Readers of the previous post may recall my enthusiasm for a paper on Dunsanian drone metal given at the Weird conference earlier in the week. To give full credit, this was by Owen Coggins of the Open University, the full title of the piece being 'Awakening Mana-Yood-Sushai: Lord Dunsany's Weird Fiction (and other Sacred Scriptures) in Drone Metal Music'. In the interim, I've downloaded several of the musical works mentioned by Owen, notably the albums Bethmoora, Mana-Yood-Sushai and Idle Days on the Yann all by Bong. Rather than offer a detailed overview of these, I'll settle for a very brief and impressionistic capsule review of Idle Days on the Yann, purely because this is a concept album based on the eponymous tale by Dunsany, and which happens to be one of my favourite (and certainly most read) of the Dunsany canon.
In terms of musical style, Idle Days on the Yann certainly elicits a strong Middle-Eastern - one might even say orientalist -flavour (especially the first track), mixed with Tibetan-influenced dronings and inferences of raga rock, that sit very well with Dunsany's literary exoticism. Where I perhaps part company with Bong is with regard to mood. The two album tracks (each over 20 minutes in length) that make up Yann do seem very pendulous and somewhat doom-laden as far as atmospherics are concerned, which for me doesn't quite arouse the wistful, melancholic - and occasionally sardonic - mood of Dunsany's original tale. In brief, whilst Bong's take here is very effective at evoking the overall feel of Dunsanian weirdness, it didn't quite succeed in conjuring the ambience or disposition of the original tale. As an album, Idle Days on the Yann is a great piece of weird rock mysticism - something I will definitely be listening to when ensconced in my sanctum sanctorum...
...whilst pouring through some horror-filled tome of forbidden lore. But in the latter regard, it is a work better suited as background to, say, a pilgrimage to the awful, squat black monasteries of Leng than as soundscape to a drowsily dream-like excursion along the banks of the River Yann.
Idle Days on the Yann by Bong can be downloaded for the low price of four English pounds here.
Much of Dunsany's work - which I now understand to be out of copyright - can be downloaded freely in multiple formats here.