While he’s been shredding the fabric of the universe for years in Borbetomagus, among other like-minded noise/free jazz outlets, Donald Miller joins VDSQ’s latest crop of acoustic guitar offerings to show another side of his stringwork. Diverging greatly from the rest of the roster though, Miller’s work doesn’t follow a set school, but instead plunges the fingerpicked blues through turbulent tributaries away from structure and predictability. In flurries of notes that come like snow squalls his pieces surround the listener with a barrage of picked strings, sawed and stretched passages that whip like wind funneled through a canyon, and punctured stops that work a visceral grit into the self-winking album titled Transgression!!!.
While certainly abstract to its core, the record seems to take at least emotional inspiration from a variety of sources, with most (though not all) songs finding themselves dedicated to notable players from Charlie Patton and Jack Rose, with one nodded to Manson Family alum Squeaky Frome. Its interesting to hear Miller wrestle with beauty and calm. There are moments when the record finds a meditational even keel, but the natural forces within both Miller and his 12-string muse submit to the construction from destruction impulse that cycles through the cosmos every time. VDSQ has unleashed a trio of excellent guitar impulses this month and Miller’s latest is a force that needs to be experienced.
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