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Best of 2022

Charlemagne Palestine, Simone Forti

Illuminations / Meditative Sound Environments (2 LP in bundle)

Label: Alga Marghen

Format: 2 LP in bundle

Genre: Sound Art

In stock

€38.00
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** 365 copies ** This bundle includes the two LPs Charlemagne Palestine and Simone Forti released by Alga Marghen: "Illuminations" and "Meditative Sound Environments".


Awesome Alga Marghen re-release presenting "Illuminatios", or Charlemagne Palestine and Simone Forti duo interactions, illuminated with dim red lights.

In early 1970 Morton Subotnick asked Charlemagne Palestine to join his soon to be created Media Department at the new “Dream School of the Future” endowed by the Disneys to be called the California Institute of the Arts. Charlemagne and Simone Forti met there in 1970, when La Monte Young asked them to arrange a California concert for Pandit Pran Nath. They decided to try an improvisation session together and Charlemagne invited Simone the first time to the electronic music studio where he worked regularly. Their medium blended as a play of interacting sound waves and solid matter in motion as Charlemagne and Simone shared energy and focus. 

The three previously unreleased recordings on this LP were made between October and December 1971. The first take titled "Illumination" is for two voices moving in the space with small bells and crystal glasses while Simone Forti plays the molimo, a corrugated tube meant for connecting the gas stove. The second take titled "Wed Oct 13th 1971" has Simone and Charlemagne in a song dialogue as animals do. It was also at Cal Arts that Charlemagne Palestine first encountered a Bosendorfer Imperial Piano of Vienna. He played it often as Simone danced during their "Illuminations". Take three is a song sang in falsetto while playing the Bosendorfer Imperial in an arpeggiated style that predates the "strummings".

Listening to these "Three Takes" 40 years later they oooozza timeless carefree mystical magical dreamy atmosphere that evoked the times of the late '60s to early '70s in Charlemagne and Simone part of the California Art Scene. Illuminations were a unique open spontaneous form of performance, ritual and prayer.

Edition limited to 365 copies with an essay by both Charlemagne Palestine and Simone Forti, as well photos of the performances reproduced on the LP front sleeve.


«I met Simone through Dr. Richard Alpert, a professor at Columbia University who went to India to study with a Hindu guru and he himself became a guru afterwards called Baba Ram Dass. Coming back to US he brought Pandit Pran Nath with him. It was a time when everybody was experimenting. All came with a lot of orientalism because people were into timelessness, meditation and being stoned. It was in that atmosphere that I met Simone because she also knew Pran Nath. Around that time I moved from NY to California to work with electronic music at the newly invented school California Institute of the Arts. Simone was also living in LA and even though she was not officially connected to CalArts she knew many of the artists who were teaching there. It was in the halls of CalArts that Simone first approached me around the possibility to have Pran Nath invited to LA. In summer 1970 Simone was invited by Allan Kaprow (one of the Deans of CalArts) to do an evening of dance at the Pasadena Art Museum. One day she came to me and said “I’ve been given this commission to do a piece and I’d like to do it with music and I was wondering if you would want to do it with me?”. So I replied “Well why don’t you come to the electronic studio where I work and see how it goes? I’ll put on some sounds, we’ll make some space and see how you feel”. It immediately clicked!!!! So we decided to perform a duet together. In January 1971 in Pasadena we did our first “Illuminationss”. I played the piano, I sang a little bit, she moved a little bit when I was singing, I moved when I was singing. A Jewishy-kinf-of singing. Not only singing, but singing and running, singing and falling. I did all what eventually became my “Body Music”. Simone was also doing it but coming from a different tradition. All of a sudden we were doing a new kind of jamming together. Everybody in the audience loved it because it was so dreamy and they found amazing how a man and a woman can act in that strange, very dreamlike oriental way as in trance,,,,,together. This kind of collaboration between man and woman was uncommon at that time. Mostly other artists were doing very structural works while our performances were totally like we were on magicness drugs. Our performances had certain fixed elements like the piano or some electronics. It turned out we liked red lights so we started to always do it in red light. We liked to do it in a resonant spaces. It became more an approach than a piece, because there were never two Illuminations that were alike.» - Charlemagne Palestine

«The aspect of Charlemagne’s music that most inspired my imagination was his melodies. Sometimes their texture of repetitions and evolving variations are so close that the term melody doesn’t seem to apply. What most determined our “Illuminations” was Charlemagne’s way of letting the elements in the music develop only very gradually. Once, just before a performance, Charlemagne sang to me, “Simoney don’t worry, you will dance and sing all right.” And of course I did as we walked arm in arm circling the wide-open space, a grand piano to one side shining black and covered with Teddy Bear deities, Charlemagne reflecting his childhood time as devotional cantor, and I, my childhood time striding along in the Tuscan hills, belting out Italian folksongs with my cousins. And sometimes when Charlemagne drew clear, high tones from his brandy snifter we would play our voices together more softly. Our recurring melodies were mostly Charlemagne’s. But I brought one too, with a song about not drifting away into the beyond.» - Simone Forti

Details
Cat. number: n/a
Year: 2022

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