- 01. The Golden Mean
The Golden Mean
The Golden Mean begins with alternating unison Es on each piano, before taking its own sweet time to progress through semitones, tones, thirds, fourths, tritones… with gradually varying and suckingly hypnotic rhythms pattering between the speakers. I recommend listening on headphones; the rhythmic gelling is such that you could only really get it from one human performer, but the pianos are panned left and right, giving the illusion of two different players supernaturally in sync with each other. Weird.
As with much of Palestine’s music, there’s plenty of interest to be had merely in playing spot-the-overtone, as his sensitivity in teasing out and examining the ghostly almost-notes that fly off the main patterns like spray from a waterfall is as much in evidence as ever. It’s, well, really beautiful.
There are undeniable similarities to La Monte Young & co., and in particular to Steve Reich’s piano phasing experiments, but Palestine maintains that he arrived at his style independently of any of the ‘classic’ minimalists, most of whom he appears to regard as sell-outs of the ‘sacred’ possibilities inherent in a more ‘pure sound’ approach to minimalism. To an extent I know what he means, and there is a quasi-shamanic energy and thrust to Palestine’s music that isn’t to be found anywhere else in this school of music. Did I just include Charlemagne Palestine in the minimalist school of music? I’ll get my coat.