Certified weirdo, rock poet, and recent British Sea Power collaborator Jock Scot made My Personal Culloden in 1997, when it was first released on Postcard Records. It conjures up a curious blend of Scot intoning his prose / poetry and a varied collection of musical backings. Reissued by Heavenly Recordings, vinyl or CD.
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Jock Scot is one of those gnarly rock ‘n’ roll poets who growls and sleepily declares things overtop a background of whatever-the-fuck happens to be playing in the moment, whether it’s a nice background of lounge pop or a weakass Travis-esque chord sequence. In the lineage of Scottish spoken word, he sounds like an early and less wallowing Aidan Moffat with none of the sober melodies of Bill Wells; in other circles, he might sound like the only Bukowski-inspired poet who could collaborate with British Sea Power (which he did). ‘My Personal Culloden’ was originally released in 1997 on Postcard Records, a label celebrating Scottish excellence, and here it is again to talk at you.
When he goes raw, Scot sounds something out of another time, creating spitting and spewing tunes that fit their fiery, snarling riffs (“Just Another Fucked Up Little Druggy”) though they don’t necessarily sound good because of it. These tracks establish Scot as a dark and discontented writer, but they rarely get fleshed out; his words appear in brief as the same guitar motif plays out repeatedly before a resigned fadeout. There are times where his words sound like they could be Lil B freestyles (“Farewell to FERODO”, where his rhymes feel forced in an attempt to describe the Scottish landscape), and it’s on his calmer, slower tunes that he finds his grace and brilliance: “There’s a Hole In Daddy’s Arms” sees him hum along his tune with a child vocalist, for a track that sounds somehow triumphant amidst its mix of odd vocal gestures and reverberating guitar.
Unlike a lot of spoken word records, this one doesn’t construct a coherent atmosphere between protagonist and sound; rather it’s a loose, meandering collection, much like a real anthology of a writer’s poems. It shows off the many different personalities of Scot -- the sweet Scot, the harsh Scot, the surrealist Scot -- as the music bleeds between them. It’s interesting, as a result; a sort of avant-garde record that still gives a sense of where it was made.
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