Sunday, April 8, 2012

still-sound 57. Night scented

I wish you could smell these datura flowers.  They hang like witches' hats in front of my neighbor's house and emit a sweet floral perfume in the evening.  The scent trails down the street and lures you in.  The flowers and leaves themselves are highly toxic.  I read that every year there are fatalities from datura poisoning, mostly intentional.  Datura belongs to the moonlit world of deadly night shade, mandrake and belladonna.  The working materials of a witch.

On the album Never Forever, Kate Bush sings a song titled Night Scented Stock.  The album was released in 1980, four years after a the British perfumery Penhaligons introduced a new fragrance with the very same name.  The song itself is wordless.  Kate's voice is the only instrument, layered and polytonal like a chorus.  The song begins with a quiet, beckoning melody and eventually builds into a final, protracted, dissonant chord.  It's a Pre-Raphealite fantasy of a nocturnal English garden ... of longing, beauty and peril.

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