Rhythm and Knowledge (for Sue Tompkins) by Kiran Leonard
Her phrases frame thoughts and memories that once lacked articulation, and they are all the more perfect for it because they never make sense. To listen to The Leanover, even for the hundredth time, is a personal experience, because in trying and failing to ascribe sense to its disjointed, half-light images, and thus surrendering ourselves to instinct and subjectivity, we find our own history being read aloud on record. Somehow she captures those desires which diminish as soon as we have to organise them in speech, as if she were a voice from our past that even we were not aware of. Nothing, I feel, approaches this pleasure: of having our inner chaos affirmed, read back to us, in words from an outside point of contact.
Cixous: ‘[For] this is what nourishes life—a love that has no commerce with the apprehensive desire that provides against the lack and stultifies the strange; a love that rejoices in the exchange that multiplies’.
Most of us don’t want to talk about love, we just want it to be transmitted. Although we talk and we think with words, our thoughts, in trying to articulate our feelings, are governed by a vocabulary without grammar, something which terrifies us. In trying to refine the unspeakable into harsh sentences, we reach a total impasse. But her words are evocative precisely because they transmit past the tyranny of a false grammar, of things unjustly made to make sense. Within them, there is no time for ingenuousness (unless we are being ingenuous to ourselves). Each phrase comes spiralling immediately from its point of contact. Contact. The words are coming from points of contact. It’s not the other way round: here, words cannot substantiate what has contacted them. Words that try to be substantial flee from contact with their tail between their legs. There is no misplaced authority of explanation here: there is only the joy and the rhythm of senseless expression.
There is somebody she wants to see and there is a closed door. There are high heels; she dances and she is, and she is when she dances. And there is responsibility, always somebody’s responsibility. Glimpses like this perhaps provide more substance than others: I like you mostly late at night. And we can take it back. And we can keep us together. We can venture to say, at most, that the speaker’s burden of expressing her love directly, and of explaining herself when it has disappeared, is pointedly forfeited. But this has nothing to do with us. All she leaves us with is nostalgia for the original point of contact: the first, the last, the only. And we share in this nostalgia. Nothing is explained, but everything is said, which is what makes it ours. It did not have to make sense. There is no reason.
Kiran Leonard is a 23-year-old musician from Saddleworth, Greater Manchester. In addition to an overwhelming slew of Bandcamp releases, he has released four studio albums in recent years through Moshi Moshi. The latest of which was Western Culture. Kiran Leonard + band will be touring and playing festivals throughout 2019.