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Prayer 1: a contemplative soul

from Seven Prayers for Stephen Chilton: Requiem [album] by John Harvey



The melodic line is constructed of micro samples taken from a low-resolution recording of the spoken source text (below). The recording was, first, slowed down considerably. Then, melodic and non-tonal material was sampled, extracted, edited, reversed, superimposed, and harmonically enhanced, and the whole, finally, looped. Samples of the same recording – either slowed down further or rendered only as harmonics – were overlaid at strategic intervals along the loops' spine. The sea-like sounds are constructed from a recording of white noise taken from the shortwave radio band.

Source Text
You, Lord, have given me a contemplative soul for a reason. Because, to discover you and display your light to others, the only way (I believe) I can do this is to have time to reflect on the mysteries of your being. And, I believe, you want me to do this. I am so joyful in who I am, in how you have created me; and I feel that you have gifted me with a most wonderful being and life. Things that I am unable to appreciate when I am asked to work in such a ruthlessly draining environment – I know you are asking me to have for others more than myself too. But I am unable to do this on the scale that teaching demand: hundreds of students. I feel, Lord, that you are asking me to do this in a more intimate way – more present, fully, to another.

Source Reference
Stephen Chilton [diary] April 17, 2010.


from Seven Prayers for Stephen Chilton: Requiem [album], released November 2, 2021


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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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