A language scholar told me this summer that, in the Hebrew culture, the imagined direction of man in time was reversed. While we in the modern western world see ourselves as moving forward in time, facing the future with the past behind us, the ancient Hebrew mind saw the opposite.
For Israel, the known past that they could see and remember (namely, the faithfulness of Yahweh) was in front of them, and they were daily walking backwards into the unknown future. I don’t know Hebrew yet, but the professor explained that this paradigm impacts Old Testament metaphors, idioms, images, and verbs—along with its perspective for everyday life.
I’ve thought about that image a lot as I’ve launched the Kickstarter campaign for All the Wrecked Light. I’m not facing towards the future of this project—it hasn’t happened yet, it doesn’t exist yet, and I just can’t see what it looks like. What I can face, though, is the past two years of thought and research and writing and performance. I can see the faces of all the individuals who gave of themselves into this work, the photos from the first performance last Holy Week, the video clips from Hutchmoot when we had the privilege to present the songs and poems a second time. I can see the Body of Christ rallied around this from the beginning, their notes and prayers and encouragement, the ebenezers of collaboration and companionship at every turn, the kindness of God to this work of so many hands.
So as I back into whatever future All the Wrecked Light might have, I’m working hard to keep direction the Hebrew way. I want to steward this project well, and if that means a studio album, then I need your help to make it happen. We have five days left in the campaign, and those five days are crucial. I’m asking you to join me in them, looking backwards as we move forwards.
In an effort to face the past and how this project began, I’d like to share with you today a video from my pastor Russ Ramsey, who served as my theology advisor for the project and helped me navigate the depths of Psalm 90—one he loves well. His perspective on the Psalm has been a true gift to me. I also had the chance to interview Jaron Kamin of Cardiff State about their experience composing music for the project and collaborating with me. I hope these pieces are encouraging to you.
[Editor’s note: Today (Monday) only, donors are matching up to $2,150 in pledges to Hannah’s campaign. So if you’d like to give, now is the best time to make an impact! Click here to view Hannah’s Kickstarter page.]
Russ Ramsey on Psalm 90
Interview with Jaron Kamin
Hannah Hubin: How is this project different than other projects you’ve been a part of?
Jaron Kamin: Well, usually we just work with each other to come up with material. A lot of the time with our process, Katherine will bring some lyrics and we will work out the music for it, so coming to a text and needing to bring the music to it is something that I’m comfortable with, however, I’ve never been a part of a project where the work intertwines with so many other artists. Plus, I’ve always wanted to be a part of a concept record and now I get to do that!
What was the creative process like for you?
Your prompts for the general feel of the songs were very helpful. I took that and just spent some time with the whole project’s lyrics and a good bit of time reading through the specific texts you gave us, and just kind of let the music come up. I tend to write from the gut. If it feels right while working with the lyrics, I try to roll with it. The main sort of “cerebral” element for me was bringing the melodic theme from the verse of the first song into the turnaround of the last song, just to tie them together a bit more. Since the settings of the songs are before time and at the consummation of all time, it felt important to carry a musical thread through.
What did it mean to engage the themes of Psalm 90 musically?
There’s a lot happening in the Psalm, and our focus was on some of the more cosmic or ethereal elements. I enjoyed that, but when I finally got to hear the other artists’ work, it brought so much more to the table. I think they captured the grit and honesty of the Psalm so well that it made it such a rich experience.
What is your hope or vision for this project?
I hope that when people hear this they will get to experience the relief of naming the hardship of this life—that it’s real and that it’s seen. It’s seen by God, and he hears us, and in the end, things will be made right to an extent and in a way that we can scarcely imagine. I think listening to these songs and hearing these words is a journey from confusion and even despair into hope and joy. I hope people are able to experience that.