Charlemagne Palestine / GodbearBAR 019 CD

‘Godbear’ was recorded for the Neutral label of Glenn Branca and Josh Baer at the end of the eighties. It contains the highlights of his piano music: spiritually expressive pieces, short and concentrated, recorded crystal clear. Musical epics that tell sonorous stories. Musical epics that tell sonorous stories. Palestine’s performances on the Bosendorfer Imperial Grand Piano were often extremely eccentric, utilizing odd clothing, stuffed toys, Napoleon Cognac and endless cigarettes as props in an obsessive sonic-shamanic quest. His droning chords, attention to resonant overtones and sheer physicality of sound were new and ground-breaking and were later to have an enormous effect on Glenn Branca, Sonic Youth and others.

Heh Big Daddys!

Here’s how it all went down

Since a baby I loved Debussy Ravel Messiaen Evans Monk and Tyner  It was  1965  but personally for me the piano was over   and antique   I preferred carillons gamelans oscillators pipe organs raga’s and ethnic sounds  One day caught off guard  It was 1969  I tried a Bösendorfer Imperial Grand of Vienna  It changed my life  I heard Debussy Ravel gamelans carillons raga’s oscilators and orchestra’s  all at the same time  in the overtones  Big Daddys  flying in the stratosphere of the overtones  I would turn out the lights  close my eyes  press down the sustain pedal   and   trance out   into   SONORAMAGNIFICATALAND   soon my style emerged   full of aural illusions   the alternating tone strumming technique   like a shimmering fountain   Each person hears something different   in a flamenco’s paradise    ’69   at first transcendental angelic choirs in the ozone   Then little by little   lower and darker   darker and lower and more violent   Till the Big B’s world’s lowest octave resonated like Rusian bells in an erupting vulcano   unhinging my brain   unleashing my pain   All the intervals began to bleed together   Actually bleeedd together   And my head heart and hands bled with them    Whoa    No more    Stop    Then    Silence    Saturation    Overdrive    Overkill    Breakdown    It’s already ’79 now    Flee your teddy’s on top of the Big B   transform them into Icons   Divinities   Protector’s   Sculpture was my solace my language    after that   years past   friends  collegues   older   younger   push me   pull me   play something   serenade us   make that big fat black and white motherfucker tremble again   Pushed by producer Van Lagenstein and cognac   the first session after the kapoot   Washington Square Church   I’d encode live and the piano would replay   exactly my performance for digital recordings in three parts   strumming   lower depths   timbral assault   a re-evaluation   work from the seventies   recorded in the late eighties   finally released in the late nineties   a long fucken journey   don’t cha think?   nuf said!   Big Daddys!   Enjoy!

Charlemagne Palestine

4/97