McMillan’s role presenting The Verb on BBC Radio 3 means he’s often approached to lend his ear or support but this latest one sees him also adding his voice. The poet’s latest collaboration finds his dulcet tones accompanying a track which has been specially made to showcase the prose he composed for Hertfordshire-based music producer, Helen Meissner.
Meissner approached McMillan earlier this year. She had started making music as Helefonix last summer, unexpectedly in her mid fifties, having spent the previous decade promoting other musicians on her label Folkstock Records.
“While I was enjoying the new found novelty of promoting my own musical creations, I haven’t been brave enough to use my own voice on recordings yet,” she says. “A few months ago I collaborated with the now infamous Jackie Weaver and we found ourselves on national TV and radio talking about the important message behind our single Jackie Weaver’s Kicked Him Out.
“Encouraged by the feedback, I am delighted to have composed a track to accompany Ian McMillan’s prose and calming, almost meditative voice. How To Fly features a plethora of pastoral sounds I recorded; blackbirds, robins, chaffinches and the local church bells of my Hertfordshire village, Walkern. Lambs, geese and my neighbours hen also help to conjure a bucolic musical backdrop.”
McMillan explains that he enjoys “the meeting of two different art forms, in the same way I like collaborating with visual artists”.
“It’s fascinating to experience two ways of thinking working with each other. I like the idea of soundscapes and words working with soundscapes and beats.
“It’s fascinating to send the words off, letting them float away and see where they land. I hoped they might work as springboards for early morning musical adventures. There’s an appealing early morning feel of the track and the layering of the voice feels almost like awaking dream.”
How To Fly by Helefonix ft. Ian McMillan is out on Friday May 28 on all usual platforms. For more info visit www.helefonix.co.uk