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A poetess and DIY musician collide, creating a precarious conceptual, thoughtful and often improvised album of librettos and melody…
First collaborating back in the late nineties, the dynamic duo teamed-
Music, Bugs and Gender
Review by Andy Morton, May 2015
Mere months after his return to album action, musician and producer, Paul Mex is back again with a new release, Guilty Fist, that he describes as ‘the first record … since 1989 that (he’s) reasonably happy with‘. Personally, I was more than happy with Dr Jekyll & Mrs Hyde; and whilst much of what appealed to me about that record is present and correct here, this is a release with more layers and richer texture, both musically and lyrically.
Performance poet, Bernadette Cremin, who also contributed vocals to …Jekyll… had taken the driving seat this time around, enlisting Mex to complement a collection of mostly spoken word pieces with individual soundtracks. It’s a collaboration along the lines of Steve Hogarth and Richard Barbieri’s Not The Weapon But The Hand, a lyrical/musical split that hinges on a personal and musical sympathy.
For argument’s sake one might discern three intertwining threads amongst the nine tracks on offer: the album begins and ends with purely-
...Mosaic Revisited sounds as though it was conceived during the …Jekyll… sessions: a swaggering, guitar and drums-
Growing Pains and Fruit for Rumours foreground (Cremin‘s) words more overtly. The music accentuates meter and bolsters the narrative without getting in the way. Exactly.
(Closer) Sad on the other hand (another Mex instrumental) is both affecting and effective, with subtle musical and emotional sophistication: it picks up on the sombre mood of preceding track Poetry (my favourite song on the album, synth-
Having recently reviewed, and to a point, enjoyed, Steven Wilson‘s latest; I couldn’t help but be minded at times of that album, trailer single Perfect Life in particular. Superficially, the similarity is pronounced – a woman narrating aspects of her life over moody, electro-
Poignant and elegiac, and powerful stuff.
Reviewed in Issue 133, March 2016
This nine track CD contains music that alternates between soundtracky/Portishead type stuff, post-
It's very strange that I first played this right after Drive-
Reviewed in Issue 130,
There are literally tens of thousands of albums available these days of relaxing chill-
While most of the vocals are spoken as poetry, there are times where she bursts tunefully into song and these add welcome variation to the overall mood of wistfully mindful evil thoughts; and occasionally Mex even adds blasts of rock guitar.
The fourth track Beat introduces dance rhythms into the mix, and we are told that each of us is a "victim of circumstance... made into words... making it all a bit messy."
Warm Spoon features what could be flutes or even whales, but it would be frightening if we knew exactly what the whales are thinking, because this is certainly not a self-
Review by Lawrence Burton, March 2017
Just to get the customary objections out in the open, whilst it isn't strictly true that I hate poetry, I probably hate enough of it to render the assertion more or less accurate; although, to break it down a little further, the specific sort of thing which brings me out in hives is poetry which knows that it is poetry and which introduces itself as such with either a wry Stilgoe-
On the other hand, I very much like Charles Bukowski, Billy Childish, Bill Lewis and others whose work I tend to think of just as writing, because that's what it is. So my criteria seems to rest upon how much the work is involved in the mythology of its own self-
On the face of it, Guilty Fist is someone reading poetry to the accompaniment of suitably atmospheric music, except it's nothing so mannered as the description might suggest. Bernadette Cremin speaks her own words with the sort of gravity which demands you stop whatever you're doing and pay attention, and her testimony is spot on -
Her subject matter seems to be highly personal and quite intense, so listening is a profoundly psychological experience. The music, mostly arranged by Mex, takes a downtempo direction with bluesy, jazzy, even occasionally pseudo-