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Eleventh Piece: Verbose Rant

from R R B V E Ǝ T N Ƨ O A [album] by John Harvey

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Like ‘First Piece: Abort Nerves’, the penultimate piece in the suite is triumphalist, tribal, and defiant in tone. The choir chants loudly, fervently, and unintelligibly and, as it were, foot stomps – like supporters on the terraces of a rugby stadium. Roberts is in charge; he counts them in. There is an air of confidence mixed with desperation underlying the proceedings – as though Roberts and his supporters were vainly endeavouring to revive the revival, even as it waned. The composition represents both a rally and rallying call to the troops. Roberts utters unconnected slogans, exhortations, and challenges; the choir cry ‘mercy’. Halfway through the composition, there is a sound like that of angelic heralding trumpets. But their ‘voice’ is dispiriting and uncertain.

Towards the end, the choir fades into the sounds of the churning wax cylinder and acoustic drawing. Only the mechanics that have been driving the suite’s compositions now remain. Whatever had been the revival’s short-term gains and legacy elsewhere in the world, in Wales its influence diminished relatively quickly. After fourteen months of daily coverage, the press (who had helped fan the fire into flame), lost interest. Roberts, for his part, was all but confined to home suffering from emotional burnout. Moreover, congregational attendance in chapels declined sharply in the period up to 1911, and with it the cause of the nonconformist denominations in Wales. A position that would be further weakened by the tragic loss of many male members following the First World War. Enthusiasm and earnestness alone could not sustain either the phenomenon or the cause.


Lyric
ER: One, to, three, for.

Choir: [unintelligible]
[unintelligible] [reverse] [2 times]

[unintelligible]
[unintelligible] [reverse] [2 times]

[unintelligible]
[unintelligible] [reverse] [2 times]

[unintelligible]
[unintelligible] [reverse] [2 times]
Mercy! [2 times]

[unintelligible]
[unintelligible] [reverse] [2 times]

[unintelligible]
[unintelligible] [reverse] [2 times]
Mercy! [2 times]

ER: What can we give God in return?
What can we give God in return? …
Give him all!

Choir: [unintelligible]
[unintelligible] [reverse] [2 times]
Mercy! [2 times]

ER: One, to, three, for, five thousands in Wales. He will need one to, three, for, five thousands in Wales. He will need …

Choir: [unintelligible] [reverse] [2 times]

ER: One, to, three, for, five thousands in Wales. He will need one, to, three, for, five thousands in Wales. He will need …

Choir: [unintelligible] [reverse] [10 times]

ER: Do you love Jesus? Do you love Jesus?
Tell some. Tell some. Tell some. Tell some.

Hear my brethren. Hear my brethren. Hear my brethren ...

Choir: [unintelligible] [reverse]

[unintelligible] [2 times]

[unintelligible] [reverse] [2 times]

[unintelligible] [reverse] [2 times]

credits

from R R B V E Ǝ T N Ƨ O A [album], released July 12, 2015

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about

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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