!

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    An afternoon with Miller in Davis Sq.

    An afternoon with Miller in Davis Square, starting at the pub where the idea came to him for his film "The Davis Square Symphony". Moving to the 5 locations where the film was shot, commenting on each. All the while creating an Origami-paper Frottage from these locations (at least one, two or more if that's what happens), which will be given to the rewardee at the end of the session. This requires warm weather and no rain! Plus he will bring a personalized Thank-You Card! This one has it all! Limited: 2.

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    A Night of Surrealist Games House Party!

    A Night of Surrealist Games in your own home or a location of your choice. I will host my classic "Night of Surrealist Games" for you and your friends and allies. Word games, drawing games, even a board game, all designed to free your mind. You can't help but make stuff happen! Travel fees will be added if the distance is more than a couple hours away, and if it's more than an hour away, please put me up for the night!

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    Solo concert at your house

    Have Miller play a solo concert in your own home (or home of your choice)! He is experienced at "unplugged" concerts (which really means solo without band). His repertoire is extensive as a singer/guitarist. Song list can be co-curated with the presenter. Past "unplugged" concerts have included songs by Mission of Burma, Sproton Layer, Trinary System, Pink Floyd, the Kinks, and from eras of Miller's work that are not known. Limit: 3.

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