Boomkat Product Review:
Spoken Word Recordings by Iggy Pop with music created by Tarwater and Alva Noto...
Your eyes/ears do not deceive you: Leaves of Grass features arch American rockstar Iggy Pop reading poems from Walt Whitman’s classic collection of the same name, set to music by Robert Lippok and Bernd Jetstram’s Tarwater, accompanied by Raster-Noton co-founder Carsten Nicolai, a.k.a. Alva Noto.
No doubt it’s an unlikely meeting of minds, but also a hugely successful one at that. Iggy Pop proves to be a perfect candidate to recite Whitman’s incredibly rich, sensual, and populist verse in his husky American drawl, the words practically crawling out of his drooping square jaw and onto the sparing but supple music with an intimate yet epic sense of poise and purpose worthy of its timelessly evocative source material.
The results distinctly recall Ken Nordine’s classic voice-over work, only factored by Whitman’s wonderfully expressive poetry and matched by the technoid curves and sensitive nuance of Tarwater and Alva Noto’s mercurial electronics.
Iggy sums Whitman’s influence so: “You know, I think he had something like Elvis. Like Elvis ahead of his time, one of the first manic American populists. You know you're looking at pictures of him, and he was obviously someone who was very much involved with his own physical appearance. His poetry is always about motion and rushing ahead, and crazy love and blood pushing through the body. He would have been the perfect gangster rapper. Whitman says, even the most beautiful face is not as beautiful as the body. And to say that in the middle of the 19th century is outrageous. It's a slap in the face. Look at the popular, well-educated poets of the time, those sensitive noblemen. But Whitman writes: 'Fuck ass.'"