Notches: an Introduction

A Lyrical Retrope.

There is a certain allure to musical arrangements where the lyrics are not only intrinsic to the piece itself, but can stand alone once extracted from the swelling sea of crescendos and rhythmic beats.  In stripping lyrical text of their musical embellishments, they reveal an inherent heartbeat of their own. The words without music ring with a driving pulse and emotional undertow that reads much like poetry and, even when considered in their respective categories of verse or chorus, seem to echo with the memory of music that once made them whole. By disassembling the lyrical language further, fragmenting them into bits and pieces of almost-phrases and barely-there utterances, the incomplete-ness of the shards of text do not lose meaning: they inspire new artistic creations. The words, naked and broken, still retain the impulse of their initial purpose to make a listener feel one with the song, with the words, with the message. This message, now dispersed throughout short bursts of its once whole medium, still lies in the fragments: begging to be recalled, reinterpreted, exposed. To be built back together again.

“And they’ll be placing fingers through the notches in your spine.”

This is the first experiment with this style of a Lyrical Retrope. The fragment above has been inspiration extracted from Neutral Milk Hotel’s “Two-Headed Boy.” The phrase’s sense of haunting imposition and imposing desperation has inspired three works of writing, each written in a style of broken poetry.

     

Photography by Emily Howell