John M. Bennett, Rotcod Zzaj & Ficus strangulensis – Skinless He (cassette, 1992)



This album was one of the best poetry collaborations between Rotcod Zzaj & (Columbus, Ohio) poets John M. Bennett and Ficus strangulensis. It was recorded (originally) to 4-track in the early 1990’s.

GAJOOB Review by Zalnikor Zundörum Bohatyretz, 6/30/1992:

“Another great tape from Rotcod Zzaj and John Bennett with the addition of Ficus Strangulensis. 90 minutes of lyrical music actuelle. Inventive duos with continuous interaction of Rotcod’s improvised Jazz style keyboards and sublime poetry. Extemporized readings with Shakuhachi. Side B’s title, “Wordweave” is an apt description. Recommended for poetry lovers.”

GAJOOB Review by Bryan Baker, 11/28/2023:

“Skinless He”, a collaborative album from poets John M. Bennett, and Ficus strangulensis, and keyboard poet Rotcod Zzaj, is a vibrant tapestry of sound and wordplay that demands your attention. Originally recorded to 4-track in the early 1990s, the album is yet another testament to the power of collaboration and the limitless possibilities of experimental music.

The album kicks off with Bennett’s signature wordplay, which dances effortlessly with Zzaj’s playful keyboard shuffle. The two elements intertwine to create a soundscape that is as engaging as it is unpredictable. It’s clear from the outset that this isn’t your typical poetry or music album; it’s something entirely its own.

What makes “Skinless He” so compelling is the synergy between the artists. Each brings their unique style and flair to the table, yet they manage to blend their contributions into a cohesive whole. The result is an album that is as diverse as it is harmonious, with each track offering a new and exciting exploration into the world of experimental music and poetry.

Of all the many collaborations that Zzaj has been a part of, “Skinless He” stands out as a particular highlight for me. The chemistry between the artists is palpable, resulting in an album that is as enjoyable to listen to as it undoubtedly was to create.

It’s a triumph of creativity and collaboration. A shining example of what can be achieved when artists come together to push the boundaries of their respective mediums. Whether you’re a fan of experimental music, innovative poetry, or just good art in general, this album is definitely worth checking out.

Media: cassette (digital only now).

CONTACT: Dick Metcalf, Zzaj Productions, Lacey, WA, USA

Visit Zzaj Productions

Bandcamp URL:





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