Slate Honey reviews Recitement, Music/Poetry

Recitement Review- by Slate Honey

A week ago, I immersed myself in Stephen Emmer’s poetry compilation album Recitement.  Pairing recited poems by a wide variety of writers (from Lou Reed to Jorge Luis Borges) with musical composition, Emmer curates a work that is more akin to a series of short films than an album with a solid identity.  Emmer does a comprehensive job of creating genre-specific music that works hard to set a tone for each spoken piece.  Recitement’s sounds bounce back and forth between dark, spacy down-tempo, bouncy classic rock, cinematic European pop and whispery retro French electro.  The musical style is laid a little too thick and is at times sentimental.  And melody sometimes becomes competitive with poetry.  The weight of the poetry often gets lost in the layered soundtracks.  Emmer does best when he presents pieces that really lend themselves to music.

Two tracks are particularly good. “Invergence of the Twain” is reminiscent of spoken word set to cool-sounding acoustic guitar and light percussion.  The beautiful rhyming and careful pacing of the poetry make for a sexy, relaxed sound that is easy to get into.  “Absolutely Grey” has the kind of melancholy space-age sound of Tricky and matches well to a sparse monologue on absolutes.  Especially good for those days when one is feeling super emo and particularly philosophical.

I’d recommend Recitement if you are tired of albums packaged with a singular look and feel.  It’s worth a listen if you want something really different.  Expect to be taken along several twists and turns and leave yourself open to the multi-media feel.  Recitement is not background music.

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