Those of you who read my recent ZuKrewe review, or who have been chatting to me in person, will know how much I've been loving that album. One of the most appealing aspects of it was the spoken word raps, which, stripped as they were of any musical accompaniment, were intimately personal and emotionally raw.
For this reason, I've always enjoyed listening to spoken word poetry, whether it's political stuff like Linton Kwesi Johnson or The Last Poets, or more slyly humourous material, such as Ivor Cutler or David Shrigley.
The artist I'm featuring tonight is a little closer in tone to the latter two artists mentioned, although without their more obviously surreal qualities. What is more, he is a fellow Scot so it was particularly pleasing for me to come across him recently on soundcloud. The artist in question is Kevin P. Gilday who desribes his work as:
"Poetry, rants, spoken words, songs, field recordings and general self aggrandizement from one half of How Garbo Died."
How Garbo Died is an experimental electronic duo from Glasgow who can be found 'here' on bandcamp. Unsurprisingly, given a poet in their number, their lyrics are fairly abstruse and literate. It is, however, Kevin's solo spoken-word work that I find most interesting. I'm embedding a couple of tracks below to give you an idea of the substance of his output.
First up is 'The Polite Meeting of Two Well-Mannered Men', which is marked by a clever ironic humour. Kevin modestly describes this as:
"Basically a silly wee story inspired by me having one of those awkward moments when you bump into someone, you both try to let the other proceed…and you both just stand there. Surely one of the most strange and likeable quirks of humankind is politeness. This story takes place in a strange alternative universe where manners have been forgotten by the general population. Let it act as a warning! Let’s never lose these idiosyncratic little gestures, they define who we are."
The next is the shorter, slightly sardonic 'Mixed Up'. Kevin, in similar diffident fashion to the above description, introduces this as follows:
"This is a blatant rip-off of a Tim Key poem. All the hall marks are there - use of first names, an ironic distance, an absurd punchline. So why am I drawing your attention to this fact?"
Kevin has several more, similarly accomplished, spoken word recordings available on his soundcloud page, and gratifyingly these are all free to download. Please give his page a wee visit and support a local (to me anyway) talent.