O'DWYER, AINE - Gallarais
David Toop, on hearing Áine O'Dwyer's Gallarais and the subsequent conversations between November 2016 and January 2017. "Sleep music, the underworld. Twenty-six letters were sent, not far to travel, from Proust, hypersensitive writer to his upstairs neighbour, Marie Williams -- 'I was rather troubled by noise . . . I was trying to sleep off an attack. But at 8am the tapping on the parquet was so distinct that the Veronal didn't work and I woke with the attack still raging.' Marie Williams played harp, though it was not the harp that dragged Proust from the fumes of a bedroom armed against asthma attacks, cork-lined to smother noise.. . . Proust spoke of an imperceptible breath, 'like the wind breathing into the stem of a reed', mingling with the subdued song of his dying grandmother's breathing, 'swift and light . . . gliding like a skater towards the delicious fluid', the human sighs released at the approach of death . . . 'Who's there?' cries out the old man, stark terror pulled awake at the faintest of noises from pitch black vicinity of an unseen doorway. . . . There is one voice or two, whispers of shaping breath thrown into far obscure and occult recesses of the space as if spirits on the wing whose feathers shriek and keen. They are swans with near-human heads, carrying the lightness of souls, moving between dry land of the living, subterranean rivers of the dead. Sleep music they make, its murmurs written by the method of 'passive writing', a transcribing of tongues unknown to all but the most open of listeners. . . . The space was a cave, a tunnel, a room without windows. A skull without eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, though as Beckett had noticed, the soul turns in this cage as in a lantern, silence 'beating against the walls and being beaten back by them'; the space was a chapel, upturned boat, perhaps the curragh that carried Maildun and his crew to the Isle of Weeping, the Isle of Speaking Birds, the Palace of Solitude. . . . 'Within a house described by Mary Butts, in Ashe of Rings (1998), the bronze note of a clock rings, 'like a body falling bound into deep water'. . . . The body descended into the tunnel, never to return as itself." - MIE Music.
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