About BHD

Bleak Heart Driver was written by James Yarker in 1995 as part of a Stan's Cafe project to record some work for the radio.

You start off with 12 words in four lines. You then move the words through every combination that's possible without moving the words from their position, like a multiple-dial padlock. It's much easier to understand if you try it for yourself.

The original poem started with the lines:

Bleak heart driver.
Lost spot welder.
Red life giver.
Sweet car dreamer.

The text that emerges from the procedure was intended to be, "spoken softly and fairly flat. Delivered so the phrases become hypnotic but are also heard individually on occasions as well... maybe it's a cross between Steve Reich and the speaking clock."

The rearrangement, repetition and neutral tone create ambiguity and a slightly directed kind of free-association. Adding music can overlay emotions and atmosphere.

A version of BHD with music by Jon Ward & Ross Carter can be found on the Stan's Cafe CD Pieces for the Radio: Volume One which you can buy from their site. The track is also available to buy from CD Baby.