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Austin Peralta

Austin Peralta
Birth nameAustin Topper Peralta
Born(1990-10-25)October 25, 1990
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
DiedNovember 21, 2012(2012-11-21) (aged 22)[1]
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active2006–2012

Austin Topper Peralta[2][3] (October 25, 1990 – November 21, 2012) was an American jazz pianist and composer from Los Angeles, California. He was the son of film director and Z-Boys skateboarder Stacy Peralta.[4]

Early life

Austin Peralta was born on October 25, 1990, to filmmaker Joni Caldwell[5] and Z-Boys skateboarder and film director Stacy Peralta.[6] Peralta started playing piano at the age of five and was soon recognized as a prodigy.[7][8] At age 10 while learning classical piano, he developed an interest in jazz when a friend gave him a Bill Evans CD.[9] In 2003 at age 12, Peralta was awarded the Shelly Manne New Talent Award by the Los Angeles Jazz Society, which was presented to him by Quincy Jones.[10] In addition to the piano, Peralta also played the upright bass, drums and saxophone.[11][12] He was an honor student at Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica.[13] Peralta studied classical piano for five years at Pepperdine University[14] and later with jazz pianist Alan Pasqua and saxophonist Buddy Collette.


At a young age Peralta performed in Los Angeles with the Gerald Wilson Orchestra at venues such as the Jazz Bakery and the Blue Whale jazz club.[15] At age 15, he performed at the 2006 Tokyo Jazz Festival with his group, The Hour Trio,[11] and with Chick Corea and Hank Jones.[5] He has also had multiple performances at the California Institute of the Arts; the first being a collaboration with David Wexler (aka Dr. Strangeloop) in the summer of 2010, and the second as the Austin Peralta Group in 2012.

In 2006, he released two albums: Maiden Voyage with bassist Ron Carter and Mantra with bassist Buster Williams.[10] In 2007, he performed at the Java Jazz Festival.[14]

In 2011, Peralta met Steven Ellison (a.k.a. Flying Lotus) through mutual friend David Wexler. Peralta joined Ellison's Brainfeeder label, which released his final album, Endless Planets. Ellison considered Peralta's addition to the label a turning point in the label's expansion of genres and movement towards jazz.[16][17] Peralta said that he did not promote his first two albums because the producer did not allow him to express his artistic vision.[9] Under the Brainfeeder record label, however, he was free to defy conventional genres and express spirituality through his music.[9]

Peralta composed and performed the score for the remastered documentary What Happened to Kerouac? (2012) and appeared on the track "DMT Song" on the album Until the Quiet Comes (2012). Peralta was a touring member of jazz group The Cinematic Orchestra and performed regularly with Allan Holdsworth and Virgil Donati.

Peralta was a regular collaborator with Flying Lotus and Thundercat and made recordings with Teebs, Strangeloop, and Erykah Badu.[18]

Peralta was interviewed in the documentary film Being in the World by Tao Ruspoli, which includes a brief performance interlude in support of the interview (available in full on YouTube).


Peralta died on November 21, 2012, at the age of 22. The LA County Coroner's Report indicated the most likely cause of death was viral pneumonia aggravated by a combination of alcohol and drugs.[19]

Deathgasm Ensemble

The ensemble name Deathgasm is an inspiration from the Bardo Thodol (the so-called Tibetan Book of the Dead) and the Gaspar Noé film Enter the Void. Peralta felt that his music had the power to evoke spiritual places similar to death, orgasm, love, or "whatever". So he decided to name his ensemble Deathgasm.[12]

  • Austin Peralta - Leader
  • Miguel Atwood-Ferguson - Violin, viola
  • Sam Gendel - Saxophone
  • Ryan McGillicuddy - Bass
  • Zach Harmon - Drums, tabla
  • Ian Simon (Earnest Blount) - Electronics, laptop
  • Ben Olsen - video/photography

The Peralta/Strangeloop Project

Peralta and Strangeloop (another Brainfeeder artist) met at a coffee shop when Strangeloop ranted to him about the apocalypse. Peralta found him like-minded and ended up connecting, becoming best friends. Strangeloop's music is more electronic and Peralta wanted to introduce that world into his acoustic style of music. Peralta felt that something was missing in his Endless Planet's project that was in the works and decided to tie Strangeloop's work into his.[12] They performed live together at the Roy O. Disney Theatre on July 7, 2010, and numerous other occasions.


  • Maiden Voyage (Eighty-Eight's) (2005)
  • Mantra (Eighty-Eight's) (2006)
  • Endless Planets (Brainfeeder) (2011)


  • Views of Saturn Vol. 2 (2012)

with The Hour Trio

  • Inta' Out (2005)

Guest appearances

  • Grey Reverend - 'A Hero's Lie' (2013)[20]
  • Octavious Womack – 'Superstar' (2012)
  • Flying Lotus - 'DMT'
  • Teebs - Collections 01 (2011)
  • Thundercat - The Golden Age of Apocalypse (2011)
  • Strangeloop - "Fields" (2011)
  • Erykah Badu - "New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh" (2010)
  • Shafiq Husayn - "En' A-Free-Ka" (2009)
  • Tim Ries - "Stones World: The Rolling Stones Project II" (2007)
  • Adam Rudolph & Go: Organic Orchestra - "Thought Forms" (2006)


  1. ^ "Brainfeeder-affiliated jazz pianist and composer Austin Peralta dead aged 22". November 21, 2012. Retrieved November 22, 2012.
  2. ^ As listed in the liner notes of Thundercat's 2013 album "Apocalypse". Brainfeeder BFCD040
  3. ^ Meek, Tom (March 27, 2013). "Austin Peralta Died From Pneumonia Combined With Drugs and Alcohol, Says Coroner". LA Weekly. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  4. ^ Mark McDermott (January 15, 2013). "The Life and Death of Austin Peralta". LA Weekly. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  5. ^ a b McDermott, Marc (January 15, 2013). "The Life and Death of Austin Peralta". LA Weekly. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  6. ^ Barton, Chris (April 1, 2011). "Jazz review: Austin Peralta Trio at Lot 1 Cafe". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 24, 2011.
  7. ^ "Austin Peralta". Ninja Tune. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  8. ^ "Biography". Austin Peralta. March 13, 2010. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  9. ^ a b c "Austin Peralta: Go Through the Darkness". L.A. Record. March 15, 2011. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  10. ^ a b Collar, Matt. "Austin Peralta: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved June 24, 2011.
  11. ^ a b "Tokyo Jazz 2006 – Performing Artists". Tokyo Jazz Festival 2006. 2006. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  12. ^ a b c "Austin Peralta: Go Through the Darkness".
  13. ^ "Prodigy, 13, to perform at KCLU anniversary event". The Acorn. August 26, 2004. Archived from the original on August 5, 2016. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  14. ^ a b "Austin Peralta". Java Jazz Festival. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007.
  15. ^ Theis Duelund (April 30, 2014). "The Blue Whale May Be L.A.'s Smoothest Jazz Joint". Los Angeles Magazine. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  16. ^ Laurent Fintoni (August 26, 2012). "How Flying Lotus Built Brainfeeder, His Spiritual Little Empire". Fader. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  17. ^ Natalie Weiner (July 29, 2015). "Way Out West: How Flying Lotus, Kamasi Washington and Brainfeeder are bringing jazz back to the people". Noisey. VICE. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  18. ^ Laura Snapes (November 22, 2012). "R.I.P. Brainfeeder Affiliate and Pianist, Austin Peralta". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  19. ^ Meek, Tom (March 27, 2013). "Austin Peralta Died From Pneumonia Combined With Drugs and Alcohol, Says Coroner". LA Weekly. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
  20. ^ "A Hero's Lie by Grey Reverend".
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Austin Peralta
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