Les Paul

from The Last Things by John Harvey

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In 1974, I first heard a 78 rpm gramophone recording of ‘How High the Moon’ (1951) performed by Mary Ford (1924-1977) and Les Paul (1915-2009). Paul was the first guitarist to recognize the instrumentality of the tape recorder. He was a pioneer of home-studio technology and -- by a process of overdubbing, recording at half speed, and playing at normal speed – developed a unique guitar sound and compositional strategy. This track is a hommage to one of twentieth-century music’s most influential innovators and experimenters. The improvisation was captured at half speed in a single take with no overdubbing.

credits

from The Last Things, released April 23, 2012
Personnel: John Harvey

Instrumentation: Columbus semi-hollow electric guitar, and Akai 4000DB Mk II reel-to-reel tape recorder

Context: Recorded in Abertillery, UK in June 1977. Remastered in Aberystwyth, UK in March 2012

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John Harvey Ceredigion, UK

I’m a practitioner and historian of sound art and visual art, and 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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