Buddy Hollywood Review: Self-Medication...Poems of Alienation (by Joseph A. Peragine)

- (Review by Mike Parker, Buddyhollywood.com)

A wise man once told me, ‘Perception is always more important than reality.’ Unfortunately, for those afflicted with paranoid schizophrenia, perception becomes reality. If you’ve seen the flick, “A Beautiful Mind,” you know what I mean. Experimental recording artist Joseph A. Peragine, who suffers from the malady, explores the altered states and amazing grace produced by this dark disease on his autobiographical sophomore release, Self-Medication…Poems of Alienation.

Self-Medication is not for the faint of heart, nor for the easily offended. The language is frequently harsh, and the themes elucidated upon even harsher. An often jarring juxtaposition of ambient sounds, peaceful musical interludes, manic poetic ramblings, and jumbled conversations that you suspect might be between Peragine and the voices in his head, or in the mirror, this is not a CD that you are likely to pop into the player at a dance party. “Lady Vulture,” “Suicide Countdown,” and “Alienorganization (Journey Into A Straitjacket)” are not exactly the kind of songs that give you a warm, fuzzy feeling. As a poet, Peragine favors Edgar Allen Poe more than Robert Frost, hence his work is more fit for stormy, brooding nights, than gentle, starlit evenings.

However, while this collection of spoken word songs may be difficult to listen to, it is strangely compelling, intriguing, and ultimately important. The ‘self-medication’ alluded to on Peragine’s CD frequently refers to self-destruction, self-mutilation, and self-gratification. Yet, I suspect the very act of committing these dark and brooding thoughts into an electronic format is just as much an act of self-medication. Those who have wrestled with the devil in the dark and emerged victorious will be able to relate. Those who have only known the light will likely find this project jarring and disturbing.