In 1978 I heard the record that made me hungry: An American Prayer, the posthumous release of some of Jim Morrison’s poems with sound collage and musical backing by the surviving members of the Doors. Some people hate it. Some love it. To me it doesn’t matter if it was good or bad: the important fact is that it changed my expectations of what can and should be done with poetry.
Since then it’s been pretty bleak. You ever see those nature films with the animals wandering the Serengeti with nothing to eat or drink, yet they must keep moving or they’ll die: that’s how I feel about recordings of poetry and music. There have been sporadic recordings throughout the years by artists who don’t feel the need do whole albums or multiple albums of poetry (for instance, Hawkwind and Laurie Anderson might come to mind).
And of course there’s Brian Eno and Rick Holland’s collaboration Drums Between the Bells.
While checking out what was going on in the world of Istvan Peter B’Racz, probably looking for something of his to listen to, I noticed he was following someone called Farewell Poetry. Of course I had to find who or what they are.
Of course I had to buy the CD/DVD once I heard “As True as Troilus”.
Listen while you read on:
September, 2011 Gizeh Records released Hoping for the Invisible to Ignite by Farewell Poetry. This is the record that has given me hope. (I think Drums Between the Bells will make more waves and influence more people, both artists and consumers, leading to more recordings of music and poetry combined—which gives me hope that there’s a future for the genre.) This is the record I’ve been waiting for almost 35 years, and because of this I have hope that beautiful records of a sort I long to hear will still be made.
I’m won over by Jayne Amara Ross’ poetry and voice (Ross is also a filmmaker and the second disc is video). I’m won over by painfully beautiful music, a mixture of sweetness and noise building to multiple crescendos and final collapse.…I feel totally inadequate to describe anything about these recordings: just listen to them. That’s all I want you to do: listen to these recordings. I can’t get my fill.