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Robin B. James
February 02/19/21, 2021
Music has been around since ancient times. At its heart Lamentations is about the relationship between music and realizing overall physical rehabilitation, and facilitating movement, increasing people's motivation to become engaged in creating their own treatment, providing emotional support for individuals and their families, and providing an outlet for expression of feelings. Lamentations expresses the grief and disbelief of those who have lived through the difficulties of 2020 and yet still looked to their purpose. Not just an outpouring of emotion, however, Lamentations also contains a profound theological reflection and response to the problem of suffering.

As much as we may wish to leave 2020 behind, there is still much to process, and music provides a gentle approach. LAMENTATIONS is a new album of ambient music by Long Beach, CA-based composer and performer Thomas Peters, who recorded as a one-man-orchestra using cutting edge computer electronics and synchronized electronic soundscapes, performing on bowed NS Design EU-6 bowed 6-string electric double bass designed by the legendary Ned Steinberger, and a laptop with Ableton Live. Lamentations is now available worldwide digital release through DistroKid.

Lamentations is a new direction for Peters, who is a composer and GRAMMY®-nominated performer known for creating multimedia works featuring classic silent films. He contributed to the 2014 Grammy Nomination for Best Small Ensemble Performance for John Cage: The 10,000 Things, on MicroFest Records; he also participated on 2015 Grammy-winning album for Best Small Ensemble Performance for PARTCH: Plectrum and Percussion Dances, on Bridge Records; and participated on 2016 Grammy-nominated album for Best Instrumental Album for flutist Wouter Kellerman’s Love Language.

With his live performances placed on hold, the pandemic created in Thomas the need to explore a new musical direction, and a growing interest in experimental classical music. He uses “process music” techniques such as phasing and aleatoric techniques to create slow, constantly shifting sonic tapestries. For example, the track "Drifting" uses three strata of looped musical phrases of unequal length, played at the same time. The result creates 30 different chord combinations. The bowed electric double bass provides the foreground that carries the musical narrative forward.

The relaxing music of Lamentations is also inspired by a more personal point of view. Peters is forthcoming about his diagnoses with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a topic on which he also writes and gives lectures. As a person with ASD, Peters has frequently had to use coping strategies to keep himself from getting emotionally overwhelmed, and it occurred to him that in this pandemic era, such strategies and techniques may be helpful to everyone. Thus, the album was composed to provide some respite and release to all who listen. Peters said he has found it tremendously helpful in times of stress to listen to music that is quiet and in alignment with the emotions he is trying to process.

"As a person with ASD, I have frequently had to use coping strategies to keep myself from getting emotionally overwhelmed—a skill that most people who are not on the ASD spectrum never have to develop. Lamentations is a way for me to share one of my key coping strategies with those who are not on the spectrum, but who are suffering with similar feelings of sensory overload and overwhelm right now."

What you will hear is inspirational instrumental meditations, quiet and serious, each intimately related by both structure and content into an overall singularity, and yet each a separate work; this is Lamentations, a new direction for multiple GRAMMY-nominee Thomas Peters. The emotions expressed within these nine pieces are a soothing tonic for the raw and dramatic times we endure, providing a hopeful and positive glimpse of the restoration ahead.

The primary instrument is an electronic bass (NS Design EU-6 bowed 6-string electric double bass designed by the legendary Ned Steinberger) bowed and occasionally plucked, sometimes joined by chimes, sometimes by an ethereal choral presence, and sometimes by a simple ukulele, and his laptop with Ableton Live. The intention of this album is to accomplish universal healing goals for 2021 and beyond, to provide emotional uplifting, and to create a space to process difficult emotions. The task of processing emotion and despair is important for finding healing and peace, but such efforts are sometimes difficult. Music can heal people and act as a preventive medicine, it also offers a simple way to improve troubled sleep, improving our ability to fall asleep and feel more rested. This music is uplifting and respectful of these emotions, which makes the listening experience rewarding.

A lament or lamentation is a passionate expression of grief, often in poetry or music. The Book of Lamentations is traditionally ascribed to Jeremiah, and tells of the desolation of Judah after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC. The patterns in music and all the arts can contain the keys to improve mood through emotional expression and release. A healthy brain tries to make sense of the world around, and the constant information it receives, including sound and music. Empathizing with grief provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words. If you can use music to navigate past the pain and gather insight into the workings of your own mind, you can begin to fix a problem.

Depression is a highly prevalent mood disorder that is characterized by persistent low mood, diminished interest, and loss of pleasure. We must remember that mercy never ends, and is renewed every morning. Music may be helpful in modulating moods and emotions, creating room for a positive transformation and adaptation, our abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of our lives.

Since 2008, Thomas Peters has been a successful silent movie composer and performer, creating new music for such classics as Nosferatu, The Cat and the Canary, Pandora’s Box, The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (Alfred Hitchcock’s first big success), Der Golem and Chicago. His score for The Passion of Joan of Arc premiered at the 2013 Toronto Silent Film Festival with acclaimed viola da gambist Joelle Morton. Silent movies were never silent. When creating his soundtracks for silent movies, Tom is accompanied by computer-synchronized soundscapes that may include anything from voices to drums to ukuleles. He performs the live portion of the score on the EU6 with composed and improvisational elements to create a truly unique sight and sound experience.

TRACKS
1 Out of the Depths
2 Drifting
3 A Million Pieces
4 Remembrance Canon
5 Without You
6 Still
7 Tenderness
8 Prayer
9 De Profundis

For more information about Lamentations or Thomas Peters, visit:

https://silentmovietom.com/home

https://thomaspeters.bandcamp.com/

https://open.spotify.com/album/18u6qtMMT0RuwwdYsyogWc?si=WeRGKM0yTpaUNJKldxDGXA

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0CmvCcz_wKKkSjzEk9xGhg

 

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