Desire Path

Janek Schaefer, who came to know Charlemagne Palestine’s art and human traits relatively late, narrates that their collaboration – which began in 2008 – was a way for him to bear the “keep it simple, stupid” concept in mind, as opposed to feeling “the need to make ideas complicated or clever to give them value”.

The same principle could be applied to Palestine himself as far as his famous vocal chanting is concerned: while, for example, in the overhyped Karenina he had produced two hours of unendurable falsetto howling that test the patience of anyone unwilling to pretend an appreciation, the invocations in “Raga De L’Aprés Midi Pour Aude” – first side of this magnificent vinyl LP – are delightfully suggestive and permeated with the right dose of spirituality, enhanced by a static mantle created with the aid of a sruti box, bells, various effects and unspecified “other instruments” that most probably comprise synthesizers and/or keyboards of some kind. Schaefer also vocalizes in a balanced yet floating prayer, a straightforwardly profound artistic gesture.

The second track “Fables From A Far Away Future” is opened and closed by location recordings and found sounds that the pair assembled in Brussels during the record’s groundwork, underlined at the outset by a classic ebb-and-flow wash à la Schaefer and by shrilling harmonium clusters. However the piece’s core lies in a massive organ drone – vaguely reminiscent of Palestine’s Schlingen-Blängen – that reveals its psychoactive might at sustained high volume, dynamic intensity and conflicting upper partials producing the anticipated result as everything around seems to lose materiality and definition. The voices heard at the end, just before the last pulse, appear as a reminder of the fact that – despite one’s ability of transcending states through sheer brainpower – there’s always someone near us who will bring things back to everyday normality, thus making those episodes of bodily desertion all the more memorable and precious in our memory.

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