Harvestman/ Steve Von Till - 23 Untitled Poems [Neurot Recordings - 2021]
23 Untitled Poems is the audio companion to Steve Von Till’s collected lyrics/ poetry book of the same name. It’s a four-track EP, which finds Till’s slightly rough grained-yet-wonderfully descriptive voice intoning words of ragged and deadly nature, inner and outer trauma, demons and gods, blood, ash and grey-to-blacked earth.
The CD album comes presented in a mini grey gatefold- this features on its front a dark woodcut print of a half deer/ bear creature with its head raised back into in pained bellow. Inside we get all the tracks texts reprinted- all making for a simple yet effective bit of packaging
I’m hoping Mr Von Till will need little or no introduction to M[m] readers- but just in case he’s most known as the guitarist/ one of the vocalists with crust bound-to-earthy Avant-garde metal band Neurosis. Since 2005 he’s been releasing solo material under the Harvestman banner- so far the projects released four full-lengths, with a sound that’s more stripped back blend barren rock and folk tropes.Roger Batty
Each of the four tracks here lasts between two and six minutes. I won’t go into detail what each track is about, its content, or what I think their meanings are- because this would rather ruin the impact, and it’s always nice with spoken word work to give your own take on each. The tracks move from unaffected and stark voice tone only, onto slight reverbed, to lightly musical backed. And I must say you really do get lost in Von Till’s rich and layered spoken texts- that manage to shift through a few different subjects/ focus but remain set with barren sort of world-weary and earthy charm.
Of course, you’ll need to enjoy spoken word/ poetry to enjoy 23 Untitled Poems- but I found it a most compelling and rewarding listen, if I could criticise one thing it would have been nice if it was a little longer, but I guess it’s nice leaving you wanting more, then fed-up/ jaded.