Premiere!

rivers-still-1

A new work featuring:
Bethany Brooks
Daniel Delaney
Gabrielle Revlock
Megan Wilson Stern
Ben Stamper

Saturday, November 8, 8PM
Trinity Center for Urban Life
22nd and Spruce Street, Philadelphia
Sponsored by City Church Philadelphia

$10 online, $13 at the door (student discounts available)

BUY TICKETS | GET DIRECTIONS

All Good People,

I’m thrilled to announce the premiere of RIVERS, a new six-movement work written for prepared piano, prepared cello, dance, and film. RIVERS is the first chapter of Elements, a four-part multimedia series exploring the physical, environmental, and cultural significance of the four classical elements (water, air, fire, earth), and the specific ways their movements have shaped Philadelphia. RIVERS explores the dynamic relationship between the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers and the city recognized as the cradle of liberty and the birthplace of America.

Below are some special visual treats and more information about the piece. Read on to enjoy, and then get your tickets. The piece is really coming together beautifully, and we can’t wait to share it with you.

Be well, friends, and see you soon,

Josh


MEDIA (click on each image to watch)

RIVERS – Teaser Trailer

Where Bright Angel Feet Have Trod – Movement II

PBS State of the Arts Behind-the-Scenes Feature


ABOUT

At once a picture of stasis and motion, calm and turbulence, nourishment and destruction, rivers are a contradiction. Topography is shaped and reshaped, communities are separated and created. A critical source of water and food; a vital means of transportation, energy, bathing, irrigation; even a central figure to religious narrative and practice — rivers carry on with no regard for human beings, and yet their presence shapes humanity in profound ways. It is small wonder that rivers have captured our cultural, philosophical, and spiritual imaginations for millennia.

The piece, like the subject of its inspiration, is an exploration of disparate qualities that somehow exist comfortably in tandem: change and constancy, pattern and irregularity, danger and whimsy. Each element — music, dance, film — relates to the other in startling ways. Dancers affect the music with preparations of bolts, wine corks, tin-foil, and thread; sweeps of cinematic images anticipate, mirror, and echo gestures occurring on stage; musicians and dancers interact with their own “reflections” on screen. The roles of dance, film, and music are shifted, tumbled, turned around, and blurred; like river currents crashing into one another, or collections of small stones orbiting in an eddy; like the millions of human impacts and adjustments that daily define a city.

RIVERS is for those engaged and invested in questions of urban renewal — city planners, students, conservationists, artists, social workers, and educators; for those who have reckoned with the brokenness and inequity embedded in civic system and practice, yet maintain a vision of the city as a potential fountainhead of profound flourishing and wholeness. The audiences for RIVERS are the individuals and communities who see hope and promise in working towards a thorough and nuanced symbiosis of human culture and nature. RIVERS is written for Philadelphia.

One never steps in the same river twice. RIVERS celebrates the here and now, engaging with a particular time and a particular place. It invites its audience to experience the calm and turbulence, the shaping and reshaping, of a city and its culture.


RIVERS is supported in part through grants from the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Composers Forum, the Eric Stokes Fund “Earth’s Best In Tune”, and Lincoln City Fellowships / Speranza Foundation.

a righter rain will fall

A Righter Rain Will Fall-500

CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES.

a righter rain will fall, the knock-it-outta-the-park remix rework of the skin, the sea, the sound, has officially launched.

The album features Troy Herion, Lushlife, Papertwin, Cassandra Jenkins (Eleanor Friedberger), Anthony LaMarca (St. Vincent, The War On Drugs), Sleepers Work, Gutter Sparrow, Matt Davis, and Chris Ward of Pattern Is Movement, and will be unveiled song-by-song, week-by-week through July, August, and September of 2014.

Things kick things off with Troy Herion‘s full album remix. That’s right – he took the ENTIRE RECORD and compressed it into a 4:53 overture. It’s nuts.

Go here to hear.

Then crank it up and do a dance.

Finally, in celebration of all this remix glory, for the next nine weeks the skin, the sea, the sound – Limited Edition Vinyl will on sale for a mere 12 smackers. What the what?! Get ‘em while they’re hot.

Be well, friends, enjoy, and check back each week for new remixes.

R M X

A Righter Rain Will Fall-500

COMING SOON.

A host of extraordinary and suitably hard-to-classify artists have sliced, diced, turned upside down and all around each individual track of the skin, the sea, the sound, and are waiting in the wings with a righter rain will fall, a remix album of profound beauty, charm, surprise, and groove. The album will be unveiled song-by-song, week-by-week through July and August of 2014.

Remixers hail from wildly different musical worlds: from hip-hop luminaries to crackerjack composers, from adroit jazz improvisors to electronica gurus and dreampop chill-wave shoegazers; it’s a reimagining in the fullest sense of the word.

Featuring Lushlife, Papertwin, Cassandra Jenkins (Eleanor Friedberger), Anthony LaMarca (St. Vincent, The War On Drugs), Sleepers Work, Gutter Sparrow, Matt Davis, Chris Ward of Pattern Is Movement, and Troy Herion. Artwork by Ben Stamper.

Stay tuned!

Perfect Day

This day was a perfect day
Leaves fell, I forgot myself…

Edward Plumb, Frank Churchill, Paul Smith, Oliver Wallace: names from a bygone era of cinematic orchestration, the zenith of which seemed the near-exclusive purview of Walt Disney Pictures. Bambi, Cinderella, Pinocchio, Alice In Wonderland, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves – these scores followed a now faintly remembered rubric governing the relationship between music and image. Conversations between winds, brass, and strings mirrored the dialogue of Bambi’s unsure legs and a frozen forest lake, or the happy bustle of mice and birds cutting and sewing fabric for Cinderella’s surprise dress. The responsibility of telling a story was volleyed back and forth between screen and score, while worlds opened up in a wholehearted embrace of wonder and whimsy.

Playfulness is important. We forget ourselves.

This past autumn, I was brought in to write orchestral arrangements for a new Shaking Through episode featuring Cassandra Jenkins. Upon hearing the demo of “Perfect Day”, it was immediately clear that Cassandra and I (and Sam Owens, who co-wrote the song and offered some of the initial arrangement ideas) shared a deep fondness for the lush whimsy and gestural flourishes that so characterized the type of orchestration referred to above (and as it turns out we’re all total suckers for Debussy and Van Dyke Parks). With this is mind and in ears, I set to work.

I love working with artists of all stylistic and aesthetic persuasions, but it’s a particular treat when approaches and musical proclivities overlap to the extent that they did with Cassandra and Sam. The fruit of our collaboration is finally available for public enjoyment. Click here to listen to ‘Perfect Day’. As with the afore-posted “Toynbee Suite”, all arrangements were brought into vibrant and sparkling existence by the brilliant Dark Horse Orchestra. Click below to view the pair of stunning videos from Weathervane Music.

the skin, the sea, the sound – out on Good Behavior – TODAY!

I am writing with the very happy report that the skin, the sea, the sound is out on Good Behavior – today!

Celebrate good times. Available on both vinyl (classic black 150-gram, matte finish jacket, stunning art and lyric sleeve, download in the format of your choice) and digital (with 320-gram ones and zeroes). Purchases also include a beautiful 10-page art and lyric digital booklet. No expense has been spared. You’re all worth it – totes.

the skin, the sea, the sound - cover

 

Also, if you find yourself in Philadelphia, PA, this weekend (read: get there), we’ll be celebrating with a release concert on Saturday evening (4/5) at one of Philly’s finest venues, Johnny Brenda’s. Good friends Rosu Lup and Liz & the Lost Boys will be kicking off the night. So much good music. Just click on the image below for further information and tickets.

the skin, the sea, the sound-Album Release Poster Final-Johnny Brenda's

Very excited to share this with you all. Be well, dear folk, and enjoy the music!

O Glowing Image

The third and final album trailer for the skin, the sea, the sound, out on Good Behavior, April 1. View below. For you!

Click here for the full skinny on the April 5 album release show at Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia, and here to listen and preorder.

Enjoy, dear friends. With love and gratitude…

Album Cover Reveal

the skin, the sea, the sound - April 1, 2014

the skin, the sea, the sound-COVER (web)

artwork by Ben Stamper

First Sounds Reveal – February 4, 2014!

Album Trailer Reveal (1st of 3!) – DONE! Go here: vimeo.com/83510174

Awfully Kind Words Reveal – Read on!

“It’s the type of music where every note matters.”
– Greg Saunier / Deerhoof, Mystical Weapons

“Beautiful modern lieder from the moon.”
– Aakaash Israni / Dawn of Midi

“Stamper, himself, resides in the intersection of a variety of things – between pop and experiment, between formal elegance and confessional self-expression, between the improvisatory flow of jazz and the rigors of classical composition. It’s the kind of balancing act that makes choosing one thing over another seem cloddish.”
– Jennifer Kelly / Dusted Magazine

“The kind of album where every single bar of music seems to evolve from the last. With ‘the skin, the sea, the sound’, Stamper takes cues from prog-jazz, indie rock, and totalism in equal measure, but creates something entirely new, weird, and beautiful.”
– Lushlife

“Stamper is a remarkable composer, arranger and songwriter. ‘the skin, the sea, the sound’ brings it all together wonderfully. Every moment is original, and every song is a testimony to this great artist.”
– Brian McTear / Weathervane Music