Sol Invictus / Sieben / HaWthorn – Writ in Water

This 4 track compilation cd is also called “The John Keats, Percy Bisshe Shelley, Lord George Gordon Byron album”. Indeed, influenced by three great Romantic poets, contemporaries who all lived from the end of the 18th to the beginning of the 19th century. The title of the album is derived from Keats’ tombstone (“Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water”), but Keats’ words aren’t literally present in any of the lyrics (although the Sol Invictus lyric is about Keats I presume).

The first track is a nice mantra-like song by Sol Invictus. Reminds me a bit of the music on the “Revenge of the selfish shellfish” album by Wakeford/Stapleton.

Track 2 and 3 are by HaWthorn, the project formerly known as Howden/Wakeford. The first one, Degenerate Leander, consists of looped violins, bass guitar, and vocals. The lyrics are an adaptation by Matt Howden of a poem by Byron. Quite an amusing story actually, about Byron imitating the mythological figure Leander in swimming over a small channel between the Aegean Sea and the sea of Marmara. Byron of course swims for glory and makes it, while Leander swims for love and eventually drowns. Or, as Howden puts it: “For he was drown’d, and I’ve – not”.
Track 3, then, is a poem by Percy Shelley. The music is more experimental than the previous track, and somewhat spooky.

Sieben closes the album off, with, again, lyrics inspired by Byron’s “sensual abyss”. A great track, in the vein of Sieben’s last album “Sex and Wildflowers”.

I can only highly recommend this album. The music is excellent, the artwork is nice (beautiful white digipack), and it’s interesting to hear works by and thoughts on these three Romantic Poets put to music.

artist: Sol Invictus / Sieben / HaWthorn
label: PREcordings
details: 4 tracks, 2004 [PRE001]