Thomas Piper’s Permission to Live is a powerful, personal statement. It comes from one of the few people who plays Ableton Push like his main instrument, from an artist who draws from a hundred skills.
One funny thing about this time is reconnecting with people I haven’t seen in awhile, because we’re in different places. So it’s really great to hear from Thomas.
I think sometimes the music powers-that-be, like lots of parts of our society, can be resistant to people with multi-dimensional intelligence. It’s easier to look for the artists who are one strong force in one direction, but less so the people who are a lot of things at once.
But Thomas’ hyperactive musical talents deserve some attention for exactly that reason. And Permission to Live doesn’t hold back in saying what it has to say. It’s overstuffed with Thomas’ musicianship, it’s full of tracks that are disarmingly open. But the album, dedicated to a friend lost to COVID-19, never wavers from its earnestness and has some stunning stand-out singles.
Supply Life sounds like a hit to me. But it’s really fun watching him tear it up live, in Live and Push. (more live shows before…) The intimate home performance in his home is great but … the face melting version has an audience. Yeah, #stayathome but … #itwillbegoodwhenwegobackagain.
It’s a diverse album from a diverse character (muti-performer, filmmaker/animator, director/actor). He’s worked across a variety of tech partners (Ableton, KORG) but also with ongoing music collaborations (working with Hank Shocklee, Georgia Anne Muldrow, and … also Sesame Street.
I mean, I just have this chord progression on repeat, so I’m kind of a sucker for that business:
His voice cuts through on this one:
“Just Us” for his loss of Fred Hampton is beautiful. But there’s also this gem tucked just before the end of the album, “Tried Everything”:
And this last cut is essential:
More of Thomas live and in his world:
This is a great performance, too – totally different feeling. But I miss the Knitting Factory.