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COPERNICUS NCD 2085
Nothing Exists  
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The year was 1984, and Copernicus was making the transition from being a performance poet to declaiming in front of a full-scale band of musicians. He'd already begun performing with saxophonist Melody Peach, when he first witnessed multi-instrumentalists Larry Kirwan and Pierce Turner performing in the East Village. He suggested an immediate collaboration, and from that point the threesome went on to make up a performing nucleus. Shortly thereafter, Copernicus breezed into the slick midtown Manhattan RCA Studios with fifteen musicians in tow, spontaneously laying down the tracks that would become "Nothing Exists". ... It was a day RCA would not soon forget.Momentum gathered, as his reputation quickly blossomed: "Harrowing journeys of beat poetry and psychedelic/jazz improvisation into the irreducible atomic. Copernicus stands at the cosmic podium, the bellows of nihilism heaving in his chest, and ... everything we thought we knew about the universe is incinerated. Recommended to sonic adventurers who enjoyed sailing with Captain Beefheart and The Red Krayola." - Progrography A classic work, remastered and offered for the first time on compact disc.
 
 
TRACKSClick on any highlighted track title to listen to individual audio samples, or listen to them all on the player to the right.
 
 
PERSONNEL
COPERNICUS: poetry, lead vocals
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PIERCE TURNER: musical director, keyboards, vocals
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LARRY KIRWAN: electric guitar, keyboards, vocals
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THOMAS HAMLIN: drums
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CHRIS KATRIS: guitar
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JEFFREY LAD: flute, keyboards, effects
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PETER COLLINS: bass
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STEVE MENASCHE: marimba, percussion
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FRED PARCELLS: affected trombone
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PADDY HIGGINS: bodhran, floor toms
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ANDY LEAHY: violin
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FIONNGHUALA: flute, vocals
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JIMMY "THE DOCTOR" ZHIVAGO: guitar, piano
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FRED CHALENOR: bass guitar
PRODUCTION
All lyrics by Copernicus. All music spontaneously created by all musicians. (C) Nevermore, Inc. 2009. (P) Nevermore, Inc. (Ski Music Division) 2009. All rights reserved.
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Recorded at RCA Studios, NYC, 1984. Recording Engineers: Ron Bacchiocchi, Andy Heermans & Michael Theodore.
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Digitally remastered at MasterDisk, NYC, from the original recording tapes.
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Executive Producer: Joseph Smalkowski
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Dedicated to Emily Glen.
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ALBUM REVIEWS

"To experience Copernicus is to witness a personal struggle...the struggle of an artists in searchof the most effective means to communicate his vision: that the world around us which we perceive as reality, is on fact an illusion, and the truth is that nothing exists.

"Copernicus is a musical genius who doesn’t know when to quit."

-John Strasbaugh, The New York Press, 1988

"Copernicus is a genuine poet/performer whose soul screams for eternal release, and whose words are heightened by the emphatic way he delivers them."

-CMJ, 1991

"This album is unique, a surprise at every turn."

-Rockpool Magazine, 1984

"Copernicus is the embodiment of Jim Morrison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Billy Sunday and Caligula."

-Village Voice, 1984

"True innovation and a willingness to take chances."

-WBAI Radio, New York, 1984

"Who is Copernicus and why is his album glued to my turntable?"

-WOSR Radio, Columbus, OH, 1984

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ARTIST PROFILE

Perhaps the most fitting way to describe Copernicus is as a "performance poet." Even though the gentleman originally named Joseph Smalkowski plays keyboards, Copernicus refuses to be categorised as a musician. Despite often having inhabited the alternative New York rock'n'roll scene, his music also exudes strong elements of jazz, classical and the avant garde. Even though Copernicus' preferred recording strategy is that of improvisation, his epic pieces tend to revolve around themes, riffs and repeated clusters, moving along a clearly linear pathway.

The booming delivery and abstract texts evoke the spirit of classic beat generation poetry, but the Copernicus stance goes back even further to the theatrical confrontations of the Dada movement. He's always preferred the improvisatory approach, even though each poem's grist might be prepared in advance, their rhythms and content might be disassembled in the moment.

Copernicus has always been fiercely independent, since he first started recording in this manner, back at the dawn of the 1980s. He organises the recording sessions, sculpts the assembled band, oversees the album artwork and releases each disc on his own Nevermore, Inc. label. 1985 brought Nothing Exists, which emphatically laid out the themes of his subsequent work. A burst of creativity led to the swift succession of Victim Of The Sky (1987), Deeper (1989) and Null (1990). Often, Copernicus would perform with large-scale ensembles, but in 1991 he initiated the practice of giving completely solo performances, revealing his declamations in a stripped, confrontational space. He views himself as a conduit for abstract ideas and philosophical notions. Copernicus decided that his particular marriage of music and narrative was the best way to communicate his thoughts and concepts to a receptive audience.

He released "No Borderline" in 1993, but there was to be a longer gap before the eventual release of 2001's "Immediate Eternity" -- which moved in a completely different direction, as its creator was spending increasing amounts of time in Ecuador.

Copernicus was evolving after having spent three years penning his book, also called Immediate Eternity. He linked up with Los Nomadas from Guayaquil, the country's biggest city, and his music moved temporarily more towards the zone of jazz-rock fusion. With 2010's Disappearance, Copernicus made a return to the old established methods, refining them into a distillation of an ongoing obsession with the freedom and beauty of nothingness.

Image: Nevermore Records artist, Copernicus
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