Julia A Miller – Solo Variations (Live)

I’m no expert as to what’s going on in terms of how the guitar is treated and what pedals are being used, etcetera, etcetera, but the end effect does sound often like a whole jumble of cut up notes spilling out of the monitors like paper after being fed into a shredder.

http://www.panyrosasdiscos.net/pyr062-julia-a-miller-solo-variations/

Now if you’re up for a bit of confrontational and avant garde noise I’d recommend this. Given the provenance and status of Julia A Miller I’m not going to attempt anything too highbrow in this review… I would say that this is an exciting listen, though very much reliant on you the listener being in a receptive mood for this vigorous and uncompromising set of aural gymnastics. As it’s been recorded live, there’s a sort of warm fuzz that lends a sort of protective sheen to the experience – but even so this is a record for a quiet hour where you attention has to be fully tuned.

There are four solo variations on this release (excitingly named 1.1 1.2, 2 and 3), though 1 and 1.2 (both around 8 minutes) do work as a pair of sparring partners. I’m no expert as to what’s going on in terms of how the guitar is treated and what pedals are being used, etcetera, etcetera, but the end effect in 1.1 does sound often like a whole jumble of cut up notes spilling out of the monitors like paper after being fed into a shredder. There are quiet elements that sound like a mix of chamber orchestra playing in another room or some creaking of telegraph wire in the wind. There’s another bit in 1.2 that sounds like a loads of cats yowling, albeit cats that have inhaled helium.

The other two tracks are longer, more drawn out and sensual though markedly different beasts. 2 is richer in tone; a meditative sludge, lower in the scale, sounding like a dying dentist’s drill or a pissed wasp. You are shocked out of your drone reverie when what sounds like a piano turns up about 10 minutes in: I mean, it can’t actually be a piano, but to all intents and purposes the piano sounds sound like one, but it has to be an astonishing display of "making piano sounds on a guitar". Round about this point, you start to get the feeling that this must have been absolutely incredible to watch. The last track, 3, is a slow burning drone though at some point things get enmeshed in an examination of high tones that somehow still fits with the framework of a lazy comedown.

I warn you now; it’s going to be a challenging listen but one you should take up with an open mind.