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The Last Things [ep]

by John Harvey

The Switch 01:20
Ion on Iron 03:19
Les Paul 05:53


The five pieces comprising this EP were recovered from what I had assumed was the ‘empty’ section of an old open-reel tape. I had not heard the tracks in over thirty years. Indeed, I could scarcely recall having lain them down. They (and several other pieces, now irrecoverably lost) were recorded when I was 17 years of age. Collectively, the works represent the final phase of a four-year engagement with music and mark the transition from song-orientated to spontaneous composition. In September 1977, I gave up music in order to concentrate on my studies in fine art. So, the pieces also constitute what would be my last foray into experimental music for a very long time. All of them were recorded on the right channel only of an Akai 4000DB Mk II reel-to-reel tape recorder. When the recording level of the left channel was set to match that of the right one, the latter copied the signal from the former several hundred milliseconds later. This arrangement introduced a lag or period of delay between the two channels’ outputs that could be heard both when recording and on playback. This was a peculiar but eminently useable property of the machine. My reacquaintance with these pieces in 2008 reanimated my interest in, and creative engagement with, what is now referred to as sound art.

Information on the individual tracks can be found by placing the cursor on the title, and then clicking on 'info'.


released April 23, 2012

Personnel: John Harvey.

Instrumentation: Columbus semi-hollow electric guitar, Sanyo Cassette Tape Recorder MR-410 adapted to play tape loops, and Akai 4000DB Mk II reel-to-reel tape recorder.

Context: Recorded in Abertillery, Wales, June 1977.

Compositions by: John Harvey.
Engineered and produced by: John Harvey.
Cover concept and artwork by: John Harvey.
Cover image: John Harvey, 'Off' (1978), acrylic on canvas, 65.5 x 65.5 cm
Remastered in Aberystwyth, Wales, 2012.
All compositions ℗ and © 1977 John Harvey.


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John Harvey Ceredigion, UK

I’m a practitioner and historian of sound art and visual art, and Emeritus Professor of Art at the School of Art, Aberystwyth University, UK. My research field is the sonic and visual culture of religion. I explore the sonic articulations of the Christian religion by engaging visual, textual, and audible sources, theological and cultural ideas, and systemic and audiovisualogical processes. ... more

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