Minneapolis based composer and live electronics performer Scott Miller teams up with Estonian guitarist Mart Soo as "Three Free Radicals" for this collection of free improvisations. The collaboration was the result of Miller's Fulbright sponsored six month stay in Tallinn where he discovered a fertile avant garde improvisation scene.
|01||Heat of the Day|
Heat of the Day
|02||Rides on a Six Eye Cloud|
Rides on a Six Eye Cloud
|03||And the Hurricane Eats Them Both|
And the Hurricane Eats Them Both
|04||With Zen Monks in the Traffic Jam|
With Zen Monks in the Traffic Jam
|05||Familiar from the Dreams of|
Familiar from the Dreams of
|06||The Homesick Abandoned Icebreaker|
The Homesick Abandoned Icebreaker
|07||Cave Without Floor|
Cave Without Floor
|08||Hides Five Shamans Dancing at the Fire|
Hides Five Shamans Dancing at the Fire
|09||Where Eagle Hovers|
Where Eagle Hovers
|10||In the Fading|
In the Fading
Twin Cities based composer Scott Miller recently released a full length recording of his electro-acoustic music in collaboration with St. Paul based Zeitgeist Ensemble (FCR161 Tipping Point).
This newest digital only release on the Panoramic Recordings imprint showcases Miller's equally inventive activities as a live electronics performer. In this collaboration with Estonian guitarist Mart Soo (under the ensemble name "Three Free Radicals". Miller brings the depth of his sonic vocabulary that he has developed in his through-composed works to his arsenal as an improviser, resulting in a fascinating journey through off-kilter grooves, glitchy mechanical textures, and demonic soundscapes. Miller manipulates pre-composed textural material as well as live processing of Soo's stylistically omnivorous guitar, giving him a series of variables to adjust during a performance.
Recording engineer: Peeter Salmela
Producers: Scott L. Miller and Mart Soo
Mastering engineer: Margo Kõlar
Design: Raul Keller
(Translated from Estonian)
This record is a happy collaboration of Estonian avantgarde guitarist Mart Soo and American electro-acoustic composer Scott L. Miller. The American’s instrument is KYMA,which is convenient to create multifarious soundscapes.Best way to listen the album is to translate the titles of the tunes,look at the album art (Raul Keller) and start to watch the movie!Because this not a music album, but an (animated) film without a picture.Keller’s design gives the set just a few colours and mood. Music visualizes in a frightening,haunting landscape mythology-the American,but at the same time deep and nuanced-(horrors) gallery of various phenomena and figures. Weather phenomena,cave without a floor,zen monks,shamans,eagles,vapour-pictures start to run.The album is thus a programmatic suite.It seems that most,if not all parts of the program are predefined, the music vizualizes so powerfully. So intensely inspiring program is still great generator of musical ideas.The keywords here are Jim Jarmusch/Neil Young’s ,,Dead Man’’(this refers to the temporary, fairly direct guitar of Mart Soo), Mussourgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition’’and it’s interpretation of the style of trash metal band Mekong Delta CD,Dances of Death (and other Walking Shadows’’) as well as other spooky elements. Three Free Radicals’ music has a strong metrical element that manifests itself quite often. Here are the links between the American musical tradition, where the minimalists and most of academic composers liked metric pulse.The same applies to the Americans with other inventions, jazz and rock and pop music. Here too it takes sometimes physical (grotesque) forms of dancing. Next to “”Dead Man’’ is a second link with America-guitarist Bill Frisell. On the one hand then this is a very American album but definitely without a deepness of mass culture music. - Sander Udikas
Translated from Estonian
“restlessly expressive,while massively scalable but fast thinking and accurate.
…HEAT OF THE DAY hides blues in it’s heart, FAMILIAR FROM THE DREAMS
got bottom from the low register electronics that reminds prog-rock and then comes one
of the highlights of the album,what remembers Pinks Floyd,lost from it’s course- THE HOMESICK
ABANDONED ICEBREAKER.Leter you will meet a piece with title suggesting that you will meet five shamans
dancing at the fire and which is about what like you expect, but better.I am manipulated and I am satisfied.” - Tõnis Kahu, EESTI EKSPRESS, 7.13.2016
Three Free Radicals is a duo of Minneapolis based composer and live electronics performer Scott Miller and Estonian guitarist Mart Soo. Miller is a composer of electroacoustic, orchestral, chamber, choral and multimedia works, known for his interactive electroacoustic chamber music. Besides he is a Professor of Music at St. Cloud State University, Minnesota. During a six month stay in Talinn Miller got introduced to the local improv scene, and started working with Mart Soo, a guitarist, composer and improviser. He played on stages in Europe, Japan and US in many collaborations (Markus Reuter, Uchihashi Kazuhisa, Paul Lovens, Xavier Charles, Eugene Chadbourne, etc.). Check out his very nice solo album ‘Kulg’on bandcamp! The collaboration of Miller and Soo went well and deserved a name: Three Free Radicals. The results of their inspired musical meeting deserved a release on cd, and consequently ‘Diary of a Left-Handed Sleepwalker’ was produced. Recordings took place on one day early 2015 in an Estonian Studio. All 11 tracks on the album show this was a very fruitful process. Soo plays guitars and live electronics. Miller plays the Kyma, a self-built electro-acoustic system I suppose. The playing by both is very inventive and to the point. The music has depth and beauty. Sometimes the pieces are built around a loop, or a groove. Others are more about sound textures or wild improvisation. Sometimes the playing by Soo touches shortly on jazzy moods or on rock vocabulary. But most of the time they operate on a highly abstract level. Their interactions and interplay are superb. Their pieces are very solid and communicative. Truly a very enjoyable and satisfying release of experimental music by a duo that has a story to tell. - Dolf Mulder, Vital Weekly (Netherlands)
Increasingly, it becomes difficult to separate actual guitar from the unnatural twitches of electronic processing. Mart Soo’s playing is riddled with snap decisions and intentional failures; the insatiable scurries of human fingers, scampering away from particular portions of the fretboard only to become hopelessly tangled up elsewhere. He fidgets and flinches, subsumed by the sudden urge to babble in tongues of muddy free jazz, wailing solo and pinch harmonic machine. States are never fixed; each gesture trembles with the energy that will feed the next imminent transformation, forever wriggling away from its current shape so as not to be abandoned in the stasis of the past. The input of Scott Miller often exaggerates this sentiment of peril, pressing guitar notes into surreal bends and digital collapses, pushing just beyond the boundary of corporeal possibility. “In The Fading” captures this spectrum of real-world playing and immaterial manipulation: the notes scatter to the far corners like ants, becoming increasingly more vaporous and processed as they approach the edges of the stereo field. Where exactly does Soo end and Miller begin?
During the slower, more tranquil pieces, I’m finally able to hear the nature of their back-and-forth. “Smoke” carries a beautifully plucked improvisation through a prism of filters and refractions, while voices arc across the horizon line. On “The Homesick Abandoned Icebreaker”, guitar harmonics are arranged like sculptures of geometric tessellation, juxtaposed via hard angles and mirrors of discordance. Sometimes it feels like a quest to identify mathematical patterns within the chaos of emotional impulse – an obsessive belief in the presence of objective truth, arranging Soo’s phrases into new sequences so as to unlock their hidden significance. Sometimes, it’s the exact opposite of that: tiny gestures obliterated into even tinier gestures, multiplying the potential for change again and again, paying homage to the ultimate rule of chance and limitless possibility. Apparently, these concepts can co-exist without a hitch. -- Jack Chuter, 7.22.2016
Diary Of A Left-Handed Sleepwalker (NEW FOCUS RECORDINGS / PANORAMIC RECORDINGS pan04) is the result of a meeting between an electro-acoustic composer, Scott L. Miller, and an Estonian improvising guitarist, Mart Soo. Miller, the Professor of Music at St. Cloud State U in Minnesota, was in Tallinn for a few months sponsored by a Fullbright scholarship, and was delighted by the thriving improv scene in the Estonian capital. They collaborate here as Three Free Radicals, Mart Soo wields his axe and live electronics, and Miller manipulates the sound in real time. A promising set up, but the performances fail to catch fire, and the listener trudges through “textures” and “soundscapes” rather than enjoying a cohesive musical statement. Awkward track titles such as ‘With Zen Monks In The Traffic Jam’ don’t assist the situation, either. The production quality is superb though, and for some choice moments your ears can appreciate the beauties of full-dimensional digital stereo crafting. If nothing else, Miller does have the technical chops to realise a fully-rounded imaginary aural space. -- Ed Pinsent, 5/24/2016