Throughout the decades, hip-hop and rap have taken different forms and artists from all backgrounds have uses the medium as an outlet for their material. For poet Joshua Jones, better known as Human Head, these genres are used to drive home the delivery of his stories. Jones’ poetry background is front and centre in this, his debut EP Sorry, I Wasn’t Listening, as the five tracks feel more like a spoken word artist telling five individual stories rather than a mere collection of songs. The beats are quite minimal in places yet at the same time feel complex, making the listener have to lean in further to pick up on all the nuances.
The artist uses Human Head as an umbrella identity under which artistic freedom, exploration, and collaboration across the disciplines of poetry, music, and visual art are open to creative experimentation. Originally from Llanelli, South Wales, but now residing in Bristol, it’s the distinctive welsh accent which often emphasises the personal elements in Jones’ music. It’s on the track ‘No One Lives Here Yet’ where you first really notice his accent, adding a real endearing element to the music, showing that he isn’t trying to be anyone else other than himself; it’s just one man telling his life experiences.
What makes Human Head an intriguing listen is you want to know where this person has come from in order to get to this point in the narrative. On standout track ‘Intruders’ Jones opens with the words “I walk to the platform edge, toes firmly planted defiantly behind the yellow line,” while a haunting string section plays in the background, showing a fragility to the artist only for him to reveal “there are intruders inside my head” giving a real sense of vulnerability to his music. Even though planted firmly in the realms of hip hop, Human Head delivers something which is much more than a traditional hip-hop record, showing a vulnerable side, through the guise of his artist persona.
Sorry, I Wasn’t Listening is available 13th December via Beth Shalom Records and can be purchased here.
Words: Tim Birkbeck