Nevermore 2005 / MoonJune 2013
Romancing one’s denial of existence demands a special tune to get under the skin. Shed it and embrace it all.
It’s all about performance for Joseph Smalkowski, for there’s nothing beyond the given instant, yet these moments comprise the very fibre of life, which is worth celebrating time and again. And that’s what Copernicus, Smalkowski’s alter ego, did several times, having recorded the “Immediate Eternity” album in English and Spanish and then recut it in German and French, all in the company of Uruguayan players with whom he also toured. The Gallic version proved to be the rarest in the sense of the copies’ quantity as well as in the artist’s approach, as the American swapped his usual gloom outlook for jubilance, opener “L’Humanité Est Belle” and finale “Vive Le Nouveau!” being breathtakingly beautiful: a description rarely applied to Copernicus’ aural output.
There’s unexpected optimism in the skittering funk underlying “La Vérité Absolue Est Possible” to puncture its initial classical stratum, and reckless fatalism in the plant-bashing heavy rock ‘n’ roll of “Le Bâton” but, while acoustic jive of “Poudre” betrays its Latin provenance, the sparse, spacey “Sent L’Inexistence” sounds freezing. For the most part, though, the vibrant theatricality of the poet’s delivery, offset with Newton Velasquez’s piano and Cesar Aragundi’s guitar, bears an impressionistic touch like a walk near the Seine on rainy day that grows in tension, although its intention’s scope implies a certain scoff – so palpable in the elegant flow of “Il N’y A Pas Différence” and the “Rêves En Ballons” bluesy rise.