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Peter Phippen — Ghosts
(Projekt no#, 2023, DL)

Peter Phippen / Rahbi Crawford / Ivar Lunde Jr. — Galaxies
(Projekt no#, 2022, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-04-09

Ghosts Cover artGalaxies Cover art

The two releases at hand center around flutist Peter Phippen, who has nearly two dozen albums across three decades. Phippen has researched the performance techniques and history of a variety of traditional flutes worldwide and throughout history, specializing in an unaccompanied, experiential style of improvisation. Such is the nature of his latest release Ghosts, his third for Projekt records, preceded by 2022’s Into the Ancient. The sounds of his solo flute improvisations are at once mysterious, graceful, refined, and captivating, the sound surrounding the listener like a warm blanket on a cold starlit night from the top of a precipice, the waves of shimmering sonic beauty wafting across the sky. The mesmerizing sound of the solo melodic flute has an additional cosmic power to gently calm the listener, bringing one full circle into a spiritual direction should the listener be open to it, the echoing sounds and improvised melodies calling forth unknown spirits — or Ghosts. There are eleven pieces that wander freely, most in the four to seven minute range. The astute listener will notice a psychological change that occurs as each piece unfolds — it’s just the nature of the instrument and Phippen’s style of celestial communication.

With Galaxies, Phippen teams up with other musicians to deliver a similar cosmic unfolding, containing four longer pieces — three of them break the fifteen minute mark — adding some sonic variety to the mix, even though it’s still Phippen’s flutes (shakuhachi) that are central to the overall effort. A fifth track is a five minute radio edit of the third, “Triangulum,” which at full length clocks in at a little over fifteen minutes. The additional instrumentation on Galaxies comes via Rahbi Crawford, playing crystal singing bowls — their presence is subtle but an important element in the overall fabric of each piece — and Ivar Lunde Jr., who weaves in synthesized soundscapes and additional sonic elements that can be heard in the background of every piece. Again, the result here is a captivating, mesmerizing, and thoroughly experiential listen that provides additional dimensions and mysticism to the immediacy of Phippen’s flute improvisations.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Peter Phippen

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