‘Breathing Out’ appears on the album Six Lethargies. Released on UK label Mercury KX in 2019. Six Lethargies is a six-part, long form work for string orchestra, written by musician, composer, writer and visual artist Keaton Henson. The album explores themes of trauma, empathy, mental illness, and the relationship between music and emotion.
Keaton said of the work and video: “Where some of the other movements of Six Lethargies are designed to elicit physiological responses of anxiety and stress, ‘Breathing Out’ is designed specifically to bring ones breathing and heart rate back down, and show a light at the end of the tunnel.
During the extraordinary live performances, this piece brought the audiences stress levels back down, allowing for reflection and hopeful resignation, which was reflected in their bio data creating gentle undulations in the venues lighting.
The film that accompanies Breathing out serves as a visual metaphor for the reaching and eventual finding of hope where the previously released film for “Initium” has the audience at sea, in the daylight being plunged constantly into darkness, this film finds them on land, peering out of the dark, in brief artificial glimpses of light and life. Until, alongside the music, we are brought gently into the day, with a sunrise unfolding in real time.
It is a similarly meditative piece, allowing the music to carry you through your own interpretations to a genuine emotional conclusion”
Breathing Out is the final movement of Six Lethargies, it is a final exhalation, a letting go of the previously explored traumas, while reflecting on their nature.”
The album Six Lethargies was created intensively over three years, during intense episodes of the very themes it explores. He used his personal experience to plot out six distinct elements of trauma, anxiety and emotional difficulties. Unable himself to read or write music, Henson first created maps of his personal experience, using complex linear drawings and paintings which he then translated into themes and melodies. A common theme throughout his work is always the element of emotion and vulnerable honesty; he shares the darkest and most complex parts of his personal experiences via his art, leading to work of breathtaking emotional resonance. By contrast, Henson himself is generally reclusive, revealing little else of himself, wherever possible avoiding interviews or public appearances.