The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Songs Of Praise: David Keenan's Baker's Dozen
Jennifer Lucy Allan , December 2nd, 2020 09:46

Jennifer Lucy Allan hears about high-fiving Edgar Froese, frightening the neighbours, disavowing the devil and how Scottish author David Keenan is all about saying yes. Portrait by Heather Leigh.


Bach – Actus Tragicus  
I live Bachlife, I am Bach for life, I will listen to Bach till the day I die. This is a really early Bach composition, with incredible dissonances. At one point it sounds like he is being sucked into, and out of, a black hole. I'm a huge fan of Romanesque sculpture and Gothic cathedrals, it's the best of the West. It's this Middle Ages psychedelia, and to me, Bach and the great cathedrals are very similar – like LSD visions of their time, the absolute voices of eternity, the sound of then, the sound of now, and a high psychedelic form. Heather and I go to France a lot and we always go to evensong. We once saw a setting of The Magnificat, and I remember having this incredible vision. There was a choir of ordinary local people, but when they began singing Bach I thought fucking hell, it's like being in a hypercube in space. The walls of the cathedral dissolved and we were in this cube in eternity, hearing the sound. It sounded like every single planet was spinning in a different tone to create this incredible magnificent music of praise.

Bach was writing when people lived short, barbarous lives, in conditions of poverty that no-one I know could possibly imagine, and yet they're building cathedrals to the glory of God and singing The Magnificat. I thought where are the schools of praise now? Where do we go to learn how to praise? Where do we go to learn how to say yes? I began to think we needed a new art of praise. That's what I want to do with my books in the future. They have no point except to praise, and I'm bold enough to say they're there to praise the glory of God. My next novel Monument Maker is dedicated to the glory of God. I think we need to start building these monuments all over again.