Adam Łukawski: Hypnagogia

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Donemus has released the recording of Adam Łukawski – Hypnagogia performed by the EXAUDI Vocal Ensemble, conducted by James Weeks…   

Adam Łukawski dedicated his work “Hypnagogia” performed by EXAUDI Vocal Ensemble to his friend and composer Alex Tay, who he met in London during studies at Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Since about a year Adam is developing a theory connected to Shepard tones (very specific kind of aural illusion) and Alex’s doctoral thesis is in general about illusion in music, so they could immediately find common language not only as friends but also as composers. Julia Szczygielska made a fantastic cover art for it referring to Escher-like tessellations.

Hypnagogia is a state of hallucination/illusion a human body experiences every night just before falling asleep; different visions, colours and shapes gradually leading us to the reality of dreams. This work, using the text asking questions about free will and chance, operates with different techniques like hocket and Shepard tones to achieve different aural illusions.

The poem with the same title is written in the sestina form: composed of six stanzas of six lines, followed by a stanza of three lines – “envoi”. There is no rhyme within the stanzas; instead, the sestina is structured throughout a recurrent pattern of the words that end each line, a technique known as “lexical repetition”. These words evolve together with the music of “Hypnagogia”, gradually changing their meaning and context, leading us to the dreamy moral of the work.

Lyrics:

Everyone and no one, all at the same time;
immortal – expanding through different paths.
Hypnotised by chaos – images from dreams
about an old flock of birds in an endless
play: The wisest shepherds make their final choice
In the most monstrous moonshine of illusion

A child looks with passion at the illusion,
At the magic shop losing his sense of time.
When he’s called away, a future disappears
butterflies vanish from the flourishing paths.
Seasons may change, but his longing stays endless,
Premonitions always remain at his dreams.

A man exhausts time accomplishing his dreams
As he gets further, avoiding illusion
becomes trickier. – “Era of an endless rain…”
– stop: he pressed a button in a hollow time.
In the labyrinth of the numerous paths
this task is as easy as Erwin’s cat’s choice

Intelligence. It takes little for a choice
to matter – it comes first in a lucid dream.
I see the Burning Giraffe converting paths
with Chinese herbs. Artificial illusion
becoming a symbol of idyllic times –
collective minds programming their perfect end.

I hope for a dark blue rose in an endless
repeat: Consciousness of an atomic choice.
Steampunk retrospection, sexual music,
as in some European drama movie
on hackers starting a government of souls,
obeying an independent script of fate.

The final speech in superposed code of fate:
Poetry nearing silence denies an end
at the most expected illumination.
Digital anarchy gives another chance
teaching us the newest most exciting cult:
Making new words to extend reality.

When on the right paths and within quantum time,
Fortune is endless. Dive in the illusion
of a free choice, shed for the goldfinch of dreams.