Wednesday, January 10, 2018

CD Review: Steve Scott "Cross My Heat" (Harding Street Assembly Lab)

Steve Scott was the first artist I ever heard from the Harding Street Assembly Lab.   Immediately when I pressed play on this CD, I knew that if this was how all of the artists on HSAL sounded it would be a label well worth exploring.    As it has become obvious now, HSAL is a rather diverse label, but still, a record label comprised of only artists who sound like Steve Scott would be an amazing thing.

There are two levels to the music of Steve Scott and, really, on paper (or the computer screen, if you will) none of them can be described as accurately as they really are.  On one hand, this can be considered spoken word poetry.   Words fall from the lips of Steve Scott as one would imagine an open mic night filled with young poets only he has this confidence, this indifference to the way he speaks that you feel like every word is the most important you will ever hear while his calm can brush it off as an every day thing.

While this is all going on, there are various forms of music being played to accompany these words.    It can be spatial, trippy, filled with wind chimes or record player-like static.   But most of all, these songs have a feeling of the end of the world.   I imagine Steve Scott reciting these words not in a smoke-filled dive bar with a small excuse for a stage, but rather around the ash and rubble of what was once the world, perhaps some of it still ablaze behind him.    I believe nothing left is real except for the words which pour from his mouth.

But what of the words?   Well, as soon as I hear the line: "You have been a pirate, a gypsy dancer, a spotted dalmation and Peter Pan but when you wore the tutu on your head I think it was because you were some kind of flower" I was hooked.   If these words were all printed and put together it would make for an amazing book of poetry, but here, you have one better: you don't have to read, but rather feel the words from the artist himself.   It brings this whole thing perhaps too much power.

I've not heard a lot of music like this before.  I've heard poets read their poems, people reading other peoples poems, but never like this.   I think one of the reasons why when I first pressed play on this I'd hoped this would be the sound of every artist on HSAL is because I really want to hear more artists who sound like this.  I'm not saying to copy what Steve Scott is doing exactly, but find your own voice, put your own spin on it.

But then I guess that's where my idea of this CD becomes wrong.   You hear some words, they go over some music and you think "Why aren't there more artists who sound like this?"  The reason simply is because not a lot of artists could pull this off.   Steve Scott, for as unique and brilliant of a CD as this is, makes this look easy. 

No comments:

Post a Comment