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The source sample was taken from a sermon broadcast by a fundamentalist Christian radio station in the USA. The preacher speaks in an unusually slow, deliberate, and affected manner. His theme is the divine inspiration of the Judaeo-Christian scriptures. In the composition, the sample is doubled. The second voice begins 3500ms after the first, as in a catch that never repeats. In a catch, the same lyric is sung by two or more voices in such a way as to intermingle, overlap, and generate new words and phrases that are not evident or audible when it is sung solo. The outcome of the process is not cacophony and confusion but, rather, a measured syncopation that preserves (and accentuates) the pace, rhythm, dynamics, musicality, and silences of the speech pattern, as well as the comprehensibility of what is spoken by each voice.

We can read in Jeremiah, chapter 36, for example, the account of how God told the prophet Jeremiah to write God’s words. Where we read in verse 2: ‘Take thee a roll of a book’. Just think of this now: this is God speaking to a literal, physical prophet named Jeremiah. ‘Take thee a roll of a book and write therein all the words I have spoken unto thee’. Talk about a personal relationship between two people: between God and the prophet Jeremiah. This is how God wrote the Bible, as a matter of fact. That is why we are able to say that the words in the Bible are from the mouth of God. They’re not from the mind of Moses, or David, or Paul, or Peter. They are from the mind of God. Oh my! Could anything be more wonderful to contemplate … to think about? They are God’s words and are, therefore, perfectly written – as long as we don’t tamper with them. May all of us diligently study God’s word. And may God in his great mercy give us understanding. And, above all, may God give each one of us a great love for God’s word.

Personnel: Anonymous preacher and John Harvey.

Instrumentation: Adobe Audition CS6, Apple MacBook Pro OS X 10.8, Roberts R9962 Compact Shortwave Radio, and Tascam DR-2d digital recorder.

Source: Recording of an unknown Christian radio broadcast in the USA, July 1, 2013.


from The Bible in Translation (disc 2) [album], released September 1, 2016


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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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