RRBVEƎTNƧOA - CD John Harvey
In 2003, a wax cylinder containing a unique recording of a short speech by Evan Roberts, the charismatic figurehead of the Welsh religious revival of 1904-5, was deposited at the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, Aberystwyth. The cylinder had been broken into eleven pieces. After a painstaking restoration by an American dentist, it was able to be played during the centenary of the revival. Against the insistent noise of surface clicks and crackles and the rhythm of the stylus as it ploughs through the spinning furrows, the febrile voices of Roberts and a small choir of male singers are discernable. A digitized version of the recording was prepared by a sound studio in Pasadena, California and the British Library, London.
R R B V E Ǝ T N Ƨ O A is the first release in The Aural Bible series. It is a sonic art intervention into, and engagement with, this sound document. The work (divided into twelve pieces) further extends the process by which Evan Roberts’ voice has been subjected to audio recording and playback technologies. The wax cylinder’s sound is re-recorded, recomposed, rearticulated, sampled, and transcribed. In this way, the audio material is fractured once again. The project is a collaboration between The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales and the School of Art, Aberystwyth University. The CD album is released by, and available from, the National Library of Wales.
The album was made possible with funding from the Arts Council of Wales.