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Janek Schaefer and Charlemagne Palestine – Day Of The Demons

Desire Path

Totally loving the artwork for this one, starring into the complexity, that smokey hair appearing to be shifting with the drone, a mild perfumed aroma slipping your nostrils as the sound cascades like some oriental music box fringed by minimalist chimed sentinels. The sombre pace is totally captivating, lingering on the sustain, that Shruti box’s constant reverberation digging deep in your consciousness lit by pin-pricks of bell; then floating you further out on that seraphim of a voice. A timeless swirl cultivating the unknown, strangely devoid of gender. Charlemagne Palestine dazzling in his dexterity as the drone and human mystically fuse together, the multi-tracked chromatics producing weird schisms in the fabric. Thresholds from which something ancient seems to be channelled in the changing pitches as that bending labyrinth of chant soaks, anoints its shifting patterns, an off kilter ellipse wrapping you in a slowly cooking seduction.

The first side is an amazing invocation, mostly Palestine’s silky larynx playing with your head, Janek Schaefer adding the all-important delicate detailing. On the flip side Schaefer seems to take over the reins, producing a more unsettled, unsettling accompaniment out of blighted drones interposed with field recordings. Whatever Palestine conjured up previously seems to have infected the second side, giving the harmonium swell a brooding hue, a bleak nausea combined with sounds of heavy traffic and wind-caught bells. Disjointed conversations follow, cutting out on a barely-perceivable snippet “I see a shadow, I see…” dissipating into street noises, muffled excitements; a distance sunstroke expanding on a shower of spooked toy doll slivers a pull string retort saying “I will guide you through.” This cute slice of the melodic drifts out, quickly pulled atonally askew, transformed into a ominous purr, descending, then growing out in a threatening amplitude, breeding an uneasiness throughout. A child’s spoken words suddenly taking you by surprise, a mixture of French/Arabic – a warding curse, maybe a protective spell – diverts the drone into a wash of glassy tinkling, muffled by the anonymity of some broken French conversation. Repeated phrases washing in and out, a continued pulse deep in the background diluted to a gentle drone as if nearly eased out of existence. The clank of a latch the rub of a door, disturbed gravel; diverting spins of drone on a smattering of burning coal – then simple melodics to light hail. More oscillations – finally somebody retreats from the room – the heavy door timbers shifting once more and a key locking something away from prying eyes.

Like a foreign film that delivers more questions than it answers, Day of the Demons conjures with your imagination, with a subtlety that’s most potent in the early hours with all lights extinguished.

-Michael Rodham-Heaps-

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