Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Feb 01

Sam Rosenthal: Il Circolo Interview (English)

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Projekt’s Sam Rosenthal was interviewed for the February 2024 issue of Il Circolo, an Italian printed publication, a local newspaper (I believe from Bergamo / Brescia area.)

This is the original English version of the interview:

In 1983 you created Projekt Records: would you try to explain to our readers (especially the youngest ones) how and why during those years an eighteen y.o. boy founded a recording label?

Sam: I never really thought I was starting a record label. I began making a music fanzine, Alternative Rhythms, in 1980/81. It was Xeroxed at first, later printed, and by the end in 1986 it had a monthly circulation of 25,000. Back in 1983 people would read about music, but it wasn’t easy to hear the music. Because of course we didn’t have the internet, you had to buy a cassette or LP from a band that you thought might be interesting. My idea was to make a compilation cassette of some of the electronic music I was covering in AR. I advertised the cassette in the zine, and left some on consignment at local record stores. That was the start of what became Projekt. In 1983 I was going to college for Journalism, it was never a plan to still be running a record label 40 years later.

Do you think something like this could be possible, today?

Sam: In some ways, it would be easier today. With streaming as the primary way people listen to music, a new label doesn’t have the expenses that Projekt had in our first 20 years. All those costs of manufacturing CDs, posters, postcards, etc. Somebody who is good at social promotion could get attention to their label’s releases without the overhead. There are so many ways that musicians can share their music now, which we didn’t have back then (Bandcamp, YouTube, social networking, etc.) But with that said, it’s still hard to get music heard. I repeatedly see self-released artists and small labels with no idea how to promote. They release great music, but does anyone hear it? Which is something Projekt offers to the artists I work with: promotion. Shea and I have been at this a long time. She’s worked for Projekt since 2001. We have fans waiting for new Projekt releases, and we have the ability to try to get press / radio / curator attention.

During the last 40 years the music industry has become a global phenomenon, with multinational corporations managing the system and basically deciding what people has to listen, and how long. How an independent label like Projekt Records manage to survive in competition with these giants?

Sam: I think what you describe was even more powerful 40 or 50 years ago. How many independent labels do you know from the 1960s or 1970s? Sun Ra was self-releasing his albums in that era, sure, and selling them at shows. However, most artists assumed they needed to get on a major label, until the Punk era, really. Then a lot of smaller labels sprouted up.

How I survived? I never had any business training, I never took a class. Maybe that was why I didn’t give up when others with more business sense would have. I just have a knack for it, I guess.

I don’t at all feel that the multinational corporations are telling everyone what to listen to. There is so much variety available on streaming sites, music can be put up by anyone. Back in the day the obstacle was having enough money to press an LP or a CD. They were expensive. THAT was the bigger limitation vs. what the major labels wanted us to listen to.

Projekt survives for many reasons. One of them: I pay the artists. So many labels have screwed over their artists, and they lose their talent. I prefer to do the right thing and pay people. Over the years, artists leave the label to pursue their own ideas, that’s natural. Nobody ever left because they were being ripped off, and I’m happy to say that. And there are some, like Steve Roach, that I’ve been working with since the early 90s.

Ultimately, Projekt survived 40+ years because I worked within the system. I got proper CD distribution in the late 90s when Projekt hooked up with Ryko Distribution; that got the releases through a major label distributor, while keeping Projekt’s financial and artistic independence. In Italy, I’ve worked with Audioglobe for 30 years; it’s a great relationship that makes the music available throughout Europe, and the world.

Selling records – or CDs – is part of your job: what is your position towards streaming platforms like Spotify or Amazon Music? And what do you think about an audience who listens to music without ever owning it, much less in a physical format?

Sam: As a record label, I want to meet the fans’ wherever their interest is. I am not tied to one format as the best format. It’s really whatever people want. For my own music (Black Tape For A Blue Girl) I am reissuing on CD, LP and even MiniDisc. Gotta give the people what they want! Personally, I stream. I seldom play a physical object. I’m a Spotify user because I like their user interface. It’s very logical, like a library. I love the reissues and deep artifacts labels release these days, like that 2022 Bowie Divine Symmetry album with 72 outtakes and live tracks from the Hunky Dory era. I love the way certain artists are mining the past for more music for us to enjoy. For me as a listener, it’s not about a deluxe 7 LP box set. I just want to hear the music.

One of the most visible aspects of Projekt Records’ production – regardless of musical genres covered – is the accurate selection of artists, allowing to the world to discover names become important points of reference for fans and musicians, like Lycia, Love Spirals Downwards or Voltaire, just to name a few. Which criteria you adopt for your choices?

Sam: Back in the early 90s, the criteria was “Music I like that fits with Black Tape For A Blue Girl (my band)’s already established fans.” There were a lot of debuts on Projekt in that era: Lycia, Love Spirals Downwards, SoulWhirlingSomewhere, Lovesliescrushing. Now, the criteria is, “Music that fits with artists already on Projekt.” Most of the releases these days are from artists that I think will appeal to Projekt’s core fan of ambient + electronic listeners. In the 90s, Projekt was much more of a darkwave/ethereal/post-rock label. There were some releases far outside the expected core, such as Aurelio Voltaire who debuted on the label in 1998 with The Devil’s Bris. Voltaire quickly became the #2 seller on the label. I have an eye for talent, I can see when a musician has the charisma and skills to be a success. For example, Italy’s Spiritual Front is a band I think could have done quite well in the USA, with the right label behind them. I wanted to license their albums for the USA, but their German label wouldn’t give me a chance to show Projekt could make a difference. Such is life! In 2023 Projekt released two new acts on the Darkwave side, Armenia’s VEiiLA Spotify Link and Italy’s DELREI Spotify Link. I received their demos, liked the music, and they have done quite well. They aren’t the ethereal/Darkwave people knew Projekt for in the 90s. VEiiLA is downtempo pop. DELREI is spaghetti-western-infused Americana.

These days, most of what Projekt releases is in the Ambient/Space Music/Drone genre. I release quite a lot of Italian artists. Jarguna, Lorenzo Montaná, Aglaia, Pietro Zollo, Alio Die. There’s something I really like about the organic ambient sound of Italian artists. I have a Spotify playlist for that side of the label:

In parallel with the managing of the label, you found also the time to express yourself as an artist through a lot of collaborations and different projects, most famous of which is Black Tape For A Blue Girl: how important is, for you, to continue to maintain the role of musician? And how it integrates with your job into Projekt’s Records?

Sam: BlackTape has released 13 albums since the debut in 1986. It’s a lot of good music, though of course I could have made a lot more if my focus was soley on that, vs. spending the majority of my time on Projekt. In 2020/2021 I released two ambient collaborations, and a new BlackTape album, the Cleft Serpent. I’ve been doing reissues of the older work, including a complete remix of BlackTape’s 2nd album from 1987, Mesmerized by the Sirens. I’ve been focusing on the label the last few years, and not really making new music, though I do play on a track from a new Projekt artist from Norway, Arin Aksberg, ”Homecoming” on his newest album, Bandcamp link.

Working on the label is a lot of work, Projekt has a new release nearly every week; there have been ~60 albums a year the last two years. Shea and I stay quite busy at that.

Forty years are a lot of time: could you ever imagine, in 1983, to drive your label to XXI Century, and as one of the most important figures into ambient – and more! – music scene? And what are Projekt’s projects for the next forty years?

Sam: In forty years I’ll be almost 100. If I get there, it would be surprising if I’m still running Projekt. Will “the kids” want the music that a 100-year-old finds interesting? (laughs). In 1983, I never imagined I was even “starting a label” so to still be doing it 40 years later is not what I imagined my life would be like.

I’m incredibly lucky that what I started as an offshoot of my fanzine turned into a career that’s paid my bills all these years, got my son to college, pays for the medicine my kitty needs (she and I have two collaborative albums, Nova Cat Purring Sounds ), and all the rest that it pays for. I’m very fortunate. I work at home, see the kitty, see my partner. I email with a lot of cool people who make music that I love listening to (and paying them royalties!) It’s really nice. For the next 40 years? More of the same. May everyone find a way to spend more time on whatever it is you love, and less time slaving away for somebody elses’ capitalism! Thanks for the interview, Luca.

Sep 27

Projekt Top-5, new in store, new videos, upcoming concerts

Projekt Webstore Top-5 Physical Sales (30 days) #1 Forrest Fang: The Oort Cloud Meditations #2 Chuck van Zyl: Passages #3 Unto Ashes: Orchids Grew Here #4 Coil: Love's Secret Domain WAREHOUSE VINYL SALE #5 VEiiLA: Sentimental Craving for Beauty

Projekt Top-5 Downloads at Bandcamp (30 days) #1 Forrest Fang: The Oort Cloud Meditations #2 VEiiLA: Sentimental Craving For Beauty #3 Aarktica: Morning One (2023 remaster) #4 Unto Ashes: Orchids Grew Here #5 Solitaire: Plains And Skies (1992)

 

New Titles In The Shop Chuck van Zyl: Gwynedd (Limited Edition CDR) Erik Wollo: Traces (LP) Jeff Greinke: Big Weather (LP) Rapoon: Fallen Gods (LP)

New Videos from Projekt artists VEiiLA: I had a dream video at YouTube

Forrest Fang: Diaphanes (excerpt) video at YouTube

 

Upcoming Concerts Friday September 29, Cadott, WI Peter Phippen and Victoria Shoemaker Autumn Equinox in The Magical Woods details

Saturday September 30, Rhinelander, WI Peter Phippen and Victoria Shoemaker Pre-Haunted Rhinelander Tour Opening details.

Saturday September 30, Athens, GA Aurelio Voltaire at The Labe at Ciné! Ticketing

Tuesday October 3, Tucson AZ Linda Kohanov, Dean De Benedictis (Surface 10) at Steve Roach's Ambient Lounge. Ticketing

Saturday October 7, Hamtramck, MI Aurelio Voltaire at Smalls Bar! Ticketing

Saturday November 4, Tucson, AZ: Steve Roach The 34th All Souls Procession weekend, Steve headlines. Facebook

Tuesday December 5, Tucson, AZ: Steve Roach and Robert Rich Together and solo at Steve Roach's Ambient Lounge. Ticketing

 

Joe is cleaning the warehouse shelves, gathering all the onesie and twosie items and putting them on clearance. Gotta make room in the storeroom! Visit our Giant Vinyl Warehouse Sale and our equally giant CD (and everything else) Warehouse Sale. Lottsa treasure in there! 

Aug 28

📣 Projekt Darkwave Giant Warehouse Sale 📣

Joe is cleaning the warehouse shelves, gathering all the onesie and twosie items and putting them on clearance. Gotta make room in the storeroom! Visit our Giant Vinyl Warehouse Sale and our equally giant CD (and everything else) Warehouse Sale. Lottsa treasure in there!

Jun 15

Projekt featured in Goldmine

Projekt Records turns 40 in 2023!

40 albums that honor Projekt Records’ 40 years of darkwave, goth and more

Founder Sam Rosenthal talks Goldmine through the pioneering label’s history, and then we pick 40 recommendations from the label’s 650-plus darkwave, goth, electronic/ambient recordings. by Dave Thompson.

Read it at Goldmine Magazine

Help spread the word. Retweet this Tweet | Share this Facebook post

Dec 21

Let me tell you what I’m thankful for…

From Projekt’s Sam Rosenthal….

Happy winter solstice,

As the year draws to a close, and much of the country is about to be buried under a blanket of Brrrr!! I’m sitting on the edge of my chair thinking about what I’m thankful for. Well, the reason I’m actually on the edge of my chair is because Nova kitty is sitting behind me, hogging most of the space. My office is on what used to the back porch of my house, it’s a bit cold out here, and the chair is near the space heater, and Nova likes the warmth. One of the things I’m thankful for is Nova. She’s 17+ years old, and quite honestly I wasn’t sure she’d make it even two years when I adopted her the day after Xmas 2018. She’s been with me 4 years now! She’s a happy cat, even with her health issues. I released an album of her purrs a couple of weeks ago. I just told my son today: I’m more excited about Nova’s album receiving name-your-price donations than I am when my own albums get donations, crowdfunding & purchases. Not to say I don’t appreciate that too… but Nova’s never had an album before. And your donations are going to buy her favorite treats for months to come. Thank you! She appreciates it. She’d thank you herself, but you know how hard it is to get those little toe-beans aligned properly on the keyboard.

I love paying Projekt artists. It’s true. I love that I’m the middleman / conduit moving money around the world from your heartfelt donations, streams and purchases, into their pockets. There are only a few people on Projekt supporting themselves full time from music. The rest of us create music around our day jobs (my day job is running Projekt). Yes, of course everyone appreciates money! : ) Everyone appreciates being able to buy more gear, treats for their pets, and paying the rent. Whatever it’s going towards, it’s you who make it possible.

This year, Projekt has really gotten behind the name-your-price model on Bandcamp. Those donations often add up to a nice Paypal payment to one of your favorite musicians. You may have noticed that Projekt is bringing new artists to the label. It thrills me to connect you with great new artists and connect them with great new fans!

Right now I’m proofing the audio files on a new album you’ll be hearing very soon. It’s by a 23-year-old musician from Norway. Wow this is good! I can’t wait until you hear it.

I’ve been in COVID lockdown for three years. I have an immunocompromised family member I see regularly, and I would rather not risk it. It’s been nice to keep in touch with so many of you — and so many great artists — via emails and tweets. It’s nice to know you’re out there and that you care! I’m taking a couple weeks off work here, checking email for emergencies of course. On the break I’m going to remix my 1987 album, Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s Mesmerized by the sirens. There’ll be a vinyl / CD / MiniDisc release next year. Kickstarter coming in February.

In conclusion, you can be thankful that I’m not asking you to purchase something or grab a name-your-price. : )  This is just a message from me to you. I’d like to write more often, but finding the time. Ah! There’s the problem….. I will try. Stay warm, stay safe, wear a mask, have a great holiday…. I’m looking forwards to lots of new music in 2023… and better days ahead!

Sam  

Nov 22

Darkwave Warehouse Sale.

Take a look at our sale, we’ve got CDs + LPs selling at below our cost to make room in the warehouse! Click for the full list of titles. Sift through the bins and find something cool.

Oct 10

Excelsis in UK’s The Independent

Move over Santa, Baby: Why the weird festive album is going to save Christmas

Ed Power from UK’s The Independent contacted Sam for a Friday December 24 2021 article on non-traditional Christmas releases. One of Sam’s answers made it in. Below is the full interview.

Available in remastered CD and LP editions.

The original Excelsis idea was conceived in 1995 by Projekt’s Promotion Director, Patrick Ogle. Pat ghost-wrote these answers and then Sam embellished. Excelsis ~ a dark noel has been reissued for 2021 in a remastered CD and LP edition.

1: What made you want to come at Christmas from a different angle?

Back in 1995 when the Excelsis ~ a dark noel record came out, most Christmas records were Bing Crosby and Sinatra. Nothing inherently wrong with that but it was sort of tired. The more modern things seemed to be joke versions — “a Punk Rock Christmas” where someone screamed “jingle bells” once or twice in a mocking fashion. We thought there was a place for an ethereal, gothic and darkwave-styled reimagining of Christmas songs.

2: Is it a challenge putting together music that has something “new” to say about Christmas

Yes and no. Some people just took the idea and ran with it. Others had a harder time. That is what a concept compilation comes down to really — the artists. We had a good group.

3: To what extend did you want people to see Christmas from a different perspective?

It turns out they wanted it because the Excelsis ~ a dark noel record came out in November of 1995 and within a year it was the best selling record (up to that point) on Projekt. For 2021 I’ve reissued the CD and also put it out on vinyl for the first time. The ’99 follow-up Excelsis ~ a winter’s song did quite well too.

4: How important is sincerity in a Christmas record? There are twinkling of Christmas spirit throughout the project – was that something you were keen to include?

Honestly? We didn’t mention sincerity to the artists at all. We tried to get across the notion that this wasn’t a “goofy greats” record making fun of the holiday but rather embracing it. Does a song from “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” require sincerity? Or religious fervor? No! But you have to embrace the song and the season to do it well… and the same is true with the traditional songs.

5 Christmas can be challenging for many people – did you want to address that with the record?

Music can help people get through hard times in their lives and when most musicians stop to think about it they probably HOPE that someone takes something from their music — that it helps the listener in some way. Even if that is just making them happy for 3 minutes. That said there was no set motive to chase away Christmas depression (something I’d add that wasn’t talked about much 25 plus years ago). I certainly hope these records helped people who were feeling down over the holidays.

Sep 19

The ProjektList 9-19-22

Steve Roach feature article at the Moog Music website.

Few can claim such accolades in composition as Steve. Boasting several Grammy nominations and a body of work that helped to define the golden age of analog synthesis, Steve’s catalog spans over 100 solo albums, live recordings, and collaborations. He is still composing to this day, adding to his impressive catalog and inspiring the world of ambient music.

A revamp of Steve’s 2004 Space And Time album is name-your-price at Steve’s Bandcamp page. We’ve added extended excerpts & extra tracks. Essentials 1984 — 2004 Space and Time invites the listener on a 90-minute journey into the extraordinary electronic soundworlds of Steve Roach.

👉 Black Tape For A Blue Girl vocalist Jon DeRosa’s band is Aarktica. Jon created something special for Projekt fans. Aarktica Mixtape V.1 – The Early Influences is “a playlist that highlights some of my early influences, artists and composers who I was listening to a lot of in the early days and who influenced Aarktica’s sound in the No Solace in Sleep era. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it does include some great artists. Enjoy!” Playlist streaming at Spotify.

👉 theAdelaidean (in literary mode, as Sean Williams) has a new book out; Honour Among Ghosts is available from Allen & Unwin. It is a “sidequel” to his multi-nominated novel Her Perilous Mansion for readers aged 10-up. theAdelaidean is also part of a massive Kickstarter for four new anthologies from the legendary small press Zombie Needs Brains. You can learn more about that, and his music, by watching this short video interview with Sean.

👉 Projekt’s Peter Phippen posted a 90-second video at YouTube Antique Egyptian Kamala Improvisation. And he’ll be performing October 2 at Kinstone Circle in Fountain City, WI. Peter Phippen (Antique bamboo flutes) with Victoria Shoemaker (djembe / wooden flutes).) It’s a natural acoustic performance.

👉 Erik Wøllo is finishing his new album for a January 2023 release on Projekt.

👉 A memoir from Peter Ulrich: Drumming With Dead Can Dance & Parallel Adventures (Book) (PreOrder, Expected Mid-November) 6″x9″ casebound book, 295 pages.

👉 Tracks from Paulina Fae’s Glow played on Hypnagogue #364, Magnetofunky #23, The Blackout Radio Show, and Star’s End Top 50 albums for July 2022.

Thanatos Comes Alive! Acoustic shows:

Sunday, October 23 at Black Forge Coffee House II in McKees Rocks, PA Monday, October 24 at … well NOWHERE yet but we are still asking around. Tuesday, October 25 at Small’s in , Detroit, MI Wednesday October 26 at Gman Tavern in Chicago, IL. Full details at Thanatos website.

Alio Die & Dirk Serries: The chapters of the eclipse CD at the Projekt webstore

Bandcamp fan EJR wrote: “Although Dirk moved away from his keyboard rig many years ago, his effected guitar is the perfect foil for Stefano’s zither and encompassing electronics. I am blown away by the beauty of this music. These long time ambient composers have created a very special collaborative recording. Seconds after play you’ll be floating away. Thanks to Sam as always for the European ambient on Projekt.”

Listening Booth Projekt’s playlists at Spotify and Soundcloud and Pandora.

PreOrders with November 4 release date

Michael Stearns: Chronos — 2022 Remaster, Original X-86 Ambisonics Mix Forrest Fang: The Lost Seasons of Amorphia

Upcoming Projekt Release October 14 • Jarguna: My Temple 2 [Digital]

Projekt now has an Instagram. Be our friend!

thank you for supporting independent music www.projekt.com

Apr 20

Peter Phippen, “these flutes became my teachers.”

Peter Phippen, “these flutes became my teachers.”

by Patrick Ogle (photo credit: Victoria Shoemaker)

Peter Phippen picked up his first flute over 30 years ago: a small, crude bamboo penny whistle. He paid 25 cents for it.

“On and off in the 80s, I played fender bass with an avant-garde free-form improvisation group led by my mentor and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire art professor Tiit Raid,” says Phippen. “We had a show in early March 1987, and I took the ‘new’ crude bamboo penny whistle along.”

During a conga break in one of the songs Phippen busted out the whistle while his mentor gave him the eye.

“I thought I was going to be in trouble for playing the little bamboo. But without saying a word, the next day on his way to teach, Tiit stopped by and gave me a bansuri bamboo flute from India and said, ‘Peter, if you’re going to play flute, play this.’ And that’s when it really all started,” he says.

It wasn’t too long before new flutes were placed on the altar. He was given a Japanese flute, a shakuhachi, by the flute professor at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Tim Lane. While touring with a rock group, the band’s keyboard player found a broken bamboo flute in Louisville which he gave to the nascent flute enthusiast.

“He paid a dollar for it and gave it to me. Our next stop was St. Louis, Missouri,“ says Phippen. “I got that flute repaired, and for whatever reason that is the flute that changed everything. These three flutes became my teachers, but the old cracked and repaired one dollar alto bamboo flute more so than the others.”

Since that time, Peter has recorded 25 albums of his own improvised flute-based music. On these, he also employs four antique shakuhachi, one antique and one vintage bansuri, an antique Egyptian kawala as well as an African hunter’s whistle from Burkina Faso.

Phippen isn’t, however, trying to recreate music from the cultures of his various flutes. He is making intuitive music, his own interpretation of the instruments.

“To play just one of these instruments in a traditional manner would take a lifetime. So, my approach is very non-traditional. I play these instruments as improvisational tools to express myself musically,” he says. “I’m not playing music from the cultures the instruments are from. I improvise freely and put in a great deal of time on the instruments doing my best to get out of the way of the music that I’m channeling or allowing to flow through me out of the air. I am not trying to impress anyone with my playing; I feel my playing is simple. Yet, to play simply, these deceptively ‘simple’ instruments require constant attention.”

His goal, he says, is to play as naturally as possible and while he isn’t religious, he feels his music is spiritual rather than technical.

“Now the more technique you have, the more you can express yourself musically, so it’s a double-edged sword. One has to have technique to play free in case the unconscious flow of the music calls for that, but I feel there is no room for ego when improvising or imposing your will on the music as it is unfolding,” says Phippen. “Yes, I can play fast and all that, but I’m interested in saying something deeply meaningful with the fewest possible notes. To me it’s all about the tone and the phrasing of the notes played.”

Phippen notes that every culture on earth, excepting Australia, has an indigenous version of the flute. Each fascinates Phippen, especially antique instruments.

“I love Edo period and Meiji era Japanese shakuhachi. I also love the sound of vintage and antique bansuri and museum replicas of rim-blown flutes from the four corners area of the American southwest where the originals date from 600 to 1100 CE,” he says. “I like to play and record antique and old vintage flutes most, instruments that have been around the block a few times and have a ton of mojo.”

Curiously one flute Phippen doesn’t play is the familiar Boehm flute, but it is also interesting that before the advent of that instrument, Western flutes, too, were usually wooden.

“I do have some early 19th century wooden flutes and have recorded with them. The cylindrical Boehm flute as we know it today was introduced in 1847 and in my humble opinion is a recent development. I have seen and heard some recent contemporary wooden Boehm flutes as well,” says Phippen. “However, for my music, I find the tone of these instruments unsuitable for the music I am going for. I feel any simple system bamboo flute is superior in tone color to the Boehm silver or wooden flute as we know it today.”

He adds that a popular contemporary wooden flute maker told him he “lives behind a bamboo wall.” Phippen says, “I will always go for bamboo as my first option.” He knows the flutes made of other materials. He just gravitates toward bamboo.

“There are indigenous North American flutes, and these should be made of cedar, juniper, elderberry or box elder. There are also simple system wooden flutes from all over the world made out of various soft and hardwoods. And it seems I am a walking contradiction, as I play in a highly non-traditional manner,” he says. “Yet I like the instruments I play to be very simple and traditional in nature. Still in the end, there is something about the voice of bamboo flutes that I find intriguing, especially antique bamboo flutes.” He has three modest collections: a modern one in case he has to play in a Western pitch, antique, which may or may not play with modern instruments and a “specimen” collection.

Even though he learned to improvise on the bass first, he moved away from it once he discovered the flute. He did play bass a little on his early recordings but did so as a matter of comfort.

“I do not feel the electric bass fits on my flute music. Early on I played bass for my first Canyon Records album, Book of Dreams, but only to serve the song, as I was not full-out improvising everything in 1996, there was a loose ‘form.’ After that I avoided it.” says Phippen.

He says that this could change even though he doesn’t see it happening.

“For my music I like natural and simple instruments, folk harps, gongs, singing bowls, box zithers, female voices, and African and world percussion, all supporting or talking back and forth with my simple bamboo, wood, and clay flutes,” he says. “The only electric instruments I hear in my music are synthesizer and theremin.”

Phippen says that he doesn’t control what he plays consciously but only plays what his intuition allows him on a given day.

“In a sense the music I’m playing is ‘living.’ Now of course there will be good and bad days, but that is only natural. Such is life. If my music sounds fresh after all this time, it may be because I live to play and love the feeling when the music is flowing through me,” says Phippen. “If it sounds cohesive, perhaps that is just my musical voice playing a variation of the same thing at a different moment in time. What I do know is that I play what I am feeling on any given day, following my intuitive instinct in hopes I end up in the ‘zone,’ that place where you become a medium and natural music that has always been there in the air simply flows through you. Some would call that magic.”

His improvisational style is something he was born with – or learned quite early.

“When I was improvising as a young bassist, I used to try and fight it off. It was always easy for me to ‘just play’ off the top of my head. I would improvise alone all the time but only used this skill when I was asked to take a solo during performances. This went on for years. I probably should have done a solo bass album in hindsight. However, in early March 1987 when I accidentally found the bamboo flute (or it found me), improvising free was just the best way to play. It’s funny that it took a different instrument to open my eyes.”

A large influence on his style, although he says he didn’t realize it until he was in his 30s, was his mother.

“I grew up in the foothills of the Adirondacks in northern New York state. When I was four, five and six years old, my mother would take me on picnic lunches into the deep woods. After we were done eating we would sit quietly, and she would always ask me, ‘What do you hear?’ My mother would not settle for the easy answers like the wind in the trees or the birds singing,” says Phippen. “She took me to places where there would be much to hear if you really listened. Once the bamboo flute came into my life, all my mother had taught about really listening opened up.”

There is something of the natural world in Phippen’s music: wind whispering through the pines, the ambient hum of nature and the myriad frequencies just in the realm of what we can hear.

Phippen’s latest release, Into The Ancient, is available now at Projekt’s Bandcamp page, Spotify, Pandora, youTube and all other digital outlets.

Mar 10

lovely videos to relax to this weekend, from Projekt artists

Projekt’s artists have been creating entertainment for your eyes as well as your ears. Go to YouTube on your big living room TV and sit yourself down to lovely videos on the Projekt: Music Videos playlist. While you’re there subscribe to the playlist to get our latest clips in your recommendations. There are new videos this week from Lorenzo Montanà, Black Tape For A Blue Girl, and Erik Wøllo. Plus recent clips from Peter Phippen, Jarguna, theAdelaidean, and Steve Roach. Hit play, and enjoy! De-stress this weekend with some great music & visuals from Projekt’s artists. Take care, SamName-your-price at Bandcamp: Descent by Lorenzo Montanà & Neogene by jarguna. preOrder Planetary Unfolding CD & digital from Michael Stearns.