‘Ghosts’ is a Haunting New Improvised Album from Flutist Peter Phippen
album features ancient flutes from around the world, inspired by the late artist Tiit Raid
“If I see the flute community heading right, then I’ll fly left as far as I can,” Peter Phippen said while describing his latest and most unique album yet, titled Ghosts. Discovering new tones and modes of music by diverging from the norm, Phippen honors ancient voices of the past through his museum replica flutes from around the world. In its own unique retelling, Phippen used pure improvisation to allow the “ghosts” of the flutes to flow through him.
“These antique flutes have been around a long time, and they were owned by many people before me,” he explained. “I believe each one has its own spirit like each human being has its own personality.” Playing a few North Indian, Native American, and South American flutes, each song has its own unique tone, channeling the raw emotion and spirits of the antique flutes. Adding to the distinctiveness is the fact that all 11 tracks are completely improvised.
“This album is for Tiit Raid. When I met Tiit, I was a musician. I’m still a musician but now I’m an improvisationalist first.”
“If you're improvising and you fiddle with it, then what's the point?” Phippen asks. Recording for a total of about three hours, the album practically made itself. Featuring oddities and strange, lustrous runs, the album emphasizes a completely raw listening experience. “It’s almost like a live performance,” he said.
“Am I going to hit a home run every time I step up to the plate?” Phippen asked. “No, but sometimes you get lucky, and you do. And then you’ve captured something; you’ve captured the magic, you’re playing nothing.”
Featuring a few flutes gifted to Phippen by late local artist and musician Tiit Raid, who had been a mentor for Phippen since 1984, the idea of a completely improvised playing – not for show or over any scale – completely changed his point of view as a musician. “This album is for Tiit Raid,” he said. “When I met Tiit, I was a musician. I’m still a musician but now I’m an improvisationalist first.”
“When you look at some trees, which tree is perfect? They’re all perfectly themselves,” he said. “That’s a philosophy of this album. It’s perfectly itself. No apologies.”
With upcoming concerts in Fountain City and down in Iowa, Phippen excitedly promotes his next steps in producing his 26th album.
Learn more about Phippen, his past albums, upcoming event, his latest album, and more at peterphippen.com.