Clint of De Stijl Records hipped me to Poetry Out Loud, a series of LPs made by two American couples in the 1960-70s documenting their group experiments in "taking poetry off the page." -- and I can see why -- the recordings, wilth all manner of voices male and female, chanting, wailing, moaning, soaked and fried in tape delay with tranced-out percussion uncannily recall my own recordings with another double couple band. Lest you think De Stijl, digitally rereleasing all ten of the Poetry Out Loud albums, could have had a financial motive in contacting me, ask yourself what financial motive could one really have in putting out poetry records in this or any age?
I happened on a copy of Herzog On Ice left idle on a kitchen table and opened to a random page and read the director's tale of giving his occupation as 'poet' when registering at a hostel and the innkeeper giving him half-price as a gesture of respect. But I think if you were to pull the same trick in America today, even (and perhaps especially) your own family would send you packing in an instant. Which is why the name "Poetry Out Loud" has been claimed by a national "recitation" competition for students. Which is why what I would call "couples rock" (John & Yoko; Niagra/Loren; Jandek & Nancy; Royal Trux) tends toward the alchemical ... if you're going to bottle off the universe, you're going to need somebody on your side.
What can be disconcerting about even a large discography is that they end. Why do artists stop? Maybe a years-long series of records can contain every possible permutation of set elements rendering further extrapolation unecessary, or maybe people just get blown apart under the stress of poetic responsibilities and sociopsychic chaos.
But consider the opposite spectrum, the poet, alone. While the complete recorded works of Poetry Out Loud total over five hours, the complete recorded works of Boris Policeband total under five minutes. Policeband, late 70s NYC scene personality, a "classically trained" musician turned conceptual artist, who would "wear sunglasses indoors after inviting himself over to channell-flip the TV for six hours a pop" and only released one 7" during his career "clearing rooms" all over downtown NYC with mix of electric violin and beat poetry as heard through Policeband's constant monitoring of NYPD radio scanner.
The only known footage of Policeband in action is found towards the end of this super 8 film with DNA and Contoetions playing. His set is all about 30 seconds long and is pitch black.
Research into the life of Boris Policeband reveals a mysterious death following years of silence. One especially dishy rememberance, courtesy pool hall pal and roommate of Policeband, recalls heated intrigues following his various NYC breakups, including a romance with Laurie Spiegel, whose Obsolete Systems just happened to be in the 5-disc changer, along with Time Machines, Soliloquies for Lillith, and Isis Aquarian.