Charlemagne Palestine is a highly influential experimental American musician, composer, performer and visual artist. Charlemagne Palestine was born in 1945 in New York and studied at New York University, Columbia University, Mannes College of Music and at the California Institute of the Arts. He is a professional cantor and one of the world's few contemporary carillonists. He was a bell ringer at St. Thomas Church in New York in the 1960s, and his early compositional work focused on the instrument.
He creates intense, ritualistic music, which he refers to as 'resonant music', in contrast to the 'minimal music' of his peers, Phillip Glass, Michael Nyman, Terry Riley and Steve Reich. With his piano and organ works, he has developed a highly individual aesthetic centered around layered overtones, and electronic drones, which build and change gradually, gently harmonising. He also makes use of a technique called 'strumming', where dense hypnotic rhythms are created by percussive repetition. His performances are often shamanistic, and overtly spiritual in nature. Indeed music critic Brian March notes, "there's a transcendent timelessness about Charlemagne Palestine's music that makes me feel as if it will always be around."
Palestine has released over twenty solo records. He has performed internationally, and has collaborated with artists as diverse as Pan Sonic, Tony Conrad, David Coulter and Michael Gira. He has also exhibited visual artwork at various venues, including the documenta 8.
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