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5.0 1
by Stephen Emmer
During the late 20th century, spoken word recordings -- especially those with musical accompaniment -- had become somewhat commonplace. Some, like the Bill Laswell-Paul Bowles collaboration, Baptism of Solitude, worked wonderfully, by placing the author's often


During the late 20th century, spoken word recordings -- especially those with musical accompaniment -- had become somewhat commonplace. Some, like the Bill Laswell-Paul Bowles collaboration, Baptism of Solitude, worked wonderfully, by placing the author's often startlingly strange stories in the context of Laswell's dubby ambient exotica. Of course, there were "other" recordings of this type too, far too numerous to mention and they shall remain unnamed so as not to remind the reader of their tedium and pretensions. Nearly a decade into the 21st century, composer Stephen Emmer offers his own unusual project combining spoken word texts with music. Emmer is best known as a television composer for Dutch TV, whose scores and jingles have graced countless programs, music library sounds, public service announcements, and jingles. Recitement, issued by Austria's Supertrack imprint, is something else altogether. Produced, composed and conceived by Emmer, and mixed by Tony Visconti, this recording sets to Emmer's music texts by everyone from Yoko Ono, the late Allen Ginsberg, travel writer Paul Theroux, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Thomas Hardy, Kurt Schwitters, Jorge Luis Borges, Ken Nordine, Charles Baudelaire, Samuel Beckett, and more. They are recited sometimes by their authors, via new or previously issued taped recordings, or by the voices of actors such as Richard Burton, Sylvia Kristel, Michael Parkinson, Hugo Claus, and rocker Lou Reed to name a few. The set begins with Ono vocalizing her own "Listen, the Snow Is Falling, Pt. 1" to her own composition (an anomaly) which was arranged by Emmer and performed by multi-instrumentalist Kazu Makino. Ono is recontextualized inside her own original context, all the while while retaining her voice; thus her text is expanded. This is followed by Theroux's famous "Passengers," as read by Reed, with original music by Emmer and performed on keyboards and a nearly static drum kit and percussion by Berend Dubbe and Sonja Van Hamel. Burton's voice is caught on tape reading Manley Hopkins' "The Leaden Echo," with strings, loops, sampled choirs, acoustics, and keyboards by Maja Roodvedlt, complete with sonic effects on Burton's voice (to which he no doubt would have objected). And so it goes, even into tongues other than English in the examples of texts by Borges and Schwitters (reciting their own works), or Kristel reading Baudelaire. The disaster potential for an album like this is high, but thanks to Emmer's utterly intuitive and spacious musical vision, it all flows together nearly organically. The listener is dislocated but not in an irritating manner. Instead, it feels as if this is a rich travelogue of poetry, prose, and sound is capable of transporting one into the realm of the narrator's description. Recitement is a welcome and luxuriant surprise.

Product Details

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Stephen Emmer   Primary Artist,Organ,Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals
Allen Ginsberg   Vocals,Spoken Word
Lou Reed   Vocals,Spoken Word
Mike Garson   Piano
Ken Nordine   Vocals,Spoken Word
Richard Burton   Spoken Word
Benjamin Herman   Saxophone
Kurt Schwitters   Spoken Word
Tony Visconti   Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals
Pete Whitfield   Strings
Ruud Breuls   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Berend Dubbe   Vocals
Kazu Makino   Vocals
Michael Parkinson   Vocals,Spoken Word
Jorge Luis Borges   Vocals,Spoken Word
Hein Offermans   Bass
Remco Campert   Vocals,Spoken Word
Manuel Hugas   Bass
Joeri Saal   Percussion
Michael Lonsdale   Vocals,Spoken Word
Sonja VanHamel   Vocals
Sylvia Kristel   Vocals
Simon Turner   Strings
Hugo Claus   Spoken Word
Sacha DeBoer   Vocals,Spoken Word
Silvina Ocampo   Vocals,Spoken Word
Maja Roodveldt   Vocals
Sylvia Kristel   Spoken Word
Laurens Kagenaar   Percussion,Keyboards
Joost Kroon   Percussion,Drums
Jac Biko   Organ,Piano,Keyboards
Alex Stemp   Strings
Andrea Piovan   Spoken Word
Carlos Drummond de Andrade   Spoken Word

Technical Credits

Yoko Ono   Composer
Samuel Beckett   Composer
Joeri Saal   Engineer
Marcel van den Broek   Artwork
Stephen Emmer   Composer,Producer,Concept,Audio Production,Pre-Engineering
Drummond DeAndrade   Composer

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Recitement 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
" This piece from Dutch avant-garde composer Stephen Emmer's grand album Recitement is like The Darjeeling Limited with Lou Reed's signature croon as a narration"

- Pitchfork.tv USA

Ever wondered how Bowie's Low would have sounded if the Art of Noise had produced it and recruited Richard Burton to do the vocals?

- UNCUT Magazine UK

"What's interesting about Recitement are its small touches.The tension produced when the texts meet the music provides the deepest enjoyment"

- Magnet magazine USA

Surprisingly addictive

- Word Magazine UK