Dhani Harrison embarks on an introspective journey on the dreamy “I.C.U,” the sprawling closer to his intimate sophomore record ‘INNERSTANDING.’
Stream: “I.C.U” – Dhani Harrison
Coinciding with the vinyl release of his sophomore record, INNERSTANDING, Dhani Harrison has released a music video for the ethereal track “I.C.U.” Clad in a cloak, walking stick in hand, he traverses the cliff sides and woodlands of Black-a-Tor Copse in Dartmoor. Through a combination of quicktime trail shots, lush drone landscapes and closeups on the chorus, Joel Kazuo Knoernschild’s visuals echo the album’s promo photography by Josh Giroux.
Harrison has shared fragments of this visual journey on Instagram in the leadup to the physical release of INNERSTANDING, and the Celtic imagery mirrors his personal quest inward in constructing the album.
As Harrison mentioned in an earlier interview with Atwood Magazine, the song began its life in 2019 as a Fender Rhodes keyboard demo before it became one of the centerpieces of the record. The push-pull between electronica and lilting acoustic passages that has defined Harrison’s records coalesces in this track.
Beginning with a steady drum machine pulse and a chant of “Sweet home, sweet home,” Harrison’s voice is at once achingly sweet and cryptic as he sings:
Wonderful light, we set the scene
All of us cried, knowing that you’d broken free
The depth of the night, the blue and the green
Reading by your holy light, I did not intervene
Pulling on the same threads of his solo debut, IN///PARALLEL, Harrison’s lyrics speak to a journey that is deeply personal but obfuscated by aphorisms that become more universal. There are shades of Harrison’s track “Summertime Police,” on which he sings, “All through the summer heat, the visions came to me, lying the lonely daydreams as I roll down the street.”
There is a sense of melancholic loss and retroactive acceptance, afforded by the hindsight that Harrison defines as “Innerstanding.” Harrison explained to Atwood:
“Even the Innerstanding title, it’s like, ‘if you force your opinions on other people, you’re Overstanding. And if you’re being forced upon you’re Understanding,’ which is why police require you to ‘understand them’ – [mock policeman voice] “Do you understand me”? Innerstanding is to comprehend only from a place of love and detachment. So you’re neither forcing your opinion on anyone, nor are you being forced to understand anything… If you don’t want to end up on the [wrong] side of history, then you can only come at things from an Innerstanding and from a place of love as opposed to fear. You know, if you don’t cast it, love is the absence of judgment. And judgment is the absence of love.”
This mission statement is echoed succinctly in the chorus: “I see you, can you see me? Love is true, the river flows at its own speed.”
Harrison has a self-confessed OCD about the visual accompaniment and rollout to his records. Intensely deliberating fonts, visuals, and video releases, he ultimately leaves it in the hands of the listener to discern the patchwork connecting the sonic and the visual.
His lyrics are like runes, markers with magic significance that take time to unspool. In fact, the rune Ægishjálmur, which translates as magic helmet or “Helm of Awe,” flanks the title on the front of the record. It is easy to get lost in parsing out exactly what it all means.
But for Dhani Harrison, as for the listener, the journey is individual and comes in its own time.
INNERSTANDING is available now on vinyl and CD from H.O.T. records/BMG.
Stream: “I.C.U” – Dhani Harrison
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© Aidan Moyer
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