The Butterfly Effect

by Steve Scott (1992, Blonde Vinyl)

Back in my high school youth group, I had a bit of stigma.  I was the “wierd” one, the guy who listened to music like The Cure, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Mortal, and the Prayer Chain—you know, the stuff that every depressed “alternative” teenager listened to.  One day, one of the girls walked up to me and handed me this tape.  I went home and was immediately intrigued, until I realized that this was a spoken word album, which made me think that this was too “wierd”, even for me.

But something about the album fascinated me and I soon found myself listening to this on many a bus ride to and from school.  I now count this album as a huge influence on the way I see music and poetry.

I don’t know a whole lot about Scott, but I take it he’s a well-travelled man.  Many of his poems deal with experiences in exotic locales, and even though his poetry is often beautiful and full of bizarre, spiritual imagery, there’s still a human element to it.  And the music, consisting primarily of ambient loops with ethnic and tribal touches, adds to this feeling.

Especially moving is “No Memory Of You”, a poem about several encounters with Jakartan prostitutes.  Scott recorded the conversations he had with these women, and uses them as loops which he reads over.  It may sound confusing, but when the words he reads and the words spoken in the loop grow in sync, the effect is haunting.  The same holds true for “The Beautiful Light”, which is set against a backdrop of Orthodox chants as Scott tells of his journeys and encounters in Russia.  Incredibly stimulating stuff, both mentally and spiritually.

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