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Sea Interlude (Still Waters)

from I. Nothing. Lack (Psalm 23) [ep] by John Harvey



The source recording captures an aspect of the world that lies a little beyond Bethel’s walls: the incoming tide at Aberystwyth. (On a quiet day, it can be heard from inside the building.) The aim was to develop a linear and evolving texture analogous to the changing timbre of the waves upon the shale and pebbles, heard while walking along the water’s edge. The samples have been digitally adjusted in such as way as to define and amplify certain harmonics implicit in the otherwise non-pitch specific noises produced by the water and my feet passing over the shore's surfaces.

The work’s subtitle ‘still waters’, is taken from the psalm. The sea, of course, is far from motionless. However, the Hebrew for ‘still’ (מְנוּחָה) is better translated as ‘restful’. In other word, the concept is of waters that have a therapeutic effect. This accords with findings of medical research on dementia palliation. Some sounds sooth. White noise, which comprises many frequencies of equal intensity, can serve to block out extraneous noise has the capacity to relax the patient. It can be heard in nature as, for example, the sound of the sea and a waterfall. Recordings of such are played to those with dementia as part of a therapeutic programme.

(For SB)


from I. Nothing. Lack (Psalm 23) [ep], released March 6, 2018


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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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