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A release to coincide with a retrospective exhibition celebrating the work of minimalism's chief oddball Charlemagne Palestine. Charlie can make the same three notes feel more meaningful than most musicians' entire careers, and this self-made recording from 1974 New York is no exception. Come for the piano, stay for the animal plushies.

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  • LP £22.49
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  • audioMER.020.LP
  • audioMER.020.LP / LP on audioMER. Limited edition of 400 copies

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9/10 Daoud Staff review, 30 May 2018

I’d love to see the inside of a piano that Charlemagne Palestine is hammering away at. The speed and regularity of the hammers moving up and down would be as hypnotic as the music he makes. There’s something otherworldly about his compositions, and to see this would ground them.

But maybe that would be a mistake, to pull back the veil. Palestine is best known for his lengthy solo piano pieces, and this release (don’t make me type it) is a recording of one from 1974. And like everything from Palestine, it’s magic and it’s distinctly him.

Palestine’s worn many hats (yes, also literally), but the through line that seems to exist in his music is an interest in frequency and resonance. In the 60s he was a Manhattan bell-ringer, and on stage he’s prone to clinking glasses of whisky together, letting the tones ring out. He was also doing this in ‘74, savouring in the chaos as various frequencies battled each other. Moment by moment he focuses on the same notes, giving us a deep dive into their relationships, and how those change as one gets louder, one gets quieter. Then suddenly, a new note will appear. No artist is as capable of eliciting so much catharsis with so little as Palestine, those moments here are absolutely monumental. I’ve tried to produce something Palestine-ish while sat at the piano and I’ve never got close. I expect I’m not the only one.

This is a record for anyone with even a slight interest in minimalism. Fans of Palestine will surely get something out of it, as will beginners. It’s as pure an expression of his work as I’ve ever heard.


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