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In February of 2014 Alex Bourne, an A&R Representative for PARMA Recordings, reached out to me after having come across my work on the ridiculously magnificent NewMusicBox. We had a few phone conversations, exchanged some e-mails, and soon reached the conclusion that a recording exploring my musical collaborations for film and visual arts would be a good fit for a PARMA release. Since many of the pieces being considered for the project were commissioned and/or premiered by IonSound Project, PARMA thought it would be ideal if IonSound would provide the performances. Happily, IonSound members were as enthusiastic about the project as Alex and I were, so the wheels were in motion for what we’re calling Recording Project: Philip Thompson’s Visual Arts-inspired Chamber Music.

A Neighborhood of Music and Arts

cantini-still

Still from Will Zavala’s Virgil Cantini: the Artist in Public

This project really began in 2009 when my friend Will Zavala invited me to provide the score for his documentary, Virgil Cantini: the Artist in Public. Will’s film opens with a clip from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. We see Rogers introducing the segment, then King Friday asking Cantini to describe his art. The clip fades out and my score fades in as the soundtrack for Cantini’s art and the city it graces. That film and score provide an apt metaphor for this recording which is about creativity deeply rooted in the fabric of community. We want to capture the warp and woof of that fabric by focusing on my collaborations with artists Ryan Day (digital animation), Garth Zeglin (Robotic fabric scultures), Michael Morrill (painting), Will Zavala (film), and contemporary music ensemble IonSound Project. All of these artists have deep connections to Pittsburgh both personally and artistically.

More than a CD

kecow hit taken still

Still from Ryan Day’s animation for Kecow Hit Tamen (click for larger image)

Something that got me particularly excited about working with PARMA Recordings was the concept of presenting not just the music I’d created, but the brilliant artists I’ve worked with. When we release the recording we’ll also publish an enhanced content Web site featuring an extensive online photo and video gallery, all under the auspices of PARMA. In some instances, this will be a fairly simple task—creating a slide show of Michael Morrill’s Linea Terminale paintings, or syncing Ryan Day’s digital animation with the new studio recording. Some of the visual components will require more work. Will Zavala will have to have to re-insert the newly recorded soundtrack into his film. Garth Zeglin will have the most complicated task since he’ll need to reprogram his kinetic fabric sculptures to sync with the studio recording and supervise a new video shoot of the sculptures in action. But it will be worth the additional effort and expense to have a release that holistically represents truly interdisciplinary art.

See an an example of an enhanced content Website from PARMA’s Navona Records label.

More About PARMA

Detail of one of Garth Zeglin's robotic/kinetic fabric sculpture for Separate Self.

Detail of one of Garth Zeglin’s robotic/kinetic fabric sculpture for Separate Self.

From a purely egocentric standpoint, I am very impressed that PARMA found out about my work through their own research and initiative. But beyond the pleasant surprise of being “discovered” is the fact that PARMA markets its releases energetically, has an agreement with Naxos for international distribution, and has a roster that includes artists such as Grammy-winner Richard Stoltzman, Pulitzer Prize-winner Lewis Spratlan, Pete Townshend (yes, that Pete Townshend), renowned percussionist Steve Gadd, and New York Philharmonic concertmaster Glenn Dicterow to name a few. PARMA Recordings is selective about the artists they work with. That selectivity, and PARMA’s reputation for high quality productions, means that their releases are taken seriously by reviewers and programmers. That also means that PARMA is an ideal collaborator as I look to raise the profile of my creative work.

What It Will Take

In order to make this project a reality, I’m raising a lot of money, up to $20,000, to cover the costs of studio time, mixing, mastering, manufacturing, marketing, and most importantly, paying these world class musicians, artists, and engineers for what their work is worth. We will be approaching individual donors, foundations, and setting up a crowdfunding campaign in order to reach this goal.

LT Group 5

Michael Morrill’s Linea Terminale, Group 5 (click for larger image)

How can I be a part of this insightful and compelling project?

Great question! You can make a donation by clicking on the button on the right-hand side of this page. And here’s the good news: Recording Project: Philip Thompson’s Visual Arts-inspired Chamber Music is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Recording Project: Philip Thompson’s Visual Arts-inspired Chamber Music must be made payable to Fractured Atlas only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. You can find out more about Fractured Atlas and its services here and I recommend you do because it’s an amazing organization that really understands the needs of independent artists.

IonSound Project

IonSound Project

Find Out More About the Music

You can find out more about many of the works to be recorded on this release by clicking on the titles below. The proposed program is:

Separate Self

Kecow hit tamen

Nocturnes

Score to Virgil Cantini: the Artist in Public

and

Trouble

The titles link to individual pages about each of these compositions where you can read about the history of the piece, listen to audio, and watch video. And feel free to explore my other projects as well!

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