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Alternative & Indie - Released November 8, 2019 | Bella Union

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 4, 2020 | Bella Union

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Peradam concludes the "Perfect Vision" trilogy of collaborative albums between musical psychogeographers Soundwalk Collective and Patti Smith. All are sonic inquiries into the exploratory travels of three French writers and contain field recordings from the places these writers sojourned. The first two, Peyote Dance and Mummer Love, were issued in 2019. The former was inspired by poet, dramatist, and actor Antonin Artaud's travels to Sierra Tarahumara, Mexico, where he observed and partook of the indigenous people's spiritual rituals. The latter took poet Arthur Rimbaud's sojourn in Harar, Ethiopia as its muse. In each case, the Soundwalk Collective's Stephan Crasneanscki and Simone Merli traveled to these locales and recorded the world around them. They brought their field-recorded, studio-manipulated sounds to Smith, who added intuitive readings of their works, imparting the illuminating experiences reflected in their texts, all inside a native universe of sound. Peradam draws on the writings of literary and psychic traveler Rene Daumal, in particular his unfinished and influential novel Mount Analogue. Daumal traveled to India in a search of the "peradam," his conception of a rare, crystalline stone that harbors profound truths, and is only visible to true spiritual seekers. The novel's text in both French (delivered by Charlotte Gainsbourg) and English translations, is utilized here. Soundwalk Collective traced Daumal's steps through his travels to the Nanda Devi in the Himalayas, Rishikesh, Varanasi, and the secluded Kingdom of Lo (Upper Mustang) to channel his metaphysical quest. "Nanda Devi" commences with the ever-present roaring wind across the Himalayan slopes. Sherpa Dhan Singh Rana chants an invocation to the bliss-giving goddess of the mountain in Hindi. On "Peradam," Smith reads excerpts from Daumal's G.I. Gurdjieff-influenced texts and translations from the Sanskrit over the sounds of Tibetan damaru, sampled beats, bells, gongs, and vocal chants. She intones that she will not speak of the mountain before the journey makes her one with its deity. "Knowledge of the Self" is introduced with night sounds and Anoushka Shankar's sitar; it hovers above the environmental sounds before Smith unfolds Daumal's cautionary instructions for the spiritual journey. The scattershot percussion and nearly imperceptible drones in "Spiritual Death" allow her room to expose the beginner's mind to frustrating yet ultimately instructive eternal truths. In "The Four Cardinal Times," Gainsbourg whispers a text cyclically in French before Smith reads another in English. Their cadences are staggered amid night sounds, harmonium, and ambient drones and are eventually combined with incantatory power. Sounds here are primarily ambient and unintrusive; they border on becoming boring, but don't succumb. They insinuate meaning and illuminate Smith's interpretive, rhythmic readings; they frame both her voice and its annunciations, which are layered with hidden meanings. While some may find the two earlier volumes more satisfying due to more dramatic presentations, the "Perfect Vision" trilogy needed Peradam's gentler, decidedly more exploratory texts of a dangerous spiritual quest and discovery to come full-circle. Framed by field-recorded eloquence, Smith's voice delivers on that potential. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Electronic - Released May 18, 2018 | The Vinyl Factory

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 16, 2020 | Bella Union

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House - Released May 25, 2018 | The Vinyl Factory

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Electronic - Released April 7, 2017 | Apollo

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 3, 2019 | Bella Union

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 25, 2019 | Bella Union

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 28, 2020 | Bella Union

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 15, 2019 | Bella Union

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Gypsy - Released September 26, 2014 | Asphalt Tango Records