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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!
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.
Ed Power from UK’s The Independent contacted Sam for a Friday December 24 2021article 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.
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.
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.”
PreOrders with November 4 release date
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
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.
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.
Dave Bessell & Parallel Worlds: Phosphenes (CD) Dave Bessell: Reality Engine (CD) Ian Boddy: Axiom (CD) Ian Boddy: The Uncertainty Principle Reissue (CD) Nigel Mullaney: 31 Days (CD) Scanner: An Ascent (CD) Various Artists: Tone Science Module No.3 Cosines And Tangents (CD) Various Artists: Tone Science Module No.4 Form And Function (CD)
This just in! Projekt Tote bags, free with your $50 order. Or buy the tote on it’s own for $5 (plus shipping). Available with orders here at Projekt and also our Bandcamp page. Tote information here and on bandcamp.
And while we’re at it, how about a free Projekt sticker with each order!
More about the tote: Holds about 15 LPs 6.0 oz., 100% cotton 20 1/2″ self-fabric handles 9 1/2″ handle drop Printed in America by Forest Passage Printing in Highland Heights, KY!
Beautiful and enveloping new video from Projekt-founder Sam Rosenthal’s collaboration with Italy’s jarguna: Sunwashed evening fire. Filmed by jarguna in China, Nepal, Madagascar & Democratic Republic of the Congo. Processed edited by Sam. Watch at youTube The album is available on CD and a name-your-price download through Monday. Fan Krylda writes, “…sit down and relax to an album that gently soothes and caresses your soul. This album is a gentle and flowing melodic ride through a series of natural soundscapes that will calm you, reinvigorate you, and send you on a sonic journey that gently glistens and flows around you. This sonic soundscape is unrushed and will reveal its many treasures as you ride though its tracks.”
The second video for the new album, Tomorrow features incredible fractal animation by Brenda Molloy set to the track “HeartBreath.” Be sure to subscribe to Steve’s channel to keep up on all new video releases.Live: All Souls Procession Ceremony
Sunday November 8, Steve Roach performs the opening and closing music for the 31st annual All Souls Procession Ceremony in Tucson, AZ. Stream it live from your living room. Streamed opening studio performance – 6pm MST / 8pm EST Live closing ceremony performance – 7:30pm MST / 9:30pm EST / 2:30 AM GMT Monday Steve is joined for both sets by electro acoustic artist Serena Gabriel.
The 31st annual All Souls Procession is a celebration and mourning of the lives of our lost loved ones and ancestors. It is presented at the Annex Performance Space in Downtown Tucson. Last year Steve performed the closing ceremony to approximately 100,000 people; while this year’s event is live in the outdoor venue, only the production staff will be in the audience. It will stream worldwide at https://allsoulsprocession.org/livestream/
Visuals for the closing ceremony are created by the artist NoctiVision, creator of the “Tomorrow” video and 2019’s All Souls Ceremony visuals.