Poetic License Project
The Webster's Dictionary defines poetic license as "the right of a poet to deviate from the conventional rules of syntax, grammar, etc." Upon reading this definition (in about 2005), I had an epiphany moment about the nature of art, language and song. As a long-time lover of poetry, I decided to look at some of my favorite poems and put them to music, to create a post-modern song version of them. This is not a new idea (many have put poetry to music), but it satisfied my creative impulses, on many levels. There are poets who have been an inspiration in my life, guiding me through storm and stress and happiness, and I wanted their voices to speak again, to another generation who might not know them yet.
In early 2006, Dennis Gunn and I began collaborating on a studio project with the goal of making digital recordings of some of my musical interpretations of works of poetry by Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Campion, William Shakespeare, and others. We published our first results in April 2010 with the album Poetic License 刀 (available on iTunes). In my estimation, this album has a retro sound, harking back to studio work done several decades ago.
After the release of the first album (which, in the immortal words of the British philosopher David Hume, "Fell still-born from the press"), Dennis and I went back into the studio to make our next CD, called Poetic License Lost and Found, which was released in February 2013. This time I invited some talented music friends in Tokyo to join the recording sessions. Goh Hirose (of The Lo-Fi) and Sawa Kato (of Sawas Phool) made impressive contributions to the album and made the experience all the more fun. This album features musical (poetic) interpretations of poems by Robert Herrick, Percy Shelley, Emily Dickinson, and e.e. cummings, amongst others. The sound of this album is quite different from the first one, mainly because we took liberty, license, in the studio to create more elaborate interpretations of the songs.