The Fright Catalog of Warrior Soul

A few days ago, Kim Kelly posted an interview on Noisey with Joseph Moconi, the linguist/poet behind the surreal poem performed exquisite corpse-like by a circle of narrators embedded in flowers. Individual phrases evoked the titles of paintings by Salvador Dalí and sculptures by Remedios Varo. They also sounded like black metal lyrics – because they were!

Fright Catalog from Mathew Timmons on Vimeo.

Now, I appreciate any performance of poetry that avoids the monotonic faux-beatnik “poet voice,” and I love visual art with saturated color, so obviously, I got a kick out of it. But part of the fun was in the poem’s familiarity.

In 1990 one of my favorite albums was the criminally underrated Last Decade Dead Century by Warrior Soul. Nothing is unusual about the fact that two poems should share meter. Besides, anyone who has ever tried to create anything knows there is nothing new under the sun.

Part of the appeal of Joseph Moconi’s poem is the variation in performance style, and the intent of the piece is different from Warrior Soul’s.

In the Noisey interview Moconi says:
I wouldn’t say that the video or book is commenting on or critiquing anything particularly. I’m more interested in seeing what happens as language is appropriated and moves through different subcultures, how it signifies and re-signifies.

Warrior Soul, on the other hand, could not have been more overt in their political and social criticism. So besides my delight at being reminded of a favorite album from my teen years, the similarities in style sparked a curiosity. Why is it that angry and aggressive music has such a penchant for ten-dollar words? Why is this meter the rhythm of anger?

Back when Last Decade Dead Century was my favorite new album, my boyfriend liked to attribute bad traffic to barometric pressure changes, and to point out how a 6-5-4 chord progression always signals the climax in movie soundtracks. Every good metalhead knows the tritone has been associated with evil since at least the early 1700s.

I wonder if these sorts of sonic synchronicities are inherent or result from decades of Pavlovian Hollywood training. I know that there are musical traditions in other cultures that don’t even use the sorts of structures common in Western music. But I don’t know if other cultures ever use the tritone in love songs or sing 6-5-4 lullabies.

I think I’m nibbling around the edges of Jungian philosophy here, but for now I’d rather blog some musings than actually tackle “Man and His Symbols” or even “The Pocket Jung.” Besides, now I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of Warrior Soul videos on YouTube. Man, Kory Clarke. That hair.

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