Justin Randolph Thompson


Socrates Sculpture Park Presents: Justin Randolph Thompson, Sound Works, 2009-2012

John Hatfield, Executive Director of Socrates Sculpture Park, presents the sound work of artist Justin Randolph Thompson. Living between Italy and the US since 2001, Thompson’s work explores the historic implications of triumph, victory and ascension by re-contextualizing references from Roman antiquity and combining these with aspects of African-American culture past and present. Exploring cultural displacement and imposed hierarchies, his work encompasses sculptural installation, performance, video and sound. Thompson’s sound works examine the tensions between the American folk legacy of field recording and a mending of early industrial music and hip-hop’s world of digitally abstracted soundscapes that push against tendencies to classify and define the spiritual realm of listening. Content driven and referentially hybrid, the works guide their listeners through a choreographed sonic meditation.

Witness is a sound work that revolves around the quest for clear reception as well as the socio-political implications of surveillance, testimony and violence.

Justin Randolph Thompson; voice, digital noise, kalimba, Sampler
Recording mixing and mastering by Simone Falcone

Fried Magnolias is an exploration of the sense of smell through sound. The work draws upon the song Strange Fruit made popular by Billie Holliday as an homage and reflection upon the legacy of southern trees.
Justin Randolph Thompson; Voice, Lap steel, Classical guitar, Drum machine, Drums, Sampler
Recording, mixing and mastering by Koan Studios

Pieces of a Man is an homage to Gil Scott Heron addressing the semantics of the African American family and the political corruption of text book editing.
Justin Randolph Thompson; Drum machine, Sampler
Recording mixing and mastering by Simone Falcone

Hoodoo Wackin’ is a sound piece based on the Christophine character from the Jane Rhys novel Wide Sargasso Sea and combines a mixture of the traditional Martinique folk song ‘Adieu foulard, adieu madras’ that speaks of a request that is made too late, an African American work song that asks the lord for help in restraining from violence and more chaotic, hellish tones. The blending of these references eschews geographic origins and drag the listener through celestial and infernal sentiments.
Justin Randolph Thompson; Voice, Lapsteel guitar, drum machine
John Thompson; Voice
Pshyara Thompson; Voice
Recording mixing and mastering by Simone Falcone

Raisin’ Hell draws upon the title of a Run DMC song in order to revamp traditional coal mining songs speaking of absence and ascension.
Justin Randolph Thompson; Vocals, Lapsteel Guitar, Drum Machine
Recording mixing and mastering by Simone Falcone