When I first read about Austin Peralta‘s passing today, I was confused. Why would a young man leave us so soon? I don’t usually write about the dead, but in this case I was touched too deeply. Austin Peralta was exciting for many reasons. A young gifted musician born in California with a passion for jazz, that alone stands out in days like these. His father is a legend of his own, surfer and pioneering skateboarder Stacy Peralta, original Z-Boy, founder of the iconic Powell-Peralta brand, and director of Dogtown and Z-Boys, Riding Giants and the forthcoming Bones Brigade documentary. In his short lifetime, Austin released three albums, the last one came out on the forward-thinking Brainfeeder label. Despite label-head Flying Lotus’ own jazz background, it was a bit of an unlikely choice, an oddity, but it also widened the perception of Brainfeeder as a label releasing more than beats made in LA. More importantly, it put the name Austin Peralta on the map for a lot of people, including myself. The release of Endless Planets certainly played a part leading to collaborations with The Cinematic Orchestra, Thundercat, Teebs or Amon Tobin. I had the pleasure to see Austin perform live at the Worldwide Awards in London, probably my best concert all year. The joy of playing the keys was written over his face, it’s one of those attributes of a musician that touches me as much as hearing the music. It was a special moment, so much talent in one place and it made me wonder about the things to come. He left way too soon, but he will not be forgotten. May he rest in peace.
Brainfeeder put together a selection of his works and live perfomances on their website, there’s a recording from the Maida Vale session on Heidi Vogel’s SoundCloud, and of course I invite you to revisit this live jam with Taylor McFerrin or the rehearsals from the Endless Planets release party.
November 23, 2012 Found an old interview in L.A. Record
January 15, 2013 The L.A. Weekly has an extended article on Austin worth reading. Also, in case you missed it, watch his last interview at Warsoul Sessions
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