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The Switch

from The Last Things [ep] by John Harvey



As a child, I derived an illicit pleasure from the crackle and spark of an arcing light switch as it was toggled off and on rapidly. The two-note, down and up, alternation of the musical motif, along with the playful refrain, honours the memory of that experience. The piece also reflects an interest that I had in simple composition and the repetition of small sound modules over a short span of time.


from The Last Things [ep], released April 23, 2012
Personnel: John Harvey

Instrumentation: Columbus semi-hollow electric guitar, Akai 4000DB Mk II reel-to-reel tape recorder, and Sanyo Cassette Tape Recorder MR-410 adapted to play tape loops

Context: Recorded in Abertillery, UK in June 1977. Remastered in Aberystwyth, UK in March 2012


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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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