color as time – debut

cat pma 070717

“At the Jazz-Band Ball,” c. 1936–39, by Fred Becker

color as time

This Friday, July 14, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is hosting the debut performance of my latest batch of sounds brought to life by a brand-new Stamper band! color as time is a nimble, nuanced, and soulful sextet comprised of some of Philadelphia’s finest – all good-looking folks with rapier wit and generous musicality.

Paul Arbogast – trombones
Bethany Brooks – piano, keyboards, sounds
Mike Cemprola – woodwinds
Christopher McDonald – piano, keyboards, sounds
Matt Scarano – drums
Moi – guitar, double bass, tunes

The music continues my fascination with the blur between classical, jazz, folk, and experimental textures. Plus, we’re constantly shifting instruments, so we’re the musical equivalent of a Rube Goldberg machine.

Join us! The band is sounding fine. Music begins at 5:45, and the concert is free with Museum admission. Screamin’ deal. Details here.


fists install

Libretto banner by Caroline Santa

Such Gift, All Thanks

Thank you, thank you to all good and fine folk who made the premiere of ‘mid the steep sky’s commotion the gift that it was. The space was amazing, The Crossing was phenomenal, Caroline Santa’s artwork was a quiet wonder, and the room was full of eager ears and generous hearts. What a thing to hear music that’s been privately buzzing in your head for months realized with such skill, care, heart, and devotion.

For those of you who weren’t able to be there, and for those of you who would like to experience the piece again, great news! We’re in the planning stages for a commercial recording of the piece; yes. Also, one of my very favorite filmmakers, Ben Stamper, is creating a film of the project; a cinematic tour-de-force representing both the piece and the process. Stay tuned…


NEA

NEA

A parting piece of neato news:  just a few days after the premiere of ‘mid the steep sky’s commotion, the National Endowment for the Arts announced a $30,000 grant to The Crossing in support of The Month of Moderns 2017 (‘mid the steep sky’s commotion was the first installment of this three part festival). It’s grants like this, alongside the large-hearted support of our Hatchfund donors, that enable the creation and performance of new works by us living artists, exploring a broad range of contemporary issues – from displacement and homelessness, to zealotry, to the environment and our relationship to the earth. Thanks for the generous support, Country!

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As By Fire Between Walls

As By Fire Between Walls - 600

Friends!

I bring you glad tidings of a brand new EP called ‘As By Fire Between Walls‘. It’s got it all: Advent! Strings! Brass! Soulful wordless vocals! Tasty drums! Mellotrons!

Listen right here:

Streaming is free, but the download gets you the goods. Also, all download proceeds will be donated to the Support Center for Child Advocates, whose mission is to advocate for abused and neglected children in Philadelphia with the goal of securing a permanent and nurturing environment for every child. To learn more, visit http://www.advokid.org/

Lastly, this project was created with the mega talents and generosity of Ansa Stamper, Mike Cemprola, Jay Webb, Paul Arbogast, Christopher McDonald, Liz Ciavolino, Bethany Brooks, Erica Miller, Naomi Gray, Matt Scarano. What a crew.

Enjoy, and all the best in the new year,

Josh

** All pieces commissioned by City Church Philadelphia, as fine a bunch of people as there ever was.

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.

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.

Toynbee

Toynbee

This summer, I had the unique opportunity to write orchestral arrangements for Lushlife, moniker of the extraordinary hip-hop artist Raj Haldar, who had been invited to create a piece for Shaking Through, an audio/video series curated by Weathervane Music. ‘Toynbee Suite’ is Raj’s extended meditation on the infamous Toynbee Tiles, mysterious license-plate-sized tiles of unknown origin, embedded in streets and sidewalks all over the country, and even in South America. The cryptic and inscrutable message of each tile is the same:

Toynbee Idea
In Kubrick’s 2001
Resurrect Dead
On Planet Jupiter

The piece is divided into four movements, one movement per line, and all of Raj’s formidable word-smith prowess is aimed at spelunking the impenetrable nature of the Tiler’s words; of trying to ascertain what vision of human and cosmic flourishing could account for such heroic but obscure measures, such urgent but opaque lengths taken to communicate.

Writing for any artist is always a fun challenge. You are trying to crack the code of a particular artist’s vision while maintaining the integrity of your own aesthetic. This piece was that challenge squared: I interacting with the rich and clear artistic tableau of Lushlife, but I was also interfacing with the rich but decidedly unclear message of a bracingly sincere and single-minded Tiler. It was both invigorating and bizarre.

With that, click here to listen to ‘Toynbee Suite’ in its entirety (arrangements executed with soul and precision by the inimitable Dark Horse Orchestra), and click below to see the short documentaries about the making of. All are terrific.

Meet you on Planet Jupiter…

Like Those Who Dream

‘We Were Like Those Who Dream’, a new Stamper-Fulton-Stamper collaboration, is now available for your viewing pleasure. A big thank you to Evan Mazunik and Sparks and Echo Arts for inviting us to be a part of things. Enjoy the video below, and read a bit about the piece here.

Music by Joshua Stamper
Daniel Delaney – cello
Amy Christmas Halteman – clarinet
Joshua Stamper – guitar
Dance by Lea Fulton
Photography and Edit by Ben Stamper