What Charlemagne Palestine foresees as he generates his all-encompassing auras – be them quasi-tonal, implausibly dissonant, or both – remains an utter mystery. Organs and cathedrals have an obvious influence on various aspects of ritualistic performance, the man being an iconic representative of that kind of cathartic experience. Even when he played carillon bells as a youngster, a sort of “church essence” was already permeating his gestures, with the spirit wandering elsewhere.
But we are not talking religion here. We’re listening to single notes breaking the hushed chatter of a curious audience, then accumulating in small clusters which become greater and greater until a phenomenal vibrating mass annihilates uncertainties and resistances. We hear the shaking of an endangered self, but don’t know the exact provenance of the force that is deflating it. We perceive thousands of upper partials while lacking the ability of framing their sum into a definition. Imaginary calls and wails carve the thickness of an endless expansion, along the ebbing and flowing of dramatic psychoacoustic consequences. It’s massive. One can just smile in ironic resignation when thinking of some people’s conviction in regard to the presumed curative power of a collective chant. Because nothing heals like sound, that’s absolutely true. But that sound must come from an instrument; from the ionosphere; perhaps from an animal. Not from mentally mired human specimens.
That’s why Cathédrale De Strasbourg might displace the ones approaching it with the “oh-yeah-another-drone-album” attitude. In truth, it’s more a purification from bullshit than an actual piece of music, in spite of its standing tall among Palestine’s recent materials. Once inside – the nerves definitively melted down – you’re not going to wish anything different. And, needless to say: the louder, the better.