By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
Shortly after the turn of the century, Miller started concentrating on electronic music. He formed Grid with Bates in 2001. In 2002, he sold his bass gear, bought a Mac, and hasn't looked back since. (He does still own a few choice pieces of hardware, including a vintage Roland Juno 106 synth.) Apart from the occasional skittering beat, neither Dowry nor Natura offer so much as a glimpse of Miller's d 'n' b history. Same for the 2006 collection Atlantic Blood, which found him remixing the likes of Dosh and Fog.
His weapon of choice is MAX/MSP, an extremely powerful software package with a learning curve steeper than the Washington Monument. Miller builds all his sounds from scratch, guaranteeing a healthy measure of originality out the gate. Then he composes. "I always start out with something loop-based," he says, "often, the core of the track. I let it play over and over and write around it. Then I go back to the original part, which, by then, is usually fucking bugging me. Sometimes, I'll do variations on that part. I'll just let it ride for three minutes or however long the tune is; I'm okay with that now more than ever."
Like many artists who make elegant, complex electronic music that's also highly accessible, he's none too keen on leaping into the IDM (intelligent dance music) pigeonhole, either. "I'd never want to chain myself to any narrow genre designation," he says. "I just don't think like that. Plus, I don't keep up with IDM, don't listen to the newer stuff, whereas I do listen to the Current. They've been playing the fuck out of Natura Morta. I'm really interested in songs, memorable songs: My all-time favorite piece of music is this version of 'You've Got a Friend,' from one of Donny Hathaway's live albums. He's playing in a small club and the room is electric. Everybody in the audience is belting out the chorus. I cried the first time I heard it."
CEPIA performs SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20, at the KITTY CAT KLUB, 612.331.9800