Roger Clark Miller (who has simply been "Roger Miler" on many prior recordings) has a hell of a resume. He is best known for his guitar-playing in the experimental rock band Mission of Burma, which he co-founded in 1979. But he has also made piano-based music with Maximum Electric Piano, The Binary System and Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. Eight Dream Interpretations for Solo Electric Guitar Ensemble represents a unique approach to solo electric guitar. Inspired by his prepared piano experiments, Miller conceived this electric guitar ensemble as a more portable version. In addition to the standard electric guitar, foot pedals and looper, common in solo playing, he has added three lap- steel guitars (two prepared with alligator clips or bolts, the other tuned to a post-Glenn Branca full unison E). During performances he is able to reach all of the guitars and signal-processing devices, giving him the ability to create true ensemble music by himself.
The compositions combine traditionally notated sections with graphic notation and improvisation. "Dream Interpretation #16" opens the program with a mysterious low rumble, heavy on the reverb. Rock guitar riffs appear on top, then a locomotive rhythm drives a guitar solo (more than a bit reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix at his most experimental). Cut to pointillistic guitar, and conclude with heavy chords and a bit of backward texture. "Dream Interpretation #20" is awash with echo and backward loops, recalling Pink Floyd at their most psychedelic, before building to a massive multi-guitar climax. "Dream Interpretation #19" follows with a rhythmic ostinato right from the beginning, a perfect accompaniment to an expansive rock guitar solo. A delicate bridge section features ringing harmonics and deep slide sounds.
"Dream Interpretation #14" begins with what sounds like a distant choir, joined by a gentle bass line. "Dream Interpretation #18" covers a lot of ground in its nearly seven- minute run time: from a thick texture of spacey repetitive rhythms to a chordal interlude, to a new rhythmic pattern (spiced with prepared guitar sounds), to a return of the thematic lines heard earlier. "Dream Interpretation #15" concludes the album with huge cave-like reverb, populated by impossibly low sounds, chiming prepared guitars, and skittering glissandi. The music comes together around more repetitive patterns before fading out in a wash of echos. These dreams vary between three and seven minutes each, but they are information-rich. The dance between composition, performance and improvisation is unique, the end result of Miller's long journey into these lands.
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