Exposé Online banner

Oval Planet — Trench Poems
(Bandcamp no#, 2019, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-01-14

Trench Poems Cover art

Oval Planet is an electronic project led by guitarist and synthesist Pete Prown, with support from Jerry King on bass, guitar and synthesizer, and Dave Newhouse on flute, saxes and clarinet. While the music featured on Trench Poems features all of this instrumentation, it is essentially driven by synthesizers and covers a variety of electronic styles, the ten tracks are mostly introspective in nature, some basically ambient, a few othwers are sequence driven, nothing hard-edged and chattery, a smooth and gentle fabric over which King and Newhouse add their touches to the textures. What makes this different from most of the bazillion electronic releases out there, and you may have gleaned this from the title, is that nine of the ten tracks presented here serve as backing music for poetry readings, specifically those written by soldiers in the trenches of France and Belgium during World War I, with five different guests (mostly female voices) delivering the spoken words for each. The album is currently available as a download only, but the press release lists the poems associated with each of the tracks, as well as who the reader is, though what isn’t clear is if the soldiers who wrote the poetry survived the war or not. The music behind the words is gentle and beautiful, and a perfect backdrop for the poems, although when the two elements are combined they seem to pull a listener in opposite directions, or at least that is the effect it has on me – so I find myself either listening to the music or else concentrating on the poetry, which is generally dark and bleak. There is one short purely instrumental cut “Moog for a Day,” but at just shy of three minutes it’s over almost before one realizes it happened. Trench Poems is a noble effort, and I suggest anyone that’s interested go over to the CD Baby or Bandcamp pages and get an earful of a couple tracks. Generally I dislike the combination of music and poetry (remembering Wakeman’s Journey... abomination), but this one is actually pretty nice if you approach it correctly.


Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Jerry King / Cloud over Jupiter, Oval Planet

More info
http://ovalplanet.bandcamp.com/releases
http://store.cdbaby.com/cd/ovalplanet

Latest news

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

October Equus - October Equus – October Equus is a new progressive quartet from Spain comprised of Victor Rodriguez on keyboards, Amanda Pazos on bass guitar, Txema Fernandes on drums, and Ángel Ontalva on guitars. On their...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues