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Above Ground Episodes's video poster

Pre-order signed and numbered, limited-edition LPs and DVDs with hand-designed artwork. Music and art by J. Wise. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on April 1, 2010.

Pre-order signed and numbered, limited-edition LPs and DVDs with hand-designed artwork. Music and art by J. Wise.

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J. Wise
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J. Wise

First created  |  4 backed

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About this project

"At first, I couldn’t really tell what sort of performance I was walking into. It sounded like someone trying to talk to a fire. The music was sometimes percussive and rolling, other times spare and meditative. Specters. I thought I heard sounds like a whistling breeze or rushing water or human breathing emerge and then recede back into a ritual-like pulse. When I closed my eyes, I could picture walking through a landscape of the distant past—or, maybe, of the distant future: wind and water, flickering firelight, disappearing paths, solar and lunar alignments, animals and obscure energies(!?) were some things I could pick out. I wonder what Above Ground Episodes means? Like above as opposed to underground? Or literally hovering in the air? No matter. I heard what seemed like familiar calls to a beloved, or perhaps just simple melodic questions addressed to no one in particular. I guess in the end I found myself thinking of mantras or old stories that repeat themselves until they become as unconscious as breathing. Or like myths maybe. The way they can, for an instant, conjure something lost—or foretell the future. Does any of this help?"

—Brown Dog. Huntsville, AL

My name is J. Wise. I am a musician and artist raised in Alabama and currently living in Brooklyn, NY. Above Ground Episodes is my project consisting of limited-edition LPs of original songs with signed, numbered, and hand-designed covers; DVDs of instrumental music and experimental visuals; paintings; and live performances.

Over the past decade, I've written music, sung, and played guitar and keyboards as a member of the French Kicks. During that time, the band has toured internationally and recorded four albums and four EPs.

When not touring, I've written some music for a Dutch snowboarding commercial, art films and even a Hollywood motion picture. Some of my drawings and paintings have been featured in group art shows in New York and California. For A>G>E I'll hand-design and produce the original artwork for the album and DVD packaging, as well as a few additional paintings and objects.

The home base for recording sessions will be The Love Boat, Nick Stumpf's studio in Brooklyn: Nick—singer and songwriter also of the French Kicks—will be at the controls, adding a new chapter to our collaboration as musicians and old friends.

Brooklyn filmmaker Theo Burtis will be my partner on the DVD, which will feature a loose episodic narrative punctuated by beautiful abstractions and set to an instrumental score. Check out Theo's reel here:

Money raised will be used exclusively for recording and mastering sessions, equipment rental, video production and the manufacture of hand-designed LPs and DVDs. In one sense, your investments are like advance orders, but in another important sense they are commitments to an aesthetic of production and to a more immediate relationship with the person whose work you are supporting. I have set a very modest budget for this undertaking, but with a little help from you fine people this art project will come to fruition and create the momentum to do more projects in the future.

I'm looking at this as a chance to communicate directly with listeners and art lovers who want to be a part of the project. I'm using kickstarter as opposed to a record label or art gallery as my home base. The work will be produced on a small scale and then self-released, with a love and attention to detail that will be given back to those who participate in this campaign. I have a great respect for the mission of this site, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to reach people and find new collaborators in the process. Please share with friends you think might be interested, and watch for updates here on the kickstarter site and at Thanks so much to everyone involved.

—J. Wise


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  • You selected
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    0 backers

    Pledge any amount and forgo the merchandise or special rewards. This option is for the pure philanthropist who prefers to travel light.

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    Pledge $10 or more

    12 backers

    $10 gets you a signed and numbered copy of the DVD with episodic sequences, abstractions and instrumental score.

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    15 backers

    $20 gets you an LP on 150 gram vinyl with signed and numbered, hand silk-screened cover art. (High quality digital downloads will be made available to those who order LPs)

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    27 backers

    $30 gets you both the DVD and the hand silk-screened LP.

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    17 backers

    $50 gets you the DVD and LP in a limited edition bag.

  • You selected
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    14 backers

    $100 gets you the DVD, the bag and the signed LP with one-of-a-kind original cover artwork.

  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    1 backer

    $500 gets you the one-of-a-kind LP, the DVD, the bag and I will give you a personal tour of the Natural History Museum in Manhattan followed by drinks beneath the whale. We can discuss any topics you like.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    $1000 gets you the one-of-a kind LP, the DVD, the bag and a featured on camera role during one of the shoot days for the DVD. You will be immortalized and credited in the final version. This will be a ton of fun. We will wrap at crew-favorite Grimaldi's Pizzeria in DUMBO. Limit 1 bidder.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more

    1 backer All gone!

    $1500 gets you the one-of-a-kind LP, the DVD, the bag and access to an afternoon recording session during which you can have a glimpse into the most intimate part of the record-making process. The evening will conclude with dinner at Grimaldi's Pizzeria in DUMBO. This will be a highly personalized, interactive experience available to 1 bidder only.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    $2000 gets you all of the merchandise plus a private concert for you and your crew at a location of your choosing. (Travel to the West Coast or outside the continental US will require additional assistance). I will work with you to organize a singular evening for you and whoever you choose to include in your fiesta. One time only. Ever.


Funding period

- (29 days)