Multiphonic Guitar w/treatment
Miller's degeneration explores sonic fragmentation - breaking Sound down to the lowest common denominator. First altered in 1982, "The Zoo" (a deconstructed Gibson Kalamazoo) was one of many oddities integral to the sound of Ann Arbor Michigan's willfully obscure GKW. This instrument is equiped with 1 Humbucker in standard placement panned Right, 1 Humbucker suspended above the 1st Fret facing downward panned Left, and 2 Piezo contact pickups at the Body and Headstock panned Left/Right. Lastly, a Hexaphonic pickup in standard placement outputs each string separately with each string often running through a different Effect.
The Strings are actively excited by Hammers, metal Slides, Springs, Combs, Chains, restaraunt-style Salt Shaker, long Screws, cello Bow, eBow and Found Objects. Stationary "preparation" such as Aligator Clips, Binder Clips, Ace bandage fasteners, vintage Barretts and other Found Objects are attached to the strings. The use of a guitar pick and the traditional approach to playing a Guitar Neck with Frets is rare.
The two Humbucker pickups provide Biphonic sound between the Nut and the Manipulated String vs. the Manipulated String and the Bridge. The Bridge is not saddled - instead completely smooth so that the strings are mobile and free to slide from side to side enhancing the instrument's erratic Microtonal sound. The six Strings are strung approximately a 5th below standard tuning. Sometimes a special Tuning is set up, but more often than not Pitch and Intonation are completely arbitrary. Due to the Piezo pickups, String Sounds occur below the Bridge, above the Nut, and from the Guitar Body itself. While all 5 pickups are deliberately panned in Stereo, many frequencies interact with each other at times swapping positions in the sonic field in a curiously random manner. Retaining a mulitple output, Miller adds a score of FX pedals, Casio SK1 8-bit sampling, tapes, radio, and the liberal use of a Bixby Tailpiece - hence the blanket statement; "Mulitphonic Guitar w/Treatment". How many cords? At his last concert, Miller counted 41. Deep Listening and Trusting the Unknown is his modus operandi and it is with this unseen nature that Miller adheres to.
Miller honed his prepared guitar approach with Chicago's DIRTY OLD MAN RIVER. Songwriter Julian Mills graciously let him have at it.
"...Miller's chainsaw hum sputters almost subliminally, lurking in the shadows of the mix."
_ THE SADDEST MOVIE SCREEN, CMJ 1998
"...this mad scientist claws at a modified, tabletop Gibson...It's squeaks, croaks, frequency disruptions and energy fields assassinate DOMR's compositions, knocking them sideways and diluting their cabaretish flair."
_ AGELESS, Jordan N. Mamone, NY Press 2000
At the turn of the Century under the moniker ben Miller/degeneration, Miller began solo performance releasing INTERCOM.
"If new expressionists closed their eyes and painted what they saw then Ben Miller must be taping shut his ears and playing what he hears; blood thrashing through arteries, nerves popping, synapses burning,..doors knocking, feet bounding up echoed stairways...Formerly a part of the 'anti-rock band' Destroy All Monsters, Miller takes the 'anti' idea a step further."
_ Melissa Giannini, Detroit Metro Times 2001.
While residing in the NYC-metro area [2003-14], Miller toured the East Coast and Europe regularly collaborating with musicians and visual artists. He provided live multiphonic sound design for NOX, a performance expounding on Anne Carson's book of the same name regarding her brother's life. NOX premiered in Boston, Miami, and NYC with Anne, Robert Currie and former Merce Cunningham dancers Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener.
“... the electric surges in Benjamin Miller’s score threaten to push past séance into horror-movie territory. Yet the way that a chaotic force seems to break through the classicism of the dancers’ Cunningham training is a fit analogue for the way that grief breaks through Ms. Carson’s erudite attempt to contain it.”
_ NY Times 2012
MULTIPHONIC SOUND DESIGN:
Hello Doctor Mesmer: Raphaël Maze/Ben Miller, 2016
Film for Music #11: Raphaël Maze/Ben Miller, 2013
Blurrer: Ofer MizraChi/Ben Miller 2012
Color of Water: Laurence Miller/Ben Miller 2011
NOX for Anne Carson's live performance, 2010-13
From Black and Light Dreams 5: Orin Buck/Ben Miller, 2009
Raymonds' Bar with projections by Raphaël Maze and Gregory Robin, in Claremont-Ferrand, FR 2013
Moviate in Harrisburg PA, 2012
Kerrytown Concert Hall in Ann Arbor MI, 2010
Electric Possible in Washington DC, 2009
INTERCOM, OVER AND OUT, LAYER, SIRENS OF PHOBOS, LIVE PERFORMANCES & RADIO BROADCASTS, EYELANDS UNDER EYELID, POLAR SHIFTS, COLOR OF SOUND, and EMPTY / MARIANA TRENCH.
Distribution: NYC's Downtown Music Gallery, Japan's ART INTO LIFE, Obsolete Units, Tigerasylum, and Living Records.
Contact Ben Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org