Given both the plethora of audio available to the browser & the now easy process of sculpting any potential sound out of any other potential sound, Sonic Poetry takes pride in using only the finest and most appropriate of selected samples for the backgrounds we provide to poets. Working with playwright and novelist Jacob Wren’s latest novel, Rich & Poor. provided us with rich binaries to chop and re-arrange.

The idea behind BookThug’s new record imprint, Chaos & Star, is that a 45rpm record can be a very fun and highly entertaining way to take in some poetry. Not unlike Giorno’s dial a poet, where the hits of verse needed to be as long as a short phone message, a 45 allows only about 3 minutes for the work to be set up, delivered, and exited gracefully.

there was a brief meeting with jacob to decide how the sides would be split up. following along the conceits of the novel in which a middle class ex classical pianist decides that murdering billionaires one at a time is the best way to effect class struggle,  we decided that using piece of Franz Josef Haydn would be appropriate for Side A. FJH was in the employ mostly of the mega 1% ’s in his own lifetime, something our character knows only too well

This is from Wikipedia:

“Haydn’s primary character flaw was greed as it related to his business dealings. Webster writes: ‘As regards money, Haydn was so self-interested as to shock [both] contemporaries and many later authorities …. He always attempted to maximize his income, whether by negotiating the right to sell his music outside the Esterházy court, driving hard bargains with publishers or selling his works three and four times over; he regularly engaged in ‘sharp practice’ and occasionally in outright fraud. When crossed in business relations, he reacted angrily.’”

However, which Haydn to choose? I selected piano trio #43, but importantly, performed by the great Soviet trio of Ostrakh/Knushevitsky/Oborin. They were a favourite combo of Stalin’s. So side one would be a bricolage of several opposing time ideologies and genres, with Jacob reading a paragraph from Rich and Poor.

For Side B, we decided to use the Jamaican template of putting a “version” of side A onto side B, using some of the same sounds and vocal performances, yet creating a spacey hypnotic ‘dub’ with the materials. It turned out that both Jacob and I are fans of the Chicago dance genre known as Footwork. Footwork is essentially a battle genre where a hyper speed minimal drum sequence is used to create a relentless assault of beats over which a single line is spoken, chopped, and repeated. It was easy to condense Wren’s novel to its essence “ The poor must kill the rich, one at a time, at every opportunity”
I used the track “All I Do Is Smoke Trees” by DJ Manny as inspiration and groove template.

– andrew whiteman

Side A

Side B

At Sonic Poetry, the musical DNA is as vital as the words themselves.


Available from Book Thug