Palms is Ryan Schaefer and Nadja Korinth.
Though a band of only two, great distances and far-flung elements are also constitutive of Palms. To begin with, the members live on different continents.
Schaefer—originally from southern Illinois—has called New York City home for the past eight years. Korinth, currently residing in Berlin, was raised in what was formerly the East German town of Leipzig.
However, London served as the setting for the pair’s first meeting in 2003.
Of course, this distance demands a unique working relationship, one in which both spend months developing ideas on their own that are then fit together, broken down or elaborated during short periods of intense collaboration on one or the other side of the Atlantic.
With this process of constructing songs, it is no surprise that the studio should be Palms’ natural home.
There, guided by a sense of both precision and experimentation, the band transmutes these ideas into the sparse and haunted sound heard on “It's Midnight in Honolulu”. At the Rare Book Room Studio, they worked closely with Nicolas to hone their sound.
More than mere points on the map, however, we find each of these places out of the Palms biography present in the music as well, whether in the echoes of German kosmische musik, like Faust and Klaus Schulze, or the Midwestern plains evoked in the spare and expansive sounds of “Der Koenig” or “New Moon.” New York and Britain creep through as well in traces of the Velvet Underground and the Jesus and Mary Chain as much as in the enervated dance music of “Boundary Waters.”
There are other geographic coordinates: The plaintive, expansive “Monte Alban,” named for the ruins of a Zapotec temple in Oaxaca, and of course Honolulu of the title, which derives from the role call of international time zones on the BBC News where Korinth has worked for several years.
These images of the exotic convey hope and horror both—escape and its various suggestions. It’s an ambivalence that runs through the record. For while It's Midnight in Honolulu is a dark album, one finds as well an almost utopian thread—for instance in the prevalence of nature, and even a call for a “new nature” on “Boundary Waters.” But, then, their nature is as menacing as it is pure, and possibility persists even as it reinforces impossibility: “Oh moonlight show me the way to where my heart longs to be/for in this world of darkness I can't see”, they sing on “Der Koenig.” And on “End of Term,” the following weary and persistent refrain: Don’t dance by yourself/Dance into the light…
END OF TERM
HANG YOUR HEAD