Swiftisms

The Envelope. Please (CD)

A review of The Envelope. Please (CD) by Swifty Lazarus

Published on October 1, 2002

The Envelope. Please (CD)
Swifty Lazarus

Wired on Words

The Envelope, Please, by Swifty Lazarus – a collaboration between the poet and the composer/musician Tom Walsh – features some poems from Café Alibi and his earlier collection Budavox. With the addition of accompaniment to his lyrics (assuming they were poems first), Swift is acknowledging that a poem refuses to be finite, or rather that some poems extend beyond print.

Along with his voice performance, this CD includes a walk-on by Catherine Kidd, and samples from the likes of Holly Cole, Frank Sinatra, and Pierre Boulez. Think ambient-electro with a paranoid edge, like Luciana Berio’s Sinfonia (especially in “In the Future”) or John Cage’s Indeterminacy. Particular tracks to consider are “Sterile Fields (for William Douglas),” “The Usher/Scott in Space” and the decidedly catchy “Genesis/mimesis.” The choreography of text, beats, loops, and samples allows the ear to consider the poems with the intensity and concentration which was second nature in antiquity. Perhaps the phenomenon of Swift’s spoken word is as close to neo-Homeric as we get, although likely it is something entirely different. mRb

Adrienne Ho's poetry chapbook Murmurs was published by Junction Books in 2001.

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