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Physick, the chamber prog duo, is releasing their second album and accompanying illustrated short story after four years of hard work.
Physick, the chamber prog duo, is releasing their second album and accompanying illustrated short story after four years of hard work.
Physick, the chamber prog duo, is releasing their second album and accompanying illustrated short story after four years of hard work.
79 backers pledged $8,685 to help bring this project to life.

About

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Death is Their Shepherd, by Physick

$8,685

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Michael Minkoff and Phil Hodges, also known as Physick
Michael Minkoff and Phil Hodges, also known as Physick

 Philip Hodges and Michael Minkoff, of the chamber prog duo Physick, began work on Death is Their Shepherd a little over four years ago. At its inception, the project comprised little more than three songs and a concept. Now, the fully realized project contains a twenty-one track two-disc concept album bundled with an illustrated 80-page narrative companion. An obvious labor of love, the peculiar Death is Their Shepherd stands apart for its ambitious scope, uncompromising depth, and painstaking detail.

A mock-up of what your album case (back), CDs (right), and narrative companion book (left) will look like!
A mock-up of what your album case (back), CDs (right), and narrative companion book (left) will look like!

Perhaps the most unique aspect of Death is Their Shepherd is its subject matter. Of all the important certainties of human experience, death might be the very most important and common. It’s also the most currently neglected. In the past, Christians and unbelievers alike considered the reality of death (not the distorted fantasy of death over which our culture tends to obsess) to be a central arena for artistic exploration. People once believed that measured contemplation on your own mortality had a salutary effect on your behavior and worldview. If you consider that you will die, perhaps you will make the life you have left worth living.

In our day, contemporary Christians typically hesitate to write songs and stories about the biblical reality of death and sin. Aiming to be family-friendly and marketable, Christian songwriters tend to focus on only the hopeful and reassuring biblical realities. But unless you confront the stark realities of death and sin, the hope of the resurrection and the promise of salvation will hold little depth.

Through music, words, and pictures, Death is Their Shepherd provides ample fodder for an honest meditation on death and mortality. We hope that you will invest your time and resources into helping us bring this project to life. With your help, we hope to return the discussion of death back to its scriptural roots.

The Music

Phil on his semi-hollowbody electric, a 1967 Guild Starfire.
Phil on his semi-hollowbody electric, a 1967 Guild Starfire.

Phil Hodges—composer and multi-instrumentalist—wrote the majority of the music for Death is Their Shepherd. Physick implemented a host of instruments and sonic textures to execute their novel musical designs, from strings to bassoon to synthesizers to a forty-person choir.

Here are a few sample tracks:

Death is Their Shepherd

Living Dead

Before the Silver Tether Breaks

Precious in the Sight

The Words

Michael Minkoff—drummer, writer, and producer for Physick—wrote the majority of the lyrics for Death is Their Shepherd. He also wrote the illustrated short story contained in the narrative companion.

The short story centers on the fictional character Zakary Adamson, a young adult doing everything he can to avoid thinking about the recent death of his father. Locked out of his home one night, Zak finds himself in the silent darkness of his mother’s back porch where he is visited by an incarnation of Death. Over the course of a night, Death guides Zak through a phantasmagorical dreamscape where Zak explores the origins, significance, and end of death.

The Illustrations

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The narrative companion for Death is Their Shepherd contains original illustrations created by Charity Goodwin, Rusty Hein, Vanessa Minkoff, and Derrick Otis. The cover of the double album is an oil painting by Linda Maphet. All of the finished original artworks are available as rewards to a few lucky backers. Aside from the poster, these are not prints. Backers will be receiving the one-of-a-kind original pieces.

The Poster
(by Derrick Otis, Rusty Hein, and Michael Minkoff)

This poster included in the LEVEL UP: POSTER package, and subsequent packages
This poster included in the LEVEL UP: POSTER package, and subsequent packages

The Sketches 
(by Charity Goodwin, Rusty Hein, Vanessa Minkoff, and Derrick Otis)

A few of the original sketches available (dead flowers not included). Available in the MEMENTO SKETCHES package. Limit: 15
A few of the original sketches available (dead flowers not included). Available in the MEMENTO SKETCHES package. Limit: 15

The Drop Caps
(by Vanessa Minkoff)

These drop caps are available individually in the DROP THE CAPS package. Limit: 5
These drop caps are available individually in the DROP THE CAPS package. Limit: 5

The Illustrations
(by Rusty Hein, Derrick Otis, Charity Goodwin, and Vanessa Minkoff)

These images are available individually in the ORIGINAL CHARCOAL ILLUSTRATIONS package. Limit: 10
These images are available individually in the ORIGINAL CHARCOAL ILLUSTRATIONS package. Limit: 10

The Memento and Memorial Symbols
(by Rusty Hein and Vanessa Minkoff)

This image of the three memento mori symbols above comes in a package together with the image of the two memorial symbols below. It is the THE MEMENTO AND MEMORIAL SYMBOLS package. Limit: 1
This image of the three memento mori symbols above comes in a package together with the image of the two memorial symbols below. It is the THE MEMENTO AND MEMORIAL SYMBOLS package. Limit: 1
These are the memorial symbols. This image comes with the image of the three memento mori symbols above. It is the THE MEMENTO AND MEMORIAL SYMBOLS package. Limit: 1
These are the memorial symbols. This image comes with the image of the three memento mori symbols above. It is the THE MEMENTO AND MEMORIAL SYMBOLS package. Limit: 1

The Narrative Cover Charcoal
(by Derrick Otis and Rusty Hein)

This image will be used for the cover of the narrative companion, as well as the posters. The original is included in THE NARRATIVE COVER ORIGINAL CHARCOAL package. Limit: 1
This image will be used for the cover of the narrative companion, as well as the posters. The original is included in THE NARRATIVE COVER ORIGINAL CHARCOAL package. Limit: 1

The Album Cover Oil Painting
(by Linda Maphet)

This oil painting on stretched canvas, which will be used for the cover of the CD(s) case, is available in THE ALBUM COVER ORIGINAL PAINTING package. Limit: 1
This oil painting on stretched canvas, which will be used for the cover of the CD(s) case, is available in THE ALBUM COVER ORIGINAL PAINTING package. Limit: 1

Note: Physick retains the copyright on all original artwork and reserves the right to reproduce the artwork in digital or tangible form.

Why Does the Nehemiah Foundation Use Kickstarter?

You might be wondering why the NFfCR uses Kickstarter to fund the final stages of our artistic projects. That’s a good question!

There are a few reasons. First, Kickstarter provides a reliable, secure, structured place for potential patrons to help support projects they care about. It also allows artists to reward their fans with unique interactions and one-of-a-kind rewards. This fosters community and accountability, and it allows patrons to take a more direct role in supporting the art and/or artists they care about.

But the most important reason the Nehemiah Foundation uses crowd-funding is because we think the patron model for supporting art promotes more excellent, more free, more edifying art. We have seen how the prevailing contemporary mass-market distribution model corrupts, debases, and overly constricts “Christian art,” how it puts undue financial burdens on artists, and how it does not adequately serve the large variety of tastes that exist within the Church. If we are going to change the arts being made for the Church, we have to change the way art for the Church is funded and supported. We think Kickstarter is a helpful tool in accomplishing this end.

Risks and challenges

In a project with this many moving parts, production delays are a real consideration. We have already finished the mastering process, so a digital release on Halloween of 2015 is a virtual certainty barring an act of God.

Printing paperback books and double albums can be delayed by logistical issues outside of our control, however. We are hoping to have all the files ready for manufacturing before the Kickstarter is complete (most of them are already ready to go). We are fairly confident that a November ship date should be manageable. One way or the other, we'll keep you updated.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    DIGITAL DOWNLOADS
    Download the digital album and digital narrative companion PRIOR TO the physical album delivery date.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    THE PHYSICKAL COPIES
    Get the physical copy of the double-CD album AND paperback Narrative Companion delivered to your door. For those who like the smell, touch, look, and feel of the real thing.
    [Includes pre-release digital download]

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    LEVEL UP: POSTER
    Add the sweet poster to your package. See the design in the section to the right.
    [Includes pre-release digital download, CDs, and narrative companion]

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    ATLANTA MASTER CHORALE TRACKS
    One of the most awesome musical elements of Death is Their Shepherd is the amazing choir parts sung by the Atlanta Master Chorale. This package includes access to the isolated choir tracks and a digital download of the sheet music, for your more classical listening pleasure.
    [Includes pre-release digital download, CDs, narrative companion, and poster]

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    ROUGH DRAFTS
    For those who are particularly curious about the path these songs took on their journeys to completion, we are offering digital access to Phil's original MIDI demos.
    [Includes pre-release digital download, CDs, narrative companion, poster, and choir tracks]

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    MEMENTO SKETCHES
    In the process of completing the illustrations for the narrative companion, the illustration crew created a number of drawings and sketches. Some of them became the lines for the finished charcoals. Some of them did not. Many of them are quite interesting. Let us choose one for you: a snapshot into the artistic process and a one-of-a-kind memento. Image will be finished with fixative to prevent smudging and carefully shipped.
    [Includes pre-release digital download, CDs, narrative companion, poster, choir tracks, demos, and invite to pre-release party]

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    Limited 9 backers
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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    DROP THE CAPS
    As part of the comprehensive illustration of the accompanying narrative, original, hand-drawn, custom drop-caps were composed for this book, and we want their beauty to be appreciated. So if you like one (look in the "Story" section to the left to peruse the selection), don’t hesitate! Original drop caps hand-drawn by Vanessa Minkoff will be dispensed on a first-come, first-served basis. Pledge and let us know which image to reserve!
    [Includes pre-release digital download, CDs, narrative companion, poster, choir tracks, demos, and invite to pre-release party]

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    ORIGINAL CHARCOAL ILLUSTRATIONS
    These charcoal originals are featured in the narrative companion of the album. These images are original, custom compositions, hand-drawn, one of a kind, and highly collectible! They have been finished with fixative to reduce smudging and will be matted and mounted to foam core before shipping. Selection of images (like with the Drop-Caps) is on a first-come, first-served basis. Reserve your choice today by pledging first. You can see the images in the section to your left.
    [Includes pre-release digital download, CDs, narrative companion, poster, choir tracks, demos, and invite to pre-release party]

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    THE MEMENTO AND MEMORIAL SYMBOLS
    This set of 2 original charcoal drawings by Rusty Hein and Vanessa Minkoff depict the Memento Mori symbols (flower, skull, and hourglass) and Memorial symbols (bread and wine). Fixed, matted, and mounted to foam core before shipping. You can see the images in the section to your left.
    [Includes pre-release digital download, CDs, narrative companion, poster, choir tracks, demos, and invite to pre-release party]

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    THE NARRATIVE COVER ORIGINAL CHARCOAL
    This one-of-a-kind image will be featured as the cover of the book, and is arguably one of the most evocative images from the project. Own the original charcoal image—fixed, matted, and mounted to foam core—ready to be framed and hung on your wall. You can see the image in the section to your left.
    [Includes pre-release digital download, CDs, narrative companion, poster, choir tracks, demos, and invite to pre-release party]

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    THE ALBUM COVER ORIGINAL PAINTING
    The face of the musical project, this original oil painting on canvas is the result of hours of hard work from painter Linda Maphet. Just to reiterate, this is not a print. This is the original, still smelling of oil paint. You can see a picture of the painting in the section to your left.
    [Includes pre-release digital download, CDs, narrative companion, poster, choir tracks, demos, and invite to pre-release party]

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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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Funding period

- (21 days)