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Experimental Music, Conceptual Art Merge in Neal Calvin Peterson’s ‘Infinite Religions’

Infinite Religions, experimental music, duality, life, death, conceptual art, Neal Calvin Peterson, minneapolis artist, kickstarter campaign, art and music

Human beings have always been curious about existence. Our inquisitive nature is what philosophy, science and religion are built upon. For visual artist and musician Neal Calvin Peterson, these musings about life, death and purpose have been used to create art.

Peterson recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the limited release of Duality, the first work in his experimental project Infinite Religions. “The Infinite Religions series was inspired by mankind’s search for truth, and will cover topics related to our existence,” says the Minneapolis-based artist whose award-winning works have been exhibited and published around the United States and China.

Duality will feature both experimental music and conceptual art. The album includes two separate tracks –“Life” and “Death“– that can be experienced individually or played at the same time to create a third song, which is the title track “Duality.” Only 99 signed and numbered pressings will be made available. The clear vinyl records will come with written lyrics and visual artwork. The three tracks will also be available for digital download.

Peterson hopes to earn $5,000 toward final production of this album and is nearly halfway to this Kickstarter goal. Those interested in supporting the campaign can pledge until Saturday, Oct. 5. “Upon the official release of the album in late 2013, a high-powered satellite dish will transmit ‘Life’ and ‘Death’ into deep space. Backers of $20 or more will have their name eternally immortalized with the music’s transmission.”

The Spec reached out to Peterson to find out more about the project, read our interview with him below…

The Spec: How did you come up with this idea?
Neal Calvin Peterson: Both art and music have been a part of my life for a long time, so it felt natural to explore their relationship. I’ve released more traditional albums in the past, but with Infinite Religions, I wanted to create new connections, not just with art and music, but with design, science, philosophy, religion, etc. Humans are creators with an amazingly rich history, but I still think there are endless opportunities for creating new things. With “Duality,” I wanted to explore the idea of a song with two different perspectives. It’s like that saying—”There’s two sides to every story.” So you can listen to Duality as is, or you can split it into two totally different songs—”Life” and “Death.”

Duality, Neal Calvin Peterson, Infinite Religions, Neal Calvin Peterson interview, conceptual art, experimental music, kickstarter campaign

Multi-piece artwork created as a visual accompaniment to the music, photo courtesy of Kickstarter campaign page.

TS: Why did you choose to title the project Infinite Religions?
NCP: It hit me one day that the concept of a singular religion is inherently infinite in itself. Each religion has a story explaining the nature of existence, so to say “Infinite Religions,” is like saying Infinity times Infinity. It’s kind of mind-boggling but fun to think about. I also believe that every person has their own individual belief system—their own personal religion that is just as powerful as any other—so theoretically, throughout the history of the Universe, that could be endless religions.

TS: How many more of these albums do you anticipate in the series and can you share with readers a little about what the second album, which may include funds from this Kickstarter campaign, might consist of?
NCP: There will be at least three—they’re all laid out in my head. Duality is the perfect starting point for a discussion about creation, whereas the second album will take listeners on a journey that acts as a sort of bridge to the third album in the series.

TS: Can you elaborate on Duality being “transmitted into space”? Why did you choose to do this?
NCP: Living in a large city, you don’t have much opportunity to see the stars at night and I think it impairs our ability to grasp the vastness of the Universe. Yet, we have this remarkable technology that allows us to transmit our creations into the deepest parts of space. We need to break through that ambient light one way or another. I also want people to feel as connected to this project as possible, that’s why I’m asking people to include their name in the transmission. Maybe someday that signal will be intercepted, if not, it makes for some beautiful symbolism.

TS: Did the music or art come first in this project, or did they materialize together?
NCP: They really came hand in hand. I realized along the way that creating art and music is like life—sometimes it’s more about the process than the end result.

Ts: What do you hope that people take from the Infinite Religions project?
NCP: There’s a lot of moving parts to this project, but you don’t have to be a theoretical physicist or a philosopher just to enjoy the music or dig the artwork. With all the layers of Infinite Religions, people have the opportunity to discover as much or as little as they like. That said, I always try to include some element of positivity to my work and I hope that people will at least take away the belief that we are all equal and all temporarily stuck in the same question mark.

Ts: How, and in what capacity, has “Life,” “Death,” and “Duality” helped you “find new answers for old questions”?
NCP: On a personal level, they’ve challenged me to think differently about things like our existence or the cycle of life. They’ve also helped me, strangely enough, to view death in a more positive manner.

To stay up to date on Peterson’s projects, follow his Facebook page.

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