Despite the dismal history of attempts by rock artists and poets from the 1950s to the present to make a legitimately entertaining spoken word album, local Philadelphia rock veterans Marc Hildenberger and Dave Young remained optimistic and recorded Ernest Hilbert reading sixteen poems they selected from his first book, Sixty Sonnets, and then, being utterly mad (and perhaps masochistic), actually wrote music around the recorded poems as a “score,” as one would for a film . . . or maybe a cop show on TV. It soon became an untitled Pub Can Records project, with no release date and an ambiguous budget. It remained that way for several years.
The album that would eventually be titled Elegies & Laments grew over time to include a string orchestra (scored by young composer Christopher LaRosa), a battery of vintage instruments and electronics, mad-scientist rewirings, experimental technologies, session musicians, guest readers (PAUL SIEGELL, QUINCY R. LEHR, and KRISTINE YOUNG), and, perhaps inevitably, a harp.The grape and grain-fueled late night sessions at Widget Studios, on the city’s outskirts, yielded a soundtrack of surprising variety and depth, mingling past and present, making use of indie rock, jazz, heavy metal, classical, and R&B styles.
The result is Elegies & Laments, a spoken-word album unlike any other.
You must be curious about what this sounds like.
Early praise for the album:
“Amazing and innovative . . . The music is variegated and fascinating, by turns vicious and lovely . . . [it does] what art should do: change things. Elegies and Laments will change you, too.” – Literary Magnet
The album will be released on March 15th from Pub Can Records
- You may preorder the limited-edition 1/100 180-gram white vinyl record with additional illustrated audiophile booklet and digital download card (over 60 of the 100 have already sold, so order now if you want to reserve one with your own personal number [some numbers have already been claimed]).
- Those who are purely digital but prefer the superior sound quality of compact discs may preorder them using the same link above.
- After the limited edition white vinyl series has sold out, a second series, unnumbered, on black vinyl, will be issued by the record label.
- After March 15th, the album will also be available for digital download from iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon, and other platforms. It will also stream on Spotify and other services.
Elegies & Laments by Ernest Hilbert
What would it sound like if a book of poetry had its own musical score, like a film, written specifically to match the poems line for line and word for word?
Following the release of his book Sixty Sonnets, poet Ernest Hilbert teamed up with veteran Philadelphia songwriter-musicians Marc Hildenberger and Dave Young to find out.
After signing a contract with local label Pub Can Records, the three embarked on a spoken-word project called Elegies & Laments that would eventually grow to include a string orchestra (scored by young composer Christopher LaRosa), a battery of vintage instruments and electronics, mad-scientist rewirings, experimental technologies, session musicians, guest readers, and, perhaps inevitably, a harp.
The grape and grain-fueled late night sessions at Widget Studios, on the city’s outskirts, yielded a soundtrack of surprising variety and depth, mingling past and present, making use of indie rock, jazz, heavy metal, classical, and R&B styles. The result is an entirely new kind of spoken word album. Feel the legendary misbehavior, the satires and observations, the failed escapes, the famous elegies and laments of Hilbert’s Sixty Sonnets in a way you have never heard poetry before.
Elegies & Laments is essential for anyone interested in the ways poetry and music come together to create a new art form, for aficionados of experimental music to lovers of spoken word.
The album is available for digital download from iTunes, Amazon, and all major services and on compact disc. A deluxe edition of 100 vinyl albums (with digital download codes and bonus signed-limited companion booklet) is a must for audiophiles and true fans (you know who you are).