Improvisation and Inner Peace

Phippen and friends’ album an exercise in tranquility

Nathan Hopp, photos by Andrea Paulseth

POWER TRIO. Local music masters Tiit Raid (left), Peter Phippen (standing), and Ivar Lunde Jr. worked together on Phippen’s latest (and seventh) album, Seven. The album mixes flute, piano, drums, and more.
POWER TRIO. Local music masters Tiit Raid (left), Peter Phippen (standing), and Ivar Lunde Jr. worked together on Phippen’s latest (and seventh) album, Seven. The album mixes flute, piano, drums, and more.

Grammy-nominated flutist Peter Phippen has released a collaboration with Ivar Lunde Jr. and Tiit Raid, each one providing soul-enrapturing music on Phippen’s newest album, Seven. It is a stunning composition of flute, piano, drums, and a chime that pulls the listener into a tranquil experience of inner peace. In all honesty, the entirety sounds like listening to something by the late composer James Horner.

According to the trio, what sets this album apart from previous ones is its improvisational nature. Each of the album’s seven tracks were recorded in one single take, without editing of any kind. (Peter especially despises autotuning, calling it a “copout.”) And then the entire album was assembled within a week.

“Usually I produce my albums, and I’m very picky about things even though they’re live in the studio,” Peter said. “With Seven, there’s no outtakes and everything’s a first take. Seven is rawer and more unrefined compared to previous albums. It’s honest.”

It is. Together in a private studio on Skyline Drive in Eau Claire, Phippen, Raid, and Lunde combined the beautiful music of space, earth, new-age and other genres. The main instrument played by Peter in Seven is a 100-year-old shakuhachi, a Japanese bamboo flute invented in the 7th century that he enjoys playing on a daily basis. The instrument transports the listener into a calm, relaxing, and meditative state.

Lunde and Raid are both former UW-Eau Claire professors, having taught at the local university for 35 years. Lunde, a spiritual musician dedicated to his craft, served in the music department while Raid taught painting and design in the art department. Tiit formed a friendship with Ivar through his secondary love for music, and both were often found talking in lectures together. Peter Phippen would eventually meet Tiit while in a band during the late 1980s.

Peter Phippen can be found performing with other famous musicians at the Magical Midsummer Concert at the Kinstone Circle in Fountain City this summer. The event, which celebrates the Summer Solstice, is on June 21 and is described as a musically-fueled evening of song and serenity.

Lunde is also performing as part of the Red Cedar Symphony Orchestra this Aug. 6, at Veteran’s Park in Rice Lake. However, if you want to support these musicians, feel free to purchase Seven on either iTunes or Spotify.

Peter Phippen lives by three words from another mentor, Steven Swallow: “Listen. Imitate. Forget.” He still uses them to this day and tells this creed to his students.

Learn more about Phippen and his music at PeterPhippen.com or facebook.com/flutistpeterphippen.

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