Les Paul

from The Last Things by John Harvey



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.


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.


all rights reserved



John Harvey Ceredigion, UK

Harvey is a historian of art, visual culture, and sound art, and also a sound- and visual-art practitioner. His research field is the visual and sonic culture of religion, principally. He explores non-iconic attitudes to visualization and sonic articulations of religion by engaging visual, textual, and audible sources, theological and cultural ideas, and systemic and audiovisualogical processes. ... more

contact / help

Contact John Harvey

Streaming and
Download help

Report this track or account