What does Peter Phippen sound like?
Native American flute. Laid bare.
The review of Peter Phippen – Ghost
I often showcase solo piano music here on Higher Plain Music but I’ve never showcased an album entirely dedicated to the flute. Today that changes with Peter Phippen’s ‘Ghosts’ – a captivating and mysterious album that explores the Native American flute.
Across the album’s 11 tracks, Peter leaves his flute totally unaccompanied except for one thing. There is a long drawn-out reverb that leaves a ghostly hollow hue to the flute between the various melodies and notes. The songs are written in a way that leaves punctuated gaps like a shaman calling in spirits. The effect of the reverb here is profound because the echoing resonance of the flute’s notes ring out so loudly.
Each track snakes and weaves its way around the flute. Some like ‘Inside the Underworld’ focus on the instruments’ lower register and evoke a curiosity from within. Others like ‘Summerwind Mansion’ cascade down notes with empty longing and a sensitive grounded feeling. Whilst most tracks are melodic, some take the flute in more abstract directions. ‘Feral Cries’ focuses on a lamenting vibrato as if the song itself is struggling to breathe. That same vibrato is used more romantically in the long notes of ‘Entangled Forevermore’. ‘She Does Not Sleep’ feels more playful, like a love letter to nature itself.
Regardless of what Peter Phippen does, there is an overwhelming sense of spiritual occasion with ‘Ghosts’. It is such a pure album with a dedicated single vision and Peter nails it with every track. It is designed to be played at night, in low light and to let your imagination take you away. Peter Phippen says that his traditional flutes “hold otherworldly powers within”. On the evidence of ‘Ghosts’, I wholeheartedly agree.
Recommended track: Summerwind Mansion
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