RAVELLO RECORDS INTERVIEW WITH AIDAN DUN AND LUCIE REJCHRTOVA ABOUT THEIR ALBUM ‘HONEYLAND’
How was “Honeyland” conceived, and what were some of the main influences behind the works?
Around 2006 I sketched twelve or fourteen piano pieces in the studio with the idea of using them as settings for poems and I experimentally uploaded a few of these ‘wordscapes’ to my website. Then, rendezvousing with Lucie Rejchrtova in Amsterdam (where I was reading) in a crowded room she mysteriously beckoned me over to an old out-of-tune upright piano and out-of-the-blue played a few of my piano compositions….Read more
Ball is a love poem which celebrates circularity, androgyny, non-duality. Plato describes the soul as an omnipotent spherical entity, defining male and female as remnants of some cosmic ‘accident’ or ‘fall’ which created the dualistic realms. Thus the ‘nights of separation’ of the poem. But ‘Ball’ invokes the completeness and joy of pre-dualistic childhood at its climax, ‘gladly rolling’ referencing once again Plato’s all-powerful all-mobile beings.
In a pastoral setting Black Passing laments the death of summer. The first verse ends with a reference to ‘the near star’ (Sirius, associated in Egyptian myth with the goddess Isis) and suggests the star is burning with grief for the dismemberment of Osiris, the husband of Isis.
In the second verse the dying year is compared to an old tramp ‘landless traveller across the earth’ whose hair is dirty and ‘thick’ (matted, ropey) with a lifetime of suffering.
At the symbolic level this poem is a tribute to all vigilant artists, those who stay awake through the machine-age, maintaining intuition, imagination and feeling under the tyranny of reason.
Acute consciousness and hypersensitivity combined with sleeplessness result in the magnification of sensory data. Ruthless self-examination, inquisitorial self-scrutiny seem to be prowling about like thieves in the night, breaking into the complacent mind of everyday consciousness, while nocturnal sounds of the modern city form an uncomfortable soundscape in the background.
The idea behind the poem is that any freedom man may have has been purchased at a high price: suffering. In other words suffering is the precious gold which has paid for what we like to call ‘self-determination’.
HER FEET AS TWO WHITE SWANS
In this erotic poem two swans gliding on a sunny river become the beautiful feet of a lover. They have the grace of military ships but in peacetime: they are pleasure-ships instead, proud but playful. The river itself is excited by their passage just as a saint’s feet ‘bring joy to the ground’.
The ‘regality’ of swans is enshrined in law in Britain since these birds (along with pigeons, valued – before the days of telecommunications – for their homing and message-carrying abilities) are protected by royal decree and cannot be killed.
Each verse of Honeyland catalogues effects of melancholy and depression yet each refrain urges the search for ‘Honeyland inside’.
Thoughts fixate on past failings, a lover’s absence; demons accuse ‘in subconscious whispers’. Suicidal meditations bring doubts as to the desirability of the afterlife. The heart is felt to be a frozen continent, all human relationships seem only opportunistic. The idea of an earthly paradise fades away.
A vision of ‘residential’ skyscrapers as giant standing-stones, resembling the ’sarsens’ of Stonehenge blown-up to vast proportions, constructed very possibly with sacrificial intentions: the slow torturing of those condemned to live in these vertical prisons.
TO A DANCER
An abstract erotic poem full of suggestive references to white rains, canals, solar barges of Cleopatra, harbours of Carthage, ‘circular ports of sunrise’ as visioned by Turner perhaps.
LITTLE RIVER ROAD
The poem is the testament of one who claims to be immune to loneliness but finds himself unmasked. He runs beside a train with ‘lighted windows’ saying goodbye to someone precious. And when ‘the small lights’ have disappeared he breaks down to spend the loneliest night of his experience, full of remorse and regret, knowing he can’t change the past.
In the aftermath of a love-affair, in the springtime ‘when the world opens its doors’ the narrator of the poem is walking near an urban marina where he observes a young couple working on their old wooden boat. The woman somehow reminds him of his lost love. He turns away in despair and notices on a sunlit wall a plant rooted in the bricks ‘halfway up the sky’ and this green shred reminds him of himself, disdaining the world but still a long way from heaven.
Pond Street is in Hampstead (near Keats House) but the dawn referred to in the first verse is galactic dawn in the Great Platonic Year. The crown is the time of the Golden Age, the time of perfection and harmony, music and beauty. The ‘mysterious’ streets are the streets of the City of God. The name of five syllables refers to ‘the number of no change’ at the heart of the I Ching.
The poem is dedicated to the same dawn-goddess who appears in Dawn Journey. Now she is walking in her universal garden barefoot at sunrise.
In the first verse of Urban Portrait the evening sky is seen as an aquarium. Somehow, a ship sails above the world, its keel visible in the form of a black cloud which cuts though the sky. In the second verse we see a crowded street in the city below where a poet is pressing on an iron bollard, a piece of street-furniture, recording perhaps the busy street-scene manifesting around him in the ‘half-real city’.
VALE ROYAL (PROLOGUE)
From the prologue of the epic poem Vale Royal (Goldmark, 1995) these verses recount the setting-out on a ‘star-crossed’ urban journey in which ‘the city of exterior light’ slowly transforms into a supernatural metropolis, a New Jerusalem. This vision of the city is acquired by a long painful quest which demands everything from the seeker: complete ’disconnection’.
As canals replace streets true spiritual light begins to reflect from the new waters and the traveller finds himself in ‘the place called Pan Cross’.
INVITATION TO THE GOLDEN QUATRAIN
This is a setting of the prophetic verse of William Blake which I have named ‘the Golden Quatrain’. (Yeats wrote in Autobiographies that these four lines unlock the whole London cosmology of William Blake.)
The fields from Islington to Marybone
to Primrose Hill and St John’s Wood
were builded over with pillars of gold
and there Jerusalem’s pillars stood.
Available on 14th September 2019
REMASTERED VERSION OF THE ALBUM DUE TO BE RE-RELEASED ON
14th SEPTEMBER 2019