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JFH Staff Review

Kevin Max, Raven Songs 101
Kevin Max
Raven Songs 101

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 11 tracks: 29 minutes, 20 seconds
Street Date: 2003

Kevin Max is a maker of art. Of many arts. He is best known as one-third singer of dc Talk, but is also as a solo-arist, an author, an actor, and a poet. In his second solo album, Max combines "the poet" with "the artist." In 2003, he went into studio, together with Adrian Belew, to create the spoken word album: Raven Songs 101.

The spoken word album features Kevin Max, reading eleven poems, taken from his book The Detritus of Dorian Gray. As a real poet, he reads his poems how they were meant to be read, and on tracks like "Time Fever to a Boil" and "Black Leather and a Microphone," his words are falling in line with the rhythm and music, which creates a track of spoken words floating over the music.

Max wouldn't be Max if he did the whole record the same way, so you won't find the same eleven tracks. As said, "Time Fever to a Boil" is coming close to a song, while "Untitled" lets you hear rough words, with Max's voice heavily disrupted by what lets you think of a very bad radio contact, which also repeats a bit on "River." On tracks like "One" and "Swing," the focus lies on the words, spoken out very clearly, while the music is only providing the necessary accenting sounds.

On "Whalers Tale," Kevin also speaks very clearly, reading his poems like a minstrel might do. The way Kevin and Adrian decided to do "Tremble at His Feet" is somewhat a downside to the project, however. Kevin's words are repeated half a second after he spoke them, which continues as the track goes on. This way it sounds a bit too chaotic.

Looking at the whole record, this is project is maybe worth taking a look at, if you like spoken words. If you never liked poetry, you should pick up something else, because this recording contains more poetry than music. If you're a Max fan, it will be worth you're time, as this record shows you another side of the maker of art: the poet.

Raven Songs 101 was re-released digitally in 2009, for those interested.

JFH Reader Review: Review date: 12/7/09, written by Eelke de Gier for


. Record Label: None (2003) / dPulse (2009)
. Album length: 11 tracks: 29 minutes, 20 seconds
. Street Date: 2003 / April 7, 2009
. Buy It:
. Buy It: iTunes

  1. One
  2. Raven Song 101
  3. Untitled
  4. Black Leather and a Microphone
  5. And You Tremble at His Feet
  6. Swing
  7. River
  8. When the Dawn Comes
  9. Raising Cain
  10. Untitled
  11. Time the Fever to a Boil



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