Palestine, Charlemagne: Ffroggssichorddd (Fur cover) LP

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Double LP version. Limited fur cover edition (color varies). Architect John Körmeling and maverick musician Charlemagne Palestine collaborate on a whole new system of music. A famous English conductor said that the harpsichord sounded like "two skeletons copulating on a tin roof". An instrument that was once the basis of every orchestra and chamber ensemble was long ago replaced by the stronger and, for some, sweeter sounding piano. Now the harpsichord is very much the preserve of specialists and early-music supporters and has seen very little progress in design. Enter architect and musical philosopher John Körmeling. In addition to designing utopian public spaces like the "Happy Street" which served as the Dutch pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 2010, and the "Straight Road" artwork which played with the mismatch between the curvature of the earth and our need to see life in two dimensions, Körmeling has devised a system of music that sets aside familiar Western tuning and is based instead on square roots, areas, and volumes. In order to realize this music, he turned back to the harpsichord and adapted its jangling sound to an intonation that literally plays Pythagorean ratios. Körmeling made it possible to hear ratios and proportions that we usually only encounter on the pages of a math book. Körmeling now had his instrument, but who would have the imagination and vision to play it. He turned to the veteran rule-breaker Charlemagne Palestine, pioneer of long-form improvisations on harpsichord, harmonium, and other neglected keyboard instruments. The idea of "playing a triangle" immediately appealed. Responding to the invitation from Körmeling, he said that "thiss Pythagoriann harpsichordd was just upp myy alley,,,,,,,,,". Palestine saw the new instrument and named it the Frogsichord after its color. This record documents performances on the Frogsichord made in Brussels, Rotterdam and in Cappadocia, Turkey. The sound is strange, perhaps even estranging, but Palestine has made it his own, and created a music that is rich and detailed, not simply "exotic". It's no longer a question of Western tonality colliding with non-European harmonic systems. Here is music that taps into the universal language of mathematics.

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