November 26, 2010
Charlemagne Palestine is a peformer/composer/video artist originally from Brooklyn and still active today. Best known for his compositions in the seventies, he has often been compared to minimalists Steve Reich and Terry Riley. Palestine, however, emphasizes ritual over repetition, and the power of trance is specifically integral to his work. In "Island Song," Palestine drives a motorcyle down a backroad in Hawaii with a an early model video camera strapped to his person, seemingly looking for a way off the island. Having studied under Pandit Pran Nath, Palestine skillfully harmonizes his voice to the hum of the motorcylce engine, creating an interactive dialogue with his environment. Shot the same year, "Island Monologue" follows similar themes with Palestine wandering through an impermeable fog, voicing his unbroken solitude. But this is not the isolation of modern life Antonioni tuned into. Palestine's work vibrates with human warmth across the chasm, and it is objectivity, the evironment bereft of human inference, which feels vapid.. Palestine stayed busy in 1976, managing also to release these two full-length albums: Strumming Music and Four Manifestations On Six Elements.
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