What we wrote at the time…
Despite being one of the most influential figures of experimental music and performance of the past 50 years, Charlemagne Palestine remains a true enigma. Unlike his contemporaries, Terry Riley, John Cale, La Monte Young and Tony Conrad, Palestine has chosen the path less traveled; a bewildering and unique concoction of passionate contrasts encompassing the creation of some of the key works of 20th Century minimalism, early synthesizer experiments that can still be heard in much contemporary industrial and electronic music, early video art benchmarks, dizzying and physically destructive performances and the creation of his God Bear mythology, an extravagant debauch of plush toys and ritual.
At Instal this year, Palestine will perform a version of Strumming Music, a trance inducing investigation into overtone systems achievable on a Bosendorfer Imperial Piano, fuelled by his favourite fifths [the musical interval and a fifth of cognac, both abundantly devoured over the course of the piece]. It’s an incredibly affecting yet theoretical work, performed with an escalating physical remorselessness that often ends in bloodied knuckles and ruptured piano strings. One of the defining musical experiments of the 20th century, this promises to be a rare and charged spectacle.