Browsing All posts tagged under »spoken word«

Ashley Reaks and Joe Hakim – Cultural Thrift (dub-rock poetry)

July 19, 2016

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Ashley Reaks has a good way with lyrics himself, but there’s a strong synergy to his collaborations with spoken word artist Joe Hakim, such as ‘I Want To Get A Celebrity Pregnant’ from Before Koresh. Hakim is a social observer, a curator of experience who speaks sometimes from a lived subjectivity, and sometimes from a presumably imagined one, often in successive lines, articulating marginalities and bearing witness to acts of unconscious resistance. As such his concerns are distinct from those to be found on the Ashley Reaks albums from which he is absent, such as the satirical character portraits and serial-killer aesthetics…

Various Artists – Singles and EPs

December 15, 2015

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Richard Wileman seems to be going through a particularly fertile patch of late, putting out releases somewhat faster than I can write about them (and the day he puts out something I don’t write about will be a long time coming). After the vigorous collaborative chops-fest (I simplify unfairly) of Strange Relations comes this short programmatic piece depicting the eventual collision of the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies. Wileman predicts a cooler, calmer and altogether more pastoral event than sprang immediately to my thoughts, although the vast and oblique affective compass of his alternately gelid and cosy …

Adrian May – The Comedy of Masculinity (poetry/ singer-songwriter)

August 27, 2015

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This is a review of a CD and a book, although there’s no particular reason to stop there. Adrian May is a performer, and although it says ‘songs and poems’ on the cover of his book, it’s pretty hard to draw a hard and fast distinction between them; poetry, music and performance in both modes seem all to be more or less equally important aspects of his creative practice. I’ve seen him perform, and I’ve made public some words on the subject, but the oddly arbitrary context to which I restrict myself here confines my attentions to the particular objects I have before me. Ordinarily this would be a CD, with a more or less …

Various Artists – Singles and EPs

February 4, 2013

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There are ‘pieces’ that are undeniably rap, and definitely not poetry, such as The Sugarhill Gang’s ‘Rapper’s Delight’, and there are others that are undeniably poetry, and definitely not rap, such as John Donne’s Elegy XIX: To His Mistress Going To Bed. This emphatic distinction is a matter of customary usage however, not of hard and fast definitions, and to look for the precise boundary between the two is to fall into an essentialist fallacy. Nevertheless, many assume the existence of such a defensible frontier, which can make for a strong reaction to its penetration, either of outrage or amazement. The Ruby Kid straddles that imaginary barrier without difficulty; the songs/poems/raps on Strange, Lively & Commonplace are both one …

Review Of The Year 2012, Part 2: 12 EPs

December 17, 2012

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In previous years I’ve assembled my annual review solely from album length releases; it’s interesting to note that the vast majority of music I come across, whether I actively discover it or somebody sends it to me for review, is in something resembling album format (notwithstanding that most of it reaches me as a sequence of ones and zeros). However, I do receive EPs and singles, and some of the very best music I’ve heard this year has come my way in shorter releases. It’s clearly time I reflected this in my end of year review, and as it would seem strange to compare two track singles with seventy minute albums, I’ve decided to assemble my favourites in two parts …

Adrian May at The Open Road Bookshop, Stoke-by-Nayland (poetry/ acoustic song)

April 27, 2012

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As I seem to be writing about live events again, and I just happen to have been to one in my very own village, at my very good friend Dave Charleston’s bookshop, it would seem churlishly remiss of me to ignore it — not to mention hypocritical, given my vocal public stance on localism… Since The Open Road opened it’s been host to some splendid events, and I really should have been doing my bit to big up my homey Dave before; still, no time like the present. Adrian May’s been doing what he does for a goodly while, but this was the first I’d heard of it; such a lack of international notoriety shouldn’t be taken to correlate in any way with a performer’s quality however…

The Ruby Kid & Dan Angell – Maps (rap/ poetry)

January 4, 2012

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Poetry isn’t the same thing as lyrics; lyrics are not poetry; and rap is neither poetry nor song lyrics. All of these things have their own uses, their own conventions and their own needs. You can take a beautiful example of one, you can use it as the other, and it’s most likely to end up sounding stupid, and failing to convey the meanings it channelled in its native context. Obviously there are exceptions: poems have been successfully set to music (leaving aside the classical tradition, where singers’ texts have fewer idiomatic requirements), and, less frequently, some lyrics have stood up well on the page; rap lyrics are less likely to survive the loss of rhythm, but more likely to work in the absence of accompaniment. Then of course, there are the writers whose works …