How does one make music visible?

I replace air vibration with water diffusion. Then I pick a guitar string on paper. Or two. I hit the fibers of paper: it resonates and ink spreads out.

As with music, time is of the essence. I have to work quickly before the water dries. Sometimes, it's the opposite : I have to wait a little bit until some of the ink is dried and I can apply the next notes. Silence and waiting is part of the music.

I'm searching for my sound. Experimenting. Getting familiar with techniques and finding out what I can do with this movement, that gesture. As in music, it originates in the body. I'm playing rudiments first. Singles strokes. Practising simple riffs. After that, I can move on to whole songs: vibrations, rythm, melodies all at once.

Water is like air: invisible on paper the paper and yet, I'm able to shape it in a way that does something new and visible.

Fragile shapes appear after drying. In drumming, ghost notes are subtil sounds, played at a softer volume than the main accents. On the snare particularly, they help building groove and identity, even if you don't hear them all, or not completely. Like translucid traces of white, silver and gold keeping memories of sounds that were and are not anymore.

I lure guitar strings away from the guitar neck. These straight lines that move in the tiniest waves when they're plucked, I curve and queer them on paper. I make circles and unexpected lines to express something else. The resonance of silent strings is a mysterious vibration.

I hit a single point repeatedly, until the paper breaks beneath. I broke sticks before but never drums heads. This surface is more fragile. It's messier in the studio too: drops of black ink fly in the air and spread on the ground around the paper. Like little notes of music lost in the atmosphere but falling back again.

Crossing sticks over the drum heads to make the metal ring is one of the first tricks you learn on the drums to make the snare sound different. Softer notes, happier notes.

Once I took the stick, dipped the tip in black ink.
Then drew lines over the paper. Crossed lines. I remember I was angry that day.
A wooden drums stick tracing a dark cross which used to be made of wood itself.
And instead of the snare rim, it would meet the remnants of a tree: a quiet  sheet of paper.

Stay tuned for more to come.


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