A performance of Frederick R.C. Clarke's hymn, for Bang the Bore X: Zone of Alienation at the Hansard Gallery in Southampton, 06.08.11.
From the programme:
J. Robert Oppenheimer’s infamous quotation from the Bhagavad Gita, commenting on his own role in the Manhattan Project, is perhaps the first and most elegant example of the religious awe that underpins and confuses many of our preconceptions regarding nuclear energy: “Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”
To many, radiation is the Absolute Evil of fundamentalist fears, an invisible ‘unnatural’ force onto which we project our superstitions and false mythologies. And yet it is all around us; it is the light from our Sun, it powers our cities, diagnoses and treats our sickness, cooks our food, enables our communication networks, catalogues our history and maps our DNA. The understanding of radiation confers a godlike power to create, heal and explore, yet our popular culture overflows with images of annihilation, extinction, mutation, cancer, decay and toxicity.
Radiation is the rampaging Godzilla, the poisoner of Captain Spock, the Armageddon unleashed by Skynet. But the naïve Judeo-Christian dualism between hope placed in technology and progress and the fear of radioactive destruction is perhaps most fully realised in the primary coloured pantheons of American comic books, in which the Old Gods return with new names and terrible new powers to lay waste to our world.
This performance of Frederick R.C. Clarke’s peculiar 1971 hymn God of Concrete, God of Steel fuses field recordings made in one of the derelict cooling towers of Thorpe Marsh Power Station, improvisation and sacred singing against the backdrop of pop culture iconography. The lyrics, with their undercurrent of energy utopianism and proclamations of a “God of atom… God of physics,” are available below for anyone wanting to join in worship.
Ganbatte is one of the solo projects of Leeds-based musician Seth Cooke, in which voice, drums and voice-controlled synthesizer form the basis for planned, unplanned and badly planned improvisation and song-deconstruction/destruction.
God of Concrete, God of Steel - Frederick R.C. Clarke
God of concrete, God of steel,
God of piston and of wheel,
God of pylon, God of steam,
God of girder and of beam,
God of atom, God of mine:
all the world of power is thine.
Lord of cable, Lord of rail,
Lord of freeway and of mail,
Lord of rocket and of flight,
Lord of soaring satellite,
Lord of lightning’s flashing line:
all the world of speed is thine.
Lord of science, Lord of art,
Lord of map and graph and chart,
Lord of physics and research,
Word of Bible, Faith of church,
Lord of sequence and design:
all the world of truth is thine.
God whose glory fills the earth,
gave the universe its birth,
loosed the Christ with Easter’s might,
saves the world from evil’s blight,
claims us all by grace divine:
all the world of love is thine.
Loading more stuff…
Hmm…it looks like things are taking a while to load. Try again?