Words, Wonderful Words!

An illustration by Ernest H. Shepard from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
An illustration by Ernest H. Shepard from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Whether they are spoken or sung, words can reach into one’s very soul and do wonderful, terrible things. Words inspire me to write music.

Sometimes, it is a lyric:

“The fire of maples in autumn is how I remember you.”

— Michael Franks, “How I Remember You”, Dragonfly Summer (1993)

Sometimes, a verse:

And it came to me then that every plan is a tiny prayer to father time
As I stared at my shoes in the ICU that reeked of piss and 409
And I rationed my breaths as I said to myself that I’d already taken too much today
As each descending peak on the LCD took you a little farther away from me
Away from me…

— Death Cab For Cutie, “What Sarah Said”, Plans (2005)

Sometimes, a passage:

The Mole waggled his toes from sheer happiness, spread his chest with a sigh of full contentment, and leant back blissfully into the soft cushions. “What a day I’m having!” he said. “Let us start at once!”

— Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (1908)

Sometimes, extracts from a play:

Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.

— Caliban, Act 3, Scene 2, The Tempest, William Shakespeare

Oh, it is monstrous, monstrous.
Methought the billows spoke and told me of it,
The winds did sing it to me, and the thunder,
That deep and dreadful organ pipe, pronounced
The name of Prosper.

— Alonso, Act 3, Scene 3, The Tempest, William Shakespeare

Sometimes, a poem or two (I regret they are not English):

Et je ne sais vraiment
Où peut s’être posé
Le moineau que j’entends
Si tristement crier.

(And I honestly don’t know
Where it can have alighted
The sparrow that I hear
So sadly calling.)

— From Le Brouillard (“The Fog”), Maurice Carême

En hoog in die rande,
versprei in die brande,
is die grassaad aan roere
soos winkende hande.

(And high in the ridges,
scattered in the fires,
are grasses astir
like beckoning hands.)

— From Winternag (“Winter’s Night”), Eugène Marais


Forgotten Fields

Why “Forgotten Fields”

I have always been a loner. For many reasons, I have felt forgotten by my family. Early on, solitude became my friend. I escaped into the worlds of Dirk Bogarde (A Postillion Struck by Lightning), Kenneth Grahame (The Wind in the Willows) and Marcel Pagnol (La Gloire de Mon Père). I used to picture abandoned fields, just beyond the hedgerows, dotted with flowers like an impressionist painting. They gave me a sense of comfort. I escaped to them to be alone with my thoughts. I imagined myself lying in the tall grass, gently whispering in the wind. I stare at the clouds, my mind finally quiet. No one will find me because no one comes to these fields. Here, I am not afraid, everything is as it should be, all is right with the world. The name “Forgotten Fields” describes this inner life, the feelings of nostalgia and melancholy. It captures the yearning for something idyllic lost and even forgotten, a place that must be returned to some day, but may never be found again.

The music of existentialism

This sense of abandonment has been a theme of my existence for as long as I can remember; and my life has been an unending crusade against the mental chaos that followed. In an attempt to impose order on the chaos, I indulge my methodical, exacting nature. I am constantly trying to bring order out of the confusion about who I am, what I want and what I need. I regulate my own behaviour in order to extract something beautiful out of the noise that is my life. Predictably, this existential crisis finds expression in my work. In my music, droning noise and—to borrow from descriptions of the shoegaze movement—“walls of sound” represent chaos. Using repeating themes, sounds and melodies, I try to transform the noise into something structured, ordered and, I hope, beautiful. The ambient post-rock/drone genre provides an ideal medium for this. It is dark and pensive to quiet the mind, but also provides a medium with which to tell stories. The stories can be haunting and tragic or inspiring and rhapsodic. I endeavour to tell both. “Airship” is my first official attempt at doing so.

Forgotten Fields