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Between the lines

Brooklyn Daily

Don’t just listen to the music, read along, too.

A new album from musician and one-time Brooklyn resident Richard Buckner is a literary experiment in reading and listening, where the booklet isn’t just for those who have a hard time understanding the words to a song.

Buckner sings fragmented excerpts taken from a loosely told tale of an insomniac looking out his window at groups of people in the streets. Entire sentences in the short story that comes with the album are turned into lines of poetry in the music.

A line in the prose that goes, “These static arrangements have led you to attempt a rest, but you just won’t lie down,” becomes, “You just won’t lie down,” in the album’s title song “Surrounded.”

Not only does Buckner’s voice have a sensitivity that works well with story telling, he said he’s always been interested in creative writing.

“Non music writing is either as or more important to me right now as music writing,” he said.

Even without the additional words, the songs stand up very well by themselves. The album as a whole sounds incredibly good, while including some surprising instrumentation such as keyboard synths and guitar pedals in what is an otherwise acoustic offering.

But Buckner’s decision to include the source material for the lyrics doesn’t feel like a superfluous one. Reading is a way of both slowing down the act of listening to music as well as making it a less passive endeavor. Buckner’s attitude about life is similar.

“Walk home instead of taking the subway, and 99 percent of the time something will happen that you’ve never seen,” said the musician. “The things that you see will effect the way you think about other things and hopefully change your perspective.”

Richard Buckner at Littlefield [622 Degraw St. between Fourth and Third Avenues, in Gowanus, (718) 855–3388,]. Sept. 15, 7 pm, $15–$17.

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