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Millerd Meyers – Photo Credit: Uma Meyers
Millerd Meyers, an ambient improv duo from Canada’s West Coast, play direct, simple music that brings to mind Brian Eno’s recordings with Cluster. Their first album, Bones, features pulsing piano and Telecaster guitar, treated with delays and filters like a folk-rock Tangerine Dream gone dub.
Wanna hear more about Millerd Meyers? Good, because the Big Takeover is exclusively presenting the band’s first premiere — the video for “More,” from Bones, — right here:
“Simon Millerd and I are an unlikely pairing!” guitarist Andy Meyers exclusively told the Big Takeover. “We come from different genres and grew up in opposite ends of the country, [in] different [decades]. In the late 1970s, as I was cutting my teeth as a teenager in Toronto proto-punk band the Scenics, Simon was literally cutting his teeth as an infant.”
In 1990, Meyers moved to Saltspring Island, the biggest and most-populated of the Southern Gulf Islands. He first heard Millerd play as a young trumpet phenom in his high school jazz band. Millerd then headed east to McGill University to study jazz.
Twenty years passed, during which the Scenics reunited and released multiple albums to critical acclaim. Millerd toured and formed the sextet Nomad, an international blend of young jazz all-stars. Two years ago, Millerd was back on Saltspring, and he and Meyers ran into each other in a grocery store. They decided to play together, for the first time.
“We planned [to play] some free improv,” Meyers said. “I had played with [free improvisation group] CCMC and UK guitar maven Derek Bailey back in Scenics days, released two improv CDs in the early aughts, but hadn’t done it for a decade and was a bit intimidated by Simon’s jazz pedigree.”
As it happened, their playing immediately fell into a natural musical conversation. Not a wild blowing session, but a series of “spontaneous compositions.” They discovered they were each musical minimalists, and — despite coming from diverse backgrounds (art-punk and Euro-jazz) — heard things in a similar way.
They recorded eight sessions that year as the pandemic came on, playing in masks.
“We left some time between sessions so things would stay fresh,” Meyers said. “We kept returning to listen to the recordings, [and] in 2021 I began mixing them.”
Most of Bones was recorded the second time they played, in February 2020, at Meyers’ Allowed Sound Studio. On those two longer songs, Millerd and Meyers play guitar and piano.
Meyers noted: “We added ‘Flare,’ a short piece featuring Simon on trumpet, as a third track. It had such a different feel … we sequenced it between the other two and liked how it cracked the album open.”
The Bones CD package includes four art cards. Meyers began doing collage in his Scenics days, when he would literally cut and paste art from a National Geographic or horror comic, and use the pieces to create a gig poster.
“My wife Susheela Dawne is an artist, and we decided to make art collages for Bones together,” according to Meyers. “The hard part was carving out some time to do it.”
After watching Todd Haynes’ Velvet Underground documentary of the same name, they were so inspired that they stayed up all night making 20 collages. A random selection of four are tucked into each CD. The collages are also featured in the video for “More.”
Presales of Bones are currently available on Bandcamp.
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