Palestine / Coulter / Mathoul

Charlamagne Palestine"Though Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and La Monte Young are hailed as the pioneers of minimalist music, the portfolio of Charlemagne Palestine is equally reductive, relentless, and compelling...Not to be confused with vacuous New Age pablum, Palestine's work offers sonic sculptures to be thoroughly inspected and savored at every moment." 

- Dean Suzuki/


"There's a transcendent timelessness about Charlemagne Palestine's music that makes me feel as if it will always be around...Like Phill Niblock, Tony Conrad, Philip Corner or Yoshi Wada, Charlemagne Palestine (born plain Charles Martin in New York to Russian Jewish parents in 1947) is one of minimalist music's unjustly neglected figures, known to the lucky cognoscenti but perhaps too austere to survive the commercial crossover of late 70s minimalist music…"

-Brian Duguid/ 


Young God Records is proud to announce the release of the music of the seminal early Minimalist composer Charlemagne Palestine, as re-configured/re-iterated by David Coulter and Jean Marie Mathoul, in co-operation/collaboration with Mr. Palestine. Coulter and Mathoul have taken previously recorded works of Mr. Palestine and - with the full respect due these often transcendent and sacred works - interwoven new sounds/found-sounds, drones, and unexpected textures into an ever-shifting flow that brings new light to these deeply soulful, sonic-sculptural emanations. Re-contextualizing the pure and spiritual force of nature that Mr. Palestine’s music represents could be a risky musical undertaking, but in my opinion Coulter and Mathoul have pulled it off beautifully, inspired solely by their love and respect of the original works themselves. The mixes have an authentic, hand made sensibility, and even when electronics are occasionally introduced, retain an organic feel. The music on this CD has given me hours of listening pleasure, and I hope it provides you with a similar experience. It’s also our hope that the release of this CD will serve as a portal to the work of Mr. Palestine for those who might not already be aware of his substantial catalog of music. 

- Michael Gira/Young God Records - 2002 


Extensive information on Charlemagne Palestine can be found on the web simply by entering his name at, another similar search engine, or by visiting the highly recommended 

David Coulter is an experimental/ forward-looking U.K. composer and multi-instrumentalist whose history includes working in various capacities with the Pogues, Test Dept., The Kronos Quartet, Marc Ribot, Yoko Ono, Roger Eno, and many others. He has recently contributed sounds to, and has orchestrated a children’s choir for the new Angels of Light album, in progress. Coulter released his album INterVENTION on Young God Records (and highly recommended!). 

Jean Marie Mathoul is a sound manipulator/collagist and sometimes collaborator with Coulter. Born in 1952 - lives in Huy (Belgium). Started music in 1979 as "half a non-musician/half a sound collagist", a status that he still claims. Formed a band - in 1992 - called 48 Cameras & described by press as "a musical project with a variable geometry". On its sixth album, "I Swear I saw Garlic Growing under my Father's Steps" (2002), the band welcomes guests as DJ Olive, Michael Gira & Gerard Malanga. As with the dominoes theory, frequent modifications of the line-up & various collaborations proceed of fortuitous accidents & in the long term create links that are multiplying. JM carried out the "collage" of Maximin during the summer of 2001, using pieces recorded by Charlemagne & David & adding his own sound tools. He met for the first time Charlemagne in March 2002 but never met David who meanwhile joined 48 Cameras in September 2001...".


The following review from (with thanks to) The Wire | Louise Gray 

September 2002 

Charlemagne Palestine was born into a Russian Jewish family in Brooklyn in 1947. From an early age he trained as a cantorial singer in the synagogues of New York. At 11, he spent a year playing conga for Tiny Tim in Manhattan clubs. Later, he began ringing the carillon at St. Thomas’s Episcopal Church, which was particularly responsive to the sonic overtones and drones and repetitions. 

Palestine was drawn into the 1960s New York art scene, and soon came into contact with Tony Conrad, who was his conduit to Andy Warhol’s and La Monte Young’s groups. He also worked with Indian classical singer Prandit Pran Nath. After graduating from the NYC High School of Music and Art, he researched synthesizer composition at NYU’s Intermedia Center. When its director, Morton Subotnick, moved to California Institute for the Arts (Cal Arts), he took the fledgling composer with him. There, Palestine encountered the Bosendorfer piano, whose harmonic spectrum provided with the sonic clarity he needed. While at Cal Arts, he built a drone machine to pursue lines begun with his earlier four hour organ work, Spectral Continuum Drones. Though he was associated with the rising minimalist scene, some of his early trance and sonority works, performed in the gallery while smashing his body against the walls, also linked him to the performance art of Hermann Nitsch, Chris Burden, and Vito Acconci. By the late 1970s, he had to anaesthetize himself with Cognac and clove cigarettes to play his more physical works, where he had to beat a piano until his hands were bloodied. Such demands made him temporarily give up performance for sculpture and visual art. 

During his “silence”, he amassed a huge collection of toy animals, for which he developed the concept of “Charleworld” as a spiritual dimension informed by Western animism... “