The Aural Bible Series


The Aural Bible series deals with the Judaeo-Christian scriptures as the written, spoken, and heard word. It explores the cultural articulations and adaptations of the Bible within the Protestant tradition, especially. This is with a view to engaging a critical, responsive, and interpretive intervention with aspects of its sound culture.


2016

The Bible in Translation / Y Beibl Mewn Cyfieithiad

 

The works that comprise The Bible in Translation are designedly interpretive and responsive. Broadly speaking, they represent a hermeneutic enquiry that seeks to sympathically elucidate the sources’ semantic content, refocus the evident content, and reveal its subcutaneous significances. In so doing, the compositions intensify, identify, and clarify ideas contained therein, so that the original material may speak of more than its intended meaning. This is not with a view to evaluating, theorizing, or arriving at any conclusions (however they may be construed). Rather, the aim, in part, has been to develop a body of creative engagements with the Bible and its sonic cultures that might inform those disciplines, such as biblical studies and religious studies, which are dedicated to a systematic and deductive analysis.

Disc 1
Image and Inscription is a response to the narrative presented in Exodus 19.1–34.45. It relates the Israelites’ arrival at Mount Sinai amid thunder, lightning, darkness, and earthquakes; the establishment of God’s covenant with his people; his delivery of the Decalogue, laws and ordinances, and repeated prohibition against image making; the Israelites’ fashioning and idolatrous worship of the golden calf; their repentance and God’s punishment of the sin; Moses’ and the elders’ visions of, and encounter with, God; the patriarch’s prolonger confrontation with him on the mount; and, finally, Moses’ radiant return to the people.

Disc 2
The works on the second disc were composed and recorded between 2010 and 2015. Like Image and Inscription, they are settings of written and spoken biblical texts. However, the material for the compositions is far broader, encompassing also aural recordings of scripture reading, teaching, preaching, ministry, radio interviews, music, and the paraphernalia of worship. The endeavour has been to collaborate with and redirect the material to create sound works that remain faithful to the source while extending the boundaries of its original intent.

The Bible in Translation project extends beyond the bounds of this album in four ways. The first is a 57-part sound suite entitled The Floating Bible: Miracle of the Risen Word. Seven hours long, the composition could not be contained within the frame of the double CD. The second is an exhibition of 23 paintings, drawings, and digital works – collectively entitled The Bible in Translation and the third project in The Pictorial Bible series – was first held at the School of Art Galleries, Aberystwyth University (February 16–March 20, 2015). In terms of ideation, process, and method, the exhibition is the visual analogue of the sound works. Thirdly, there is an album of bonus material. And, finally, there is a website describing the rationale for each sound work. (See ‘Guide to compositions’, below.)

The project is a collaboration between The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales and the School of Art, Aberystwyth University. The 2CD album is released by, and available from, the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.

National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, 2016. GENCD8003

The album was made possible with funding from the Arts Council of Wales.

Sound clips

CD insert

Guide to compositions

      

2015

R R B V E Ǝ T N Ƨ O A

 

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 extant 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 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, Aberystwyth.

National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, 2015. GENCD8002

The album was made possible with funding from the Arts Council of Wales.

Sound clips

CD insert

Transcripts of compositions

Aural-Bible-I_logo1   NSSAW   ACW logo white on black portrait