Terence Degnan's B.C. begins with three dissonant notes. Amidst their distorted vibrato, they reiterate themselves portentously. And then again. Noises begin to seep in from the background-startled elephants, crashing waves, bustling voices that for one reason or another had to have been overheard at some kind of depot. Almost a minute into "Harvest," the opening track, you hear the poet's voice, screaming from some distant cliff: "THE WORLD IS GOING TO END AT THREE TWENTY-FIVE, AND NOBODY BELIEVES ME." The music, though, is not an accompaniment. With many spoken word albums, the background music exists to emphasize tone, not dissimilar to movie and television soundtracks. In B.C.¸ however, Degnan has pitted himself head-to-head with the music, screaming over it's motifs, leveraging his raspy voice against the Floyd-esque minor progressions in a grappling match for importance. At times the music wins out. During interludes such as "Jazz for Jeff Dahmer" and "Harvest Companion II," Degnan's voice is absent from the palette, though the placement of these tracks suggest that pondering the previous track might be necessary. But no matter how insistent the music is, in the marginalized world of B.C. it is Degnan that is king. He bombastically quiets the sonic blizzard and then talks softly as if sitting on your shoulder, telling you a story. In "A Place to Die," he recalls the true story of a Pittsburgh man who commits suicide by stepping in front of a train, identifying with him by comparing his state of mind to an imaginary, fettered dog up the side of the mountain. He drunkenly hypothesizes about the crow/scarecrow relationship; he contemplates burying his cell phone in a pothole; he screams violently from the fringes. Degnan is possessed by various personae. At times you feel like you are listening to a coffeeshop recording, at other times he is conversing with himself in triptych, playing not only the poet but a shouting corner preacher (Degnan's version of the shoulder-angel) and a devilish deep voice, an underground rumbling that furnaces and ignites his internal but vocal confrontation with himself. It is specifically these vocal manifestations that perfectly parallel Degnan's singular brand of schizo-verse, and gives a sense of the poet demanding to be heard, insistent that his interpretation of the world is, if not necessarily correct, at least worthy of consideration. Terence Degnan's B.C. is deeper than it appears on first listen. It is a commentary on itself in that it recognizes the formula it uses and turns it brashly on it's head. Listen to it for Degnan's rope-burned voice. Listen to it alone in a dark room. Listen to the dozens of warring voices, both vocal and musical. Listen to Degnan pronounce, "I want to touch the outer casing of an organ," and see if you don't feel like you just did. ____________ Notes on Harvest by Kirk Salopek: ...An interesting conundrum I call this Terence Degnan thing. (I refer to him as, 'Tee-Daygnan') Beginning to understand the notion of my production ideas being lent to a project like this...(a spoken word/poetry collection) has provided me with the option of many twists and turns down creative avenues. My main body of work, attention and intention for the last 4 years has been Mandrake Project. A band of sorts with a particular avoidance of vocal interpolation within it's music. This whole time I've thought, 'How can I create interesting and interwoven pieces of music that convey a message without the reliance upon word and voice?' Where's the message? Somehow up until now the muse has been kind enough to allow my work to continue. After repeated run-ins with Tee-Daygnan, the situation presented itself to assist him and later to ultimately suggest the recording of his verbosity. He asked if I would help record...Perhaps produce. I HAVE NO USE FOR WORDS!!! What the f*** do I know about poetry anyway? Nothing. The tables have turned on me for this project. And for the good. I'm swimming out of my water and looking to unusual sources for ideas and techniques. I've hopefully been able to find some of the noises that share a dank and obscured place in his creative thought process. 'Harvest' was the first piece I was able to connect on. The sound of the street, distant rumbles, a passing train and deranged street crier was the food I was given. The results of digestion (which are still taking place) have created the ever changing sketch of 'Harvest' that will reach it's completion by Autumn. -Kirk Salopek -3/8/07 ______________ track listing harvest: kirk salopek, terence degnan harvest companion: salopek a place to die: salopek, degnan boxer and the baby: gary musisko, salopek, degnan cure for scabies: salopek, degnan jazz for jeff dahmer: salopek crowBar: salopek, degnan test tube intro: nik westman, musisko, nathan asher and the infantry, cameron McGill and what army, the mandrake project, the selmanaires, the makeout room test tube, baby: salopek, degnan harvest companion II: salopek the mayans have gone out for groceries: salopek, degnan jesus, handcuffs: cody hoover, scott edward, nathan asher, salopek, degnan produced by kirk salopek executive produced by sean degnan.