Musicians & Chemists

I’ve been contemplating the presence of music in our lives - what does “music” even mean? I sat down with my band members, and we decided to have an open conversation about the way that we perceive music. For some reason, the conversation started off with how each of us came to understand the impact of music, and the ways in which it has informed the way we perceive it now. I was taught how to play the piano in a conservatory, my hands would get slapped every time i got a note wrong - I was taught to read notes like a robot, and if I ever glitched-out, I would get slightly punished for it. I decided to end my time learning there, it felt like the opposite of what music meant for me. During the Lebanese war in 2006 was when i first came to understand the impact of the piano. Bombs would fall from fighter planes almost algorithmically, the echos were bone-jolting. I sat on the piano one afternoon, and played to the sound of the harsh echos. As i played, I started to understand the algorithm of the bombings, the strategy of the combat, which calmed me down - I was able to discover how manufacturing sound helped me re-examine a situation and perceive it a little differently, a little lighter.  I also came to understand my voice during the war. I would sing as I played the piano, and adding that layer of sound seemed to strengthen my re-examining of the situation, it helped me come into terms with what was actually going on, it helped me discover an empathic connection to the chaotic outside. 

We discussed the impact of music, how it brings people closer together, builds a community. But we went even deeper, discovering that music can have the power to manufacture a shift of perception - to be able to step out of our mental space and rediscover another one, a new one - empathy? This got me thinking about Art, and how this concept is also apparent in the gallery space. But why is music something separate to this? Isn’t it the same? Why don’t we see music more often in the gallery space? 

A musician is like a chemist - manufacturing a track is like manufacturing a drug. The only difference is that one works with sound, the other works with substance. Is sound a substance? 

I’ve come to appreciate my identity as an audio-visual artist, the importance of visualization. Sound inspires image, image inspires sound - it’s the way my mind functions. It seems as though i’ve been steering away from combining the two - keeping them in a separate space so that they can be understood on different levels. But why should I do that? Why not allow myself the opportunity to expose that visualization - that all-encompassing combination of sound and image. 

‘Believe in existence spent
To separate us from them
To know that your blood runs thin
Is to live with the truth within’