Created on Sunday, 19 August 2012 Written by Scott MertensIn three movements, the musical offering is ambitious, emotionally moving, artistically generous, and wonderful to listen to (try headphones).
Artist: Derek Webb
Label: Provident-Integrity Distribution
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Duration (music): 9 tracks, 36:49
Music by Derek Webb
Paintings by Scott Erickson
Photography by Jeremy Cowart
Self-Sabotage film direction by Scott Brignac
The interpretation of a written work into a musical composition is difficult and open to debate. This is made much more difficult, if not impossible, when the written work is iconic. Such is Derek Webb’s endeavor to interpret the Lord’s Prayer into an instrumental work as found in his 2011 project, Feedback. Not only has Webb successfully created this musical adventure, but he collaborated with a painter, a photographer, and a film maker to create related impressions in visual formats to accompany his musical interpretation.
In three movements, the musical offering is ambitious, emotionally moving, artistically generous, and wonderful to listen to (try headphones).
“Our Father In Heaven” enters our listening space deeply and slowly with mesmerizing synth taken over by deep, repetitive bass and electric piano. Highlighted by fuzzy percussion, a chorus and guitar builds emotion in the background. This feels like praise on a higher level.
“Hallowed Is Your Name” smoothly mixes in from its predecessor to melt into the next segment of the movement showing both reverence and awe.
“Your Kingdom Come” is piano lead displaying assurance and pride much like the title track to Chariots of Fire.
“Your Will Be Done On Earth As In Heaven” is in stark contrast to the rest of the movement. Deep and persistent ringing of a church bell surrounded by strings gives way to involved and beautiful acoustic guitar meanderings. Listen for the delicate yet sharp percussion in the background. This is a treat! There is movement and energy in this song; a winner. The ending of this offering brings us down to earth as you hear a recording of a man leaving home, entering his car and driving with radio on which transports us to the hectic world we live in, contrary to "His will be done as in heaven."
“Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread” transitions from the last song thanks to a smooth display of strong electric guitar with fuzz and echo joined by electric drums and mild bass. Again reminding us of our daily life on this earth.
“Forgive Us Our Debts As We Forgive Our Debtors” has a melody sounding much like a harp wisping us away on the cloud of a dream, as if our debts are indeed forgiven and we feel true freedom once again – not bound by our earthly chains.
“Lead Us Not Into Temptation But Deliver Us From Evil” is a somber piano solo with chorus and strings followed by the recording of the man leaving his car and entering into a public establishment reminding us of the temptations surrounding all of us in our daily life.
“For Thine is:”
“The Kingdom” has a heavy synth beat with backing piano and distortion - it is a big, big
kingdom with many moving parts!
“The Power,” there is a powerful synergy emitting from this song symbolizing God’s power
“The Glory Forever and Ever,” with soft high notes and deep piano/string movement this
song displays the endless time His glory will reign.
“Amen,” the only vocal piece of the collection, has first Webb then others joining in chorus - "Amen," to end the prayer and the piece. A more appropriate ending could not be imagined.
Both the paintings and pictures have a separate work for each movement, nine each in total to match the number of songs in the package. Scott Erickson provided all paintings which leverage combinations of circles, colors, and added graffiti to depict the emotion in each movement’s component. Jeremy Cowart produced all photographs with a cubist touch. The pictures appear to capture emotion with color and structure in the form of cubes as if a larger picture was greatly blown up to show the minutest portion of a main study.
The video, Self-Sabotage (In 3 Directions), is a collection of 3 short pieces composed for Feedback by filmmaker Scott Brignac, available for digital download only. Inspired by Webb’s instrumental depictions of the Lord’s Prayer in Feedback, the video’s story lines represent examples of the prayer at work in our lives through forms of suffering and resultant hope. With only the entire soundtrack of Feedback (no narration and sans the audio clip of a man leaving home / driving car / entering bar) to add direction, the video clips moving from story to story across timelines add necessary movement which colors the emotion of the underlying message. The video accompanied by the soundtrack immediately impress of sadness but rescue with hope. The video sticks to the viewer and potently makes its mark on the memory. The conclusion “Amen” provides a visual summary encompassing the meaning of the word – "so be it," a strong approval of or support for an assertion, hope, etc.
Emotionally driven is the only phrase to describe this package. Initially, the listener / viewer might wonder if this would be their rendition. As one exposure becomes multiple you may find yourself asking why you never felt this emotion in relation to The Lord’s Prayer in the past. Delightful, thought provoking, a true journey – just what art should offer. If this reviewer finds a flaw in the package, it is only for a lack of imagination. There is so much here we may have taken for granted, particularly when you consider how long we have embraced the Lord’s Prayer in our own two dimensional framing.
Scott S Mertens