Charlemagne Palestine and Janek Schaefer – Day of the Demons (Desire Path Recordings)

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Charlemagne Palestine and Janek Schaefer: Day of the Demons

A match made in heaven, or perhaps hell, Day of the Demons brings minimalist visionary Charlemagne Palestine and conceptual sound artist Janek Schaefer together for two side-long drones of bells, organs, howls and untraceable miscellany. The premise is in the title and outstanding cover art — the duo presented as brave adventurers into the dark, mysterious and unknown; the recording, both an account of how they defended themselves and of the horrors they witnessed.

In ‘Raga de l’aprés midi pour Aude’, slowly-unfurled buzz wavers and grows, bells toll, and sine tones whine, before Palestine’ unmistakable wail enters to lead the throng. There’ an urgency to the vocals, but they remain in control, and he passes through the storm victorious, with a weary call of triumph. ‘Fables from a Far Away Future’ explores broader thematic stages. Processed accordion and sleigh bells jangling over children’ voices in a schoolyard add a hint of uncertainty to otherwise bucolic sounds. We then hear children reciting prayers and a twanging with vocoder hum, before the electricity takes over in waves of soothing pop ambient and less-soothing organ drones.

The excitement of both pieces comes from the balance between fraught tension and sheltered solace. These dichotomies are placed side by side and in perfect harmony, creating music that is both menacing and menaced, cushioned and assuring. The limited blood red vinyl edition includes a mask to ward off the evil spirits, if you need any further incentive.

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