Ben Miller music  
       
Third Border

Broken Mirrors

Blackout in the City

Intercom

Unearthing

One Full Turn

 

Kerrytown, Ann Arbor, MI 2010
2010
2000
Sonic Circuits Festival, DC 2008
2010
 
 

Ben Miller/degeneration
Multiphonic Guitar w/treatment

Miller's degeneration explores "prepared guitar" as a form of sonic fragmentation. 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 down panned Left, and 2 inexpensive Piezo contact pickups at the Body panned Right and at the Headstock panned Left. Lastly, a Hexaphonic pickup in standard placement outputs each string separately with each string running through a different device. The aforementioned Humbucker that is suspended above the 1st Fret facing down picks up String Sounds from where the Strings are struck and the Nut (the opposite side from the usual vibration between the manipulated String and the Bridge). While these 5 pickups are deliberately panned full Stereo, many frequencies interact with each other and at times swap positions creating a naturally random complexity across the Stereo Field. Retaining this unique mulitple output, Miller adds a score of Guitar FX pedals, Casio SK1 8-bit sampling, analog tapes, transistor radio, and the liberal use of a Bixby Tailpiece - hence the blanket statement; "Mulitphonic Guitar w/Treatment".

Due to the Piezo pickups, String sounds occur below the bridge, above the nut, and from the Guitar body itself. 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 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. The use of a guitar pick and the traditional approach to playing a "Guitar Neck with Frets" is rare. The "Zoo"'s 6 strings are excited by active items such as a hammer, metal slides, combs, chains, restaraunt-style salt shaker, long screws, cello bow, eBow. It also uses prepared items such as aligator clips, binder clips, large springs, Ace bandage fasteners, vintage barretts and other found objects. Deep Listening and Trusting the Unknown is his modus operandi and it is with this unseen nature that Miller adheres to.

Concerts often use Visual Projection and Multiple Speaker setups for spacial enhancement. Spoken Narrative, Analog Synth and manipulated Vinyl sometimes accompany the mood. How many Cords? At his last concert, Miller counted 41. No Laptops allowed.

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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
"...it's been a long time since anyone has done Wisconsin Death Trip gothic on this level...bloodcurdling prepared-guitar breaks and squeals make the nightmare stick."
_ AGELESS, Chicago Reader 2000
"...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

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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.

Miller resided in the NYC-metro area between 2003-2014 touring the East Coast and Europe while collaborating with numerous musicians and visual artists. He prefers not to name-drop.

SOUND TRACK / DESIGN:
RaphaŽl Maze's Film for Music #11 / Ben Miller, 2013
Ofer MizraChi's Blurrer, 2012
Laurence Miller's Color of Water, 2011
Anne Carson's NOX Live performance @ ICA, Boston MA, 2010
Orin Buck's Light Dreams 5, 2009
Mehrnaz Saeed Vafa's Five Difficult Pieces, 2002

LIVE PERFORMANCE:
Raymonds' Bar with projections by RaphaŽl Maze and Gregory Robin, in Claremont-Ferrand, FR 2013
Moviate in Harrisburg PA, 2012
Kerrytown Concert Hall in Ann Arbor MI, 2010
Highwire Gallery in Philadelphia PA, 2010
Electric Possible in Washington DC, 2009
Dream Theatre in Ypsilanti MI, 2004

AVAILABLE RELEASES:
INTERCOM, OVER AND OUT, LAYER, SIRENS OF PHOBOS, LIVE PERFORMANCES & RADIO BROADCASTS, EYELANDS UNDER EYELID, POLAR SHIFTS, COLOR OF SOUND, and EMPTY / MARIANA TRENCH distributed in Japan via ART INTO LIFE, Downtown Music Gallery and on this website.

Contact Ben Miller at info@benmiller.info

 

© 2011 Ben Miller

Website by Orin Buck