Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Confessions of an English Mystic, being a review of the latest album by Bat for Lashes - Two Suns

Just a couple of Monday's ago, as I lay adrift in the adoring sunshine, I found myself falling and rushing, as if sucked through a tunnel, into a laudanum-induced dream, a delightful fugue state whereby a horde of homunculi danced jazzily across my mind's eye before dissolving and abstracting into a most pleasant delirium of fluttering geometries, bejeweled ziggurats and byzantine topographies. Then, sailing through this most queer inner cosmos, I saw great planets on fire, plunging and shattering against a crystalline sun. I saw dark hearts blazing while they beat and an orchard strewn with vastly swollen fruit. All these sightes were set in a rippling landscape, as if the very Earth herself desired transfiguration and deliquescence.

And there, in a lush valley threaded with streams and brooks and gurgling oases of honey and ambrosia and possibly the juice of cranberries, I saw a majestical iridescent fortress, fretted with golden fire, from which emerged the most fantastical chimera, a creature of such impossible provenance I am loath to describe it lest I be removed to Bedlam. It was as if the Lord had taken the body, legs and tail of the proud unicorn but then combined it, somehow, with the head of a horse... this was, as you imagine a sight most fearful and awesome to behold. Indeed, it was deeply mental.

More than this I cannot remember, for I was rudely plucked from my delerium by an insistent knocking on my door. It was a fellow trying to sell me his wares. He claimed to be from Porlock. I told him that I had no use of wares, thanks, this being the 21st century, and just where the Tooting Bec is Porlock anyway? Making the tenacious limpet seem positively irresolute by comparison, our man continued his pitch, convinced that his wares were of the highest quality. I eventually got him to leave whereupon I retired to my bed, eager to reawaken my visionary state. Alas! Ecstatical slumber proved elusive: each time I tried to relax and coax back the lost world, my mind became bepopulate with the mere fancies and flimflam of this drear world. All that remained were fragments; shards of the dream now lay shattered about.

Happily, Natasha Khan of Bat for Lashes seems to have visited this same undiscovered country and brought back not glimpes and shards but whole songs; a rich and vivid tapestry full of the fevered denizens and mind-wrong architecture of that other place. Two Suns, on the surface simply an album, and a second album at that, is in fact, a travelogue from this undiscovered country, a glimpse of a better place from an artist who’s peeked behind the curtain to reveal an unsuspected truth: that there are worlds and wonders unseen by you and I and also Lady GaGa.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Speaking in Code

Can I see this now please?

More info about Philip Sherburne.