Austin Peralta

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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
Associated actsEighty-Eight's, Brainfeeder

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[edit]

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 whilst learning classical piano, he developed an interest in jazz when a friend gave him a Bill Evans CD.[9] Peralta studied classical piano for five years at Pepperdine University[10] and later with jazz pianist Alan Pasqua and saxophonist Buddy Collette. 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.[11] In addition to the piano, Peralta also played the upright bass, drums and saxophone.[12][13] He was an honor student at Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica.[14]


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,[12] and with Chick Corea and Hank Jones.[5]

In 2006, he released two albums: Maiden Voyage with bassist Ron Carter and Mantra with bassist Buster Williams.[11] In 2007, he performed at the Java Jazz Festival.[10]

In 2011, Peralta met Steven Ellison (a.k.a. Flying Lotus) through mutual friend David Wexler (Dr. Strangeloop). 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 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[edit]

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.[13]

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

The Peralta/Strangeloop Project[edit]

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.[13] 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". 21 November 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  2. ^ As listed in the liner notes of Thundercat's 2013 album "Apocalypse". Brainfeeder BFCD040
  3. ^ Meek, Tom (27 March 2013). "Austin Peralta Died From Pneumonia Combined With Drugs and Alcohol, Says Coroner". LA Weekly. Retrieved 2018-09-25.
  4. ^ Mark McDermott (January 15, 2013). "The Life and Death of Austin Peralta". LA Weekly. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  5. ^ a b McDermott, Marc (15 January 2013). "The Life and Death of Austin Peralta". LA Weekly. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  6. ^ Barton, Chris (1 April 2011). "Jazz review: Austin Peralta Trio at Lot 1 Cafe". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  7. ^ "Austin Peralta". Ninja Tune. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Biography". Austin Peralta. 13 March 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  9. ^ a b c "Austin Peralta: Go Through the Darkness". L.A. Record. 15 March 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  10. ^ a b "Austin Peralta". Java Jazz Festival. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
  11. ^ a b Collar, Matt. "Austin Peralta: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  12. ^ a b "Tokyo Jazz 2006 – Performing Artists". Tokyo Jazz Festival 2006. 2006. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  13. ^ a b c "Austin Peralta: Go Through the Darkness".
  14. ^ "Prodigy, 13, to perform at KCLU anniversary event". The Acorn. 26 August 2004. Archived from the original on 5 August 2016. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  15. ^ Theis Duelund (30 April 2014). "The Blue Whale May Be L.A.'s Smoothest Jazz Joint". Los Angeles Magazine. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  16. ^ Laurent Fintoni (26 August 2012). "How Flying Lotus Built Brainfeeder, His Spiritual Little Empire". Fader. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  17. ^ Natalie Weiner (29 July 2015). "Way Out West: How Flying Lotus, Kamasi Washington and Brainfeeder are bringing jazz back to the people". Noisey. VICE. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  18. ^ Laura Snapes (22 November 2012). "R.I.P. Brainfeeder Affiliate and Pianist, Austin Peralta". Pitchfork. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  19. ^ Meek, Tom (27 March 2013). "Austin Peralta Died From Pneumonia Combined With Drugs and Alcohol, Says Coroner". LA Weekly. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  20. ^ "A Hero's Lie by Grey Reverend".

External links[edit]