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Seventh Piece: Art Orb Seven

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

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Following the ‘seven days’ silence’, Roberts returned to the spiritual battle reinvigorated. ‘Seventh Piece: Art Orb Seven’ is a dance-orientated composition with a club-music feel. The spirit suggests a celebratory and energetic air; the lyric conveys a sense of great expectations and untrammelled optimism. In contrast to ‘Sixth Piece: Rest on a Verb’, Roberts is placed back on the conductor’s podium, while the choir are confined to shouting utterances from the side-lines, and singing a single and direct quotation from one of the cylinder’s hymns. The sounds were extracted from micro-samples of speech and singing that had been variously looped, reversed, speeded up, and overlaid. They are let-off like fireworks, shooting in all directions, and are punctuated by atonalist passages and electronic-sounding noises. This anachronistic soundscape enables events that took place over a hundred years ago to step outside their own time and enter into our own.

The lyric, when not repeating single words, develops incrementally by the successive addition of one word. The phrase ‘God took up his cause; man cannot do less’, heard in ‘Sixth Piece: Rest on a verb’, is restated. At the close, Roberts introduces the theme of tongues speaking. This is the phenomenon that was witnessed at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the gathered disciples. Having been filled with the Holy Spirit, they were able to speak languages that they had not learned (Acts 2.1-4). The theme is taken up in ‘Nineth Piece: Ornate Verbs’.


Lyric
ER/Choir: [Unintelligible]

ER/Choir: [Unintelligible]

ER: Jesus! [8 times]
Everything! [4 times]

Sing it again!

ER/Choir: [Unintelligible]

ER: What God?
What will God?
What will God hear?

ER: What God?
What will God?
What will God do here?

ER/Choir: [Unintelligible]

ER: What God?
What will God?
What will God hear?

ER: What God?
What will God?
What will God do here?

ER: Everything! (8 times)
Jesus! (4 times)

Sing it again!

Choir: O Lamb that gave us glory.

ER: God took up his cause; man cannot do less.

God spoke through prophets; he now speaking in tongues.
And his tongues say: ‘I am the way’.
A way to what?

To everything! [8 times]

Sing it again!

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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