ALBUM PREVIEW: soundcloud.com/shimmering-moods-records/andrew-sherwell-above-below
And so it is.
“Let’s try something, shall we?”
Sitting at the desk with a cushion on the chair, I could see well enough as I looked around at the library. Book-lined walls with nooks containing gold-framed portraits of saints, angels, and martyrs. The longcase clock in the corner. I swivelled the chair to watch Grandfather as he walked round the room, lighting candles. As he reached the doors to the garden and started to draw the curtains, I could see the sun dipping below the western horizon, a shimmering gold disk. It looked immense.
As Grandfather continued to circle the room, the growing candlelight burnished the golden frames, a warm glow. The faces of the portraits, so stylised and still in the daylight, seemed now alive and vital.
“Mind the chair doesn’t tip,” he said without looking. It never did. The circular rug that the huge desk was sitting on in the middle of the room saw to that. He lit the final candle on the mantelpiece at the opposite end of the room to the curtains and stooped to poke idly at the fire.
“Are you ready?”
I nodded. He lit one last candle, the one on the desk, a wide, short thing he had brought back from Russia. I could tell by the script carved around its base.
“Then we shall begin. Stare at the flame, try not to blink. I will walk round the room again, and you, you concentrate, and then, well, then we’ll see. No sneaking a peek now!”
I nodded ascent and began to stare. Of course, I did. I always followed Grandfather’s instructions. As did almost everybody else.
I concentrated on the flame. Grandfather spoke, but what, I cannot remember. Then I heard him move. He stopped, spoke again, and walked slowly on. Now I lost track of him, lost to the flame. The flickering grew brighter and brighter, the darkness around me swelled. Suddenly, I was aware that the blackness held within it colours that changed in waves. But still I stared. And then I could smell…Grandmother’s perfume, a bonfire of leaves, then new-mown grass, freshly fallen snow…. I tried desperately hard to remember them all, I knew that this was something Grandfather would want to know.
I awoke sometime later. Grandfather had draped a travel blanket across my shoulders. It was warm and tickly. When he saw me stir, he got up from his chair by the dying fire. “Bed, I think, yes?”
As he tucked me in, I told him of the colours (gold, blue, red, and green) and the smells, although by then I couldn’t be certain of any. He smiled. “Good.”
In the doorway, he stopped, silhouetted against the landing light. “Next time, no candle. You are ready to see.”
He was right. I did. I still see them now.
As above, so below.
“As the shadows closed in, the stars came out.” Derek Jarman
released December 4, 2020
Music & artwork – Andrew Sherwell
Mastering – Stephan Mathieu
With thanks to Ophelia, Cameron, James Armstrong, Steve Fors, Paul SMR, and Stephan Mathieu for constant support and friendship.