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Standout Track: “Crystals,” a minimalist drum-and-synthesizer composition that combines percussion acrobatics with the the kind of electronic bleeps that usually indicate a unprejudiced Goomba killing in Super Mario Bros. “Where are we going?” ponders Cannot Be Stopped’s sole member, Farley Miller, after a few minutes of abstract scatting.
Musical Motivation: Not long after moving to D.C. two years ago, Miller caught a video of a French drummer playing a song from a Commodore 64 video game. The 21-year-old student in American University’s audio technology program soon became curious about how he could make his drum set control a synthesizer. “The answer was really simple, once I got around to looking into it,” says Miller, who set to work arranging a system of microphone triggers that he hooks up to his drum kit. “The setup that I use now is painfully simple: Like, you hit the snare drum, and it plays a note in a sequence of notes.”
The Beat Is On: Miller’s ambitions for Cannot Be Stopped stretch beyond the base pleasures of jamming on the theme song to Double Dragon and into more conceptual realms. “I’m trying to find new ways to take the interface or mechanism of a performance and give people a new way to think about how they play it.” Miller thinks for a moment, then translates that statement out of graduate-program-speak and into plain English. “When you realize that banging a drum has more consequences.”
Cannot Be Stopped performs Wednesday, Nov. 26, at DC9.