Six feet by six feet — smaller than a workstation in a sea of cubicles, smaller than a painter's drop cloth, and most certainly smaller than most recording studios that acoustic artist Michael Miles has worked with in years gone by. But 36 square feet marks the confines with which he writes his material, arranges the new pieces, and tracks them onto his Mac workstation. No room for the drum kit, no space for all his guitars, no room for multiple microphones covering different angles, and no room for other things that other artists and studio engineers might consider essential to their craft.
Working within his limitations, Michael Miles has set out to meet his challenge — just how much can a musician accomplish with so little? This latest full-length release "Six by Six" answers that question. His response is over a dozen tracks of carefully crafted acoustic instrumentals, ranging in a variety of flavors, capturing a diverse set of stylistic world music influences. Michael travels a myriad of paths ranging from reggae to alt-folk, Mediterranean to Celtic, country to urban, yet still retains a flavor and feel that is distinctly Michael Miles.
Using just his Martin acoustic, his short scale bass guitar, and a few creative percussive toys, he creates a unique musical blend and full orchestration using non-conventional methods and inventive mixing techniques. With a drum kit comprised of a trash can and slapping the body of his guitar, or rich orchestras created out of a simple eBow, Michael produces sounds that are as creative as they are rich and full. It is this sort of ingenuity and creativity that embodies the conquering spirit that lies in wait within us all, sending the clear message that we can overcome our obstacles. A message that we can produce bigger things despite our limitations, and that having little should never suppress one's desire or ability to create. If our limitations do anything at all, they ought to challenge us to attain new heights and to create more and more within our means, and not become an excuse to say, "no, I can't."
This album was preceded and inspired by a 90-day experiment, creating nightly acoustic improvisational pieces which resulted in three volumes that he released and has made available: Improv Sketches, volumes one through three. All the songs that appear on "Six by Six" were at one point "sketches" in his proverbial sketch pad, now evolved into full-on works of art in their own right.