Form Matters

Philip Gounis spoken word
with musical accompaniment by Rich Kruse

Review by
Joe Wetteroth


“All Winter spent sneering and snorting the snow while the Glacier of Doom slid closer to the door and eventually into the rooms of the home. When the check came, I was out to lunch. No dues paid, only debts acquired – karmic or otherwise.”
            Philip Gounis “Three Seasons”

The crux of the lyrics-based singer is that music so often becomes background noise to the listener. Voice becomes simply another instrument filling in the gaps of a particular recording, and a constant battle is felt from the perspective of the singer to compete with the music being played. Form Matters is the balance of instrument and spoken word. Gounis offers ten pieces molded to fit into musical accompaniment, which at no point drowns out the words or takes away from the feeling of the poem. The opening track, “She Walks In”, sets the tone of this record. A 1980’s style Bob Dylan blues jam that delivers slogans and catch phrases to create the atmosphere and perspective of what the lyricist perceives. Gounis begins this track with the line, “She walked in wearing dark sunglasses,” and closes with the line, “She walked in and then she walked out without recognizing me.” These lyrics create footnotes for the rest of the album.

Throughout this recording it becomes obvious that Philip Gounis represents a man living through changing cultures. “Kid Tunes” sparks images of 1950’s “Leave It To Beaver” convention where “Jolly Jingles” lie with “the mom and pop in mind”. This track, with a child-like melody that sounds like children looking at new toys from store windows, creates a short image to become questioned by its following track “Hero Dreams.” At 4 AM, “corporation executives are turning and squirming in their sleep”, “garbage men circle the city block”, and “children sleep” while a man struggles with his own personal fallout. He knows that the conventions he grew up with are not working. He is aware of the cultural impact of the sixties. His consciousness has changed, and as time has continued, he also takes on a certain amount of disillusionment. These feelings of change, disillusionment, loss, and mending resonate within this record ending with final a stomp-blues track. “He Got Out” is collection of all feelings into a Rebel Without a Cause persona where the only ending after being conscious is mental prison.

The beauty of Philip Gounis’ work is that the emotions are simply presented and not necessarily interpreted. A mental prison is a fact not to be turned into a refuge for the bitter and jaded. In “Bacchus Confused”, he states “We are here together, again, not forever, or ‘until death do us part’, but at least from dusk to dawn.” This is not a cynical

observation or warning to younger generations to avoid marriage or conventional life. Instead, Gounis creates a testament that we are all naive children simply living through personal experiences.

*for a copy of Form Matters contact Philip Gounis at