I remember a waterslide when I was a child called The Abyss. It was pitch-black for the first twenty-seconds; we couldn’t see our feet in front of us. Then sporadic holes drilled through the black plastic tube gave us this illusion of speed as they chased our eyes abilities to adjust to the complete contrast, to a sharp sudden degree of brightness. As the ride went on we sped past more and more pinholes of light, and our eyes slowly caught up, until we were born again into a pool of water and the daylight at the bottom.
Keaton Henson’s words and his notes are pinholes of light through a dark dark tube of a song, or of his songs. And often they don’t end up bathed in light, but I find myself going back to them for the illusion.
It’s interesting, the five dollar words Andrew Bird drops, the top shelf metaphors Sam Beam mutters in casual retorts, and Keaton just exhales. He exhales this weight, a weight that places ten pounds on all of his notes.
I’d like to believe that if I study these strengths then I can tease them into haunting me. But how do you articulate a tone that is shadowboxing naked in some great quiet unknown?
It was never spectacular or overproduced, the smile that I made when I slid past those first pinholes of light on that waterslide The Abyss. I can’t say for sure what it (my smile) looked like but if I wanted to recreate it as best I could I would lie on my back in the dark and listen to Keaton Henson.
I think it was genuine, when completely alone.
I’m not sure how else to pin down why I so value what he has released, or why this singular feeling, this singular relief, is worth so much to me. Perhaps it is the beautiful surprise of perfectly timed contrast between silence and a kind hearted tone. It’s nearly honest enough to be psychosomatic, like an illusion of the senses, like light through pin holes on a water slide, like good art.
And for that I thank him.