Charlemagne Palestine - Strumming Music
This classic minimal music album is now available again on vinyl for the first time since the 70s. Primed with a glass of cognacåÊCharlemagne PalestineåÊsits at the keyboard of a B̦sendorfer Imperial grandåÊpiano. One foot firmly holds down the sustain pedal while both hands perform anåÊinsistentåÊstrum-like alternation on the keys. Soon Palestine and his B̦sendorferåÊare enveloped in sound and bathed in a shimmering haze of multi-coloured overtones.åÊFor 45 minutes this rich pulsating musicåÊswells and intensifies, filling theåÊair. WhenåÊStrummingåÊMusicåÊfirst appeared on the adventurous French label Shandar during theåÊmid-1970s, it seemed a straightforward matter to place Charlemagne Palestine inåÊthe so-called MinimaliståÊcompany ofåÊLa Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve ReichåÊandåÊPhilip Glass, whose work also featured in the Shandar catalogue. PalestineåÊtoo used a deliberately restricted range of materials and aåÊrepetitiveåÊtechnique, but as he has often pointed out in more recent times the opulent fullnessåÊof his music would more accurately be described as Maximalist. StrummingåÊMusic, recorded in Palestine‰۪s own loft inåÊManhattan, has no written score. In an age of recorded sound he still feels noåÊneed for traditional notation. The surging energy of this particularåÊrecording standsåÊcomparison with the improvising of jazz visionaries who impressed and inspiredåÊhim while living in New York, as a young man. But, as Palestine himself hasåÊmade clear, primarily heåÊbrings to music-making the sensibility of an artiståÊrather than a musician. Although the technique of the piece hasåÊroots inåÊPalestine‰۪s daily practice, when a teenager, of playing the carillonåÊat a church, hammering sonorous chimes from a rack of tuned bells, it alsoåÊdraws onåÊhis later work as a body artist, staging vigorously muscular, physicallyåÊdemanding and often reckless performances. In addition,åÊStrumming MusicåÊcan be heard as a sculptural tour de force, while itsåÊtextures connect with the colour moods, plastic rhythms and tactile space ofåÊMark Rothko‰۪s Abstract Expressionist canvases. Strumming MusicåÊremains the essential index of Palestine‰۪s singularåÊcreative vision. FundamentallyåÊthis fascinating piece is a collaboration between an artist and an instrument.åÊ ‰ÛÏThe B̦sendorfer at its best isåÊa veryåÊnoisy, thick molasses piano,‰ he has remarked. Charlemagne PalestineåÊembraced its clinging sonorousness, its clangorous resonance and out of thatåÊembrace came the voluptuous sonic fabric ofåÊStrummingåÊMusic.