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Seventh Trumpet

from Spirit Communication [album] by John Harvey

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Over the past decade, there have been many recordings and written testimonies posted on YouTube and social media sites that describe aerial trumpet-like sounds. The videos are intriguing, at the very least. An unusual sound is clearly audible and unnerving, but the source remains a mystery. Some religionists have interpreted the ‘trumpeting’ as a harbinger of the Apocalypse.

‘Seventh Trumpet’ references both this acoustic anomaly and the account of the trumpeting angels described in The Book of Revelation. The seventh angel’s trumpet, and the accompanying voices in Heaven, proclaim the transformation of ‘the kingdoms of this world’ into ‘the kingdoms of our Lord’ (Revelation 10.15). In contrast to the previous six trumpet blasts (which announced plague and woe), the seventh is a solemn portent of the tumultuous and glorious change.

In the Judeo-Christian Bible, the sound of the trumpet is sometimes accompanied by loud clamorous voices and natural acoustic phenomena, such as thunder. The trumpet’s blast is variously used to warn, signal, frighten, proclaim, summon, and announce. At Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments, the trumpet’s sound and the voice of God were closely associated (Hebrews 12.19). In Revelation, the relationship between trumpet and voice are fused: ‘[a voice] speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this”’ (Revelation 4.1).

In the composition, the sounds of the trumpet, and everything else that is heard, are constructed from my own voice reading aloud specific words from Revelation, chapter 10, and verse 15. Some are slowed down considerably, and dropped in pitch several octaves. Others are also reversed, looped, and modulated.

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from Spirit Communication [album], released December 5, 2023

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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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