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Palestine, Charlemagne / John Kormeling: Meet The Frogsichord [VINYL 2 LPs FUR COVER] (Staalplaat)

Architect John Körmeling and maverick musician Charlemagne Palestine collaborate on a whole new system of music, reworking the harpsichord to generate notes of Pythagorean ratios, Kormeling asking the visionary and idiosyncratic to composer create a set of recordings on the instrument that Palestine dubbed "The Frogischord".

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product information:

UPC: 769791976931

Label: Staalplaat
Squidco Product Code: 29367

Format: 2 LPs
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: Netherlands
Packaging: Double LP in a Gatefold Sleeve w/ fur cover and hand sown patch
Side A and C recorded at CharleWorld studio, in Brussels, Belgium, on December 22nd and 23rd, 2015.

Side B recorded at the Lantaren Venster, in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on April 16th, 2015.

SIDE D recorded at the Cappadox Festival, in Cappadocia, Turkey, on May 17th, 2015.


Charlemagne Palestine-piano

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Artist Biographies:

"Charlemagne Palestine (born Chaim Moshe Tzadik Palestine) is a performance artist from New York.

Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1947, Palestine began by singing sacred Jewish music and studying accordion and piano. At the age of 12 he started playing backup conga and bongo drums for Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Kenneth Anger, and Tiny Tim. From 1962-69 Palestine was daily carillonneur for the Saint Thomas Episcopal Church in Manhattan, eventually creating a piece that consisted of 1,500 15 minute performances.

From 1968-72, Palestine studied vocal interpretation with Pandit Pran Nath, experimented on kinetic light sculptures with Len Lye, composed music for Tony and Beverly Conrad's film "Coming Attractions," taught at Cal Arts with Morton Subotnick, created the sound and movement piece Illuminations with Simone Forti, and developed his own alternative synthesizer, The Spectral Continuum Drone Machine. Throughout the seventies Palestine created records, videos, sculptural objects, abstract expressionist visual scores and performed regularly in the company of his stuffed animals. From 1980 to 1995 Palestine performed only rarely, exhibiting instead at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, and in documenta 8. During that time he also founded the Ethnology Cinema Project in New York, which is dedicated to preserving films that document disappearing traditional cultures.

After moving to Europe in 1995, in addition to creating exhibitions, Palestine performs regularly, re-releasing older material and developing new videos and sonic projects."

-Wikipedia (

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track listing:


1. Brussels Parttt 6

2. Brussels Parttt 8

3. Brussels Parttt 3

4. Brussels Parttt 1


1. Rotterdam Parttt 1


1. Antwerpen/ Brussels Parttt 1

2. Antwerpen/ Brussels Parttt 5

3. Antwerpen/ Brussels Parttt 7

4. Antwerpen/ Brussels Parttt 9

5. Antwerpen/ Brussels Parttt 10


1. Cappadocia Parttt 1
descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Architect John Kormeling 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 realise this music, he turned back to the harpsichord and adapted its jangling sound to an intonation that literally plays Pythagorean ratios. Remember Pythagoras from high school? Take a right angled triangle: a²+b²=c² . . . or play with the square roots of 1, 2, 3. Körmeling made it possible to hear ratios and proportions that we usually only encounter on the pages of a maths book. They don't sound . . . normal, but being mathematical they very quickly sound logical.

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,,,,,,,,,". (He writes like he plays: his own way.)

Palestine saw the new instrument and named it the Frogsichord after its colour. A new limited edition staalplaat double LP Frogsichord 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, one that we are all programmed, however unwillingly, to understand. Meet the Frogsichord. It will change how you listen to music. It might even help you with maths. And it doesn't sound like skeletons at all, but full of life . . ."-Staalplaat

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Improvised Music
Compositional Forms
Piano & Keyboards
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