UKNW SOUNDS : KEATON HENSON (UK)
There are some torments in life where we can’t do anything. Some men are prone to anxiety, marked by worry, moral problems and violent passions of existence. Some go crazy, drift into a downward spiral and others tame these discomforts and make amends with their dazzling lifesaving work. This refining usually leads to a masochistic interest that fascinates and transcends our morals. This is because in reality, it allows us to believe that we are happy by revelling in the suffering of others. Whatever happens, we relish in this genius.
Keaton Henson is one of these tortured men whose genius continues to grow. This young bearded Londoner is a folk-rock musician and poet of his time. Henson started out as an illustrator. He designed the covers of various CDs including the album ‘Take to the Skies‘ by Enter Shikari. Then he began recording music on his own, equipped with his guitar in his London apartment. Encouraged by his best friend, a definite inspiration for him, he decided to put some of his tracks online. After seeing the positive reactions from people he recorded his first album ‘Dear …’.
His obsessions give us 10 intimate tracks. An acute voice arises and hits us straight in the heart from the first note. We think of Charon, Sarah Minor and Small Hands. It’s a similar emotional punch as the release of ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ by Bon Iver. This plaintive call, these sweet melodies, slide deeper into his haunting sadness and it is just the beginning… There’s nothing left to consider but the frightful beauty and an oppressive time to come.
Proving to us his despair is endless, he draws us in and a year later gives us the masterpiece “Birthdays” where he deploys an even greater emotional palette to break a heart of stone. This style of music is saturated by a meticulous extreme, even obsessive, controls the author’s abandonment and bitterness in a frenzied trance. Within these 10 tracks, he paints a coloured disenchantment with ‘You’, a passionate friendship in ‘Lying To You’, and a nostalgia purified by addition of brass in ‘Sweetheart, What Have You Done To Us’. With a reserved force this poet lets his mind go within the suffocating riffs of ‘Do not Swim’ and ‘Kronos’ and smoothly comes back to the light ‘In The Morning’. More musically diverse, ‘Birthdays’ is more mature and broad; probably due to the fact it was recorded out of his London bubble in LA.
At the same time in London he exhibits his drawings and lithographs which reflect more sharply the discomfort and emotion of a man still terrified by the pain of childhood. A reflection between reality and imagination there is a strong presence of nature. He also publishes ‘Gloaming’, a graphic novel reflecting an obsession of the spirit world beyond our reality, inspired by Scandinavian folklore and stories of Japanese ghosts (see Miyazaki’s films).
Humble, honest and touching, the heart-breaking plea of Keaton Henson violently hits your conscience and irreversibly possesses you. His mild venom has the effect of a drug so good luck because it can become addictive!