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"CANNOT BE STOPPED - Mountain (Unsigned)"

Journal: December 22, 2008. Time: 2:35 AM

A group of friends and I drove from Baltimore to New York City today. We had no purpose there, just to have a good time in the Big City. Going on the trip was a bad idea for me either way because I couldn’t get to sleep last night. It’s my fault completely; sleeping in until 3:00PM every day has its downsides.

Being opposed to classic rock radio, I brought my iPod and its device to play it in the car. Being opposed to “pretentious indie music,” my friends used the device to play their own music.

5 hours up to New York, 5 hours back. Christmas music. I couldn’t sleep in the car because the music was too loud. At some point on the way back, they shifted taste from Christmas music to pseudo-indie pop, the sort of stuff you hear radio DJs call “underground”. Ok Go, Postal Service, the like. Of course, all of it was too loud for any decent conversation to take place.

I was cold, tired, and disillusioned in regards to my peers as I scraped the ice off of my windshield to drive home from my friend’s house. It reminded me of when I had to scrape the paint off of the side of that dilapidated house in Baltimore this summer. I loved working construction. Anyway, I sat down inside of my 1989 Toyota stick shift and selected music to listen to on the ride home. I decided to go with CANNOT BE STOPPED. It reminded me of how much progress music has made from Christmas tunes.

Journal: December 24, 2008. Time: 3:45 PM

I decided to listen to CANNOT BE STOPPED again as I wrapped gifts for my family. My mother walked down during “Dull Fangs,” shot me a perplexed look, and continued about her day. I was listening to “Northern Lights/Southern Cross” when my head started displaying a strange behavior. Andrew Bird calls it “a nervous tick motion of the head to the left,” and I think that just about sums it up. It’s not exactly common for me; I’m not usually caught up in the music enough to let my head govern itself.

I don’t know what this percussionist (Farley Miller) was thinking, it’s like he’s speaking in tongues through the language of rhythm. It threw me off…in a good way. That’s why my head was ticking to the left. Every note seemed to be born anew with this irrational sense of drumming. I imagined the Flaming Lip’s Steve Drozd as he was first learning how to play, just having a good time hitting the skins. Farley M. of CANNOT BE STOPPED has a similar mindset.

TO DO: Become awesome at percussion.

There’s a more personal element to this record, which is rare among electronic artists nowadays. I can imagine that a real person wrote this, and that really says something about this album. - Aural States

"One Track Mind - Crystals"

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." - Aaron Leitko, Washington City Paper

"Four Different Drummers, Four Different Beats (excerpt)"

A guitarist for more than 30 years, Farley Miller’s father got his sons into music — his eldest played bass and Miller, eight at the time, was left with the drums.

“I think somewhere in the back of my dad’s head he had this idea that there was going to be a family band, which there never was ‘cause my brother quit bass after a year,” Miller said. “But I had already started drums.”

From that it seems Miller would be indifferent about the instrument, but that’s far from the truth. He describes his style as “busy,” and anyone who’s seen his one-man-band Cannot Be Stopped live would agree.

The band consists of Miller and MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) technology. That programming language standard allows each of Miller’s drum kit hits to trigger pre-composed synthesizer melodies. It’s a convoluted process, Miller admits, and after listening to him explain some of the minutiae, it’s clear he loves the technicality of it all.

“I know a little bit about music theory, so I’ll just put something down that I think will work, and I usually try to keep the sequences of notes pretty short,” Miller said. “The idea is, how can you find a way to take that sort of limited number of notes, but then articulate it in a cool way while you’re playing drums.”

A friend introduced Miller to French drummer Andre Duracell, who uses the same technology, at a time when he was between bands and itching to play again.

“When I saw those videos, I was consumed by ‘How can this happen? How can somebody do this?’” Miller said. “It was a combination of me finding the right influence at the right time to do this project.”

Since then, Miller has become the only drummer in the District to use MIDI technology. Now he’s mixing Cannot Be Stopped’s first EP, which he plans to release sometime before December. For someone who seemingly fell into drumming, Miller’s gone far with the instrument.

“I think the best part about drumming is that it’s such a physical thing,” he said. “My hope is that when people see me as Cannot Be Stopped, they wait at least five minutes after my set to talk to me, otherwise I won’t be able to form a thought because I’m just so worn out. That’s a good feeling, I think.” - Hilary Crowe, On Tap Magazine


2008 - Mountain [LP]



CANNOT BE STOPPED is a one-man experimental music project currently based in Washington, DC. Its sole member, Farley Miller, sings and performs on an acoustic drum set with MIDI connections to control a synthesizer in real-time. The music’s aesthetic is heavily influenced by the 8-bit video game music of the late 80s and the resulting chiptune movement. Miller’s drum style owes credit to the bombast of drummer’s like Zach Hill (Hella) and Brian Chippendale (Lightning Bolt).

CANNOT BE STOPPED has played throughout the Washington, DC-area including support for Marnie Stern, a tour of the northeastern United States, and a recent appearance at Aural States Fest in Baltimore, MD.

What others are saying:

“The Talking Head stage took a turn for crazy when Cannot Be Stopped performed. This solo act from D.C. wowed anyone smart enough to show up on time. His drums were synced to digital melodies and samples, and his percussion attacked the crowd like machine gun fire.” - Andy Cook (Metromix)

“Cannot Be Stopped, the band name of a solo drummer playing over hyper electronics, was... an enjoyable sugar rush.” - Al Shipley (Baltimore City Paper)

"I really remained firmly against one-man drum acts. Until I heard Farley Miller’s CANNOT BE STOPPED project. Consider me converted." - Greg Szeto (Aural States)

"There’s a more personal element to this record, which is rare among electronic artists nowadays. I can imagine that a real person wrote this, and that really says something about this album." - Nolan Conaway (Aural States)