(una carta)

a letter

   Dear X,
a letter is always a conversation with a ghost, as I arrive from the past, and you may have no real existence.
   But ghosts don’t just appear, they also come back, creating a temporal paradox as they are at once a repetition and a unique event. I can not find a better way to introduce my music, through ghosts.
   In this first brief example, La belle indolente, all we listen to are the sonorous traces of an object in motion, that -as we soon find out- it is a ghost, as its returns are always differences, and it’s not present anymore.
   (Play it now, not too loud)

 This object, as you may have guessed, it’s a swing, a good metaphor for listening, as our mind moves back and forth between what we are actually listening to and our memory, where traces rest. That’s one of the ways how we make sense of music.   

   I do not take for granted that time exists and runs in only one direction, in my music the sound objects are the ones that create time, and not the other way around. This absence of rhythmic and temporal continuity creates a music that seems to advance by steps, from instant to instant, making us wonder: and now, ¿what will come next?
   In that sense it is ghost-like. Fear and music are quite similar: both seem to come from elsewhere, unseen. Then our sensibility is sharpened and behind every sound, every articulation, lies a whole network of figures and senses. Listening is also creation of stories, interpretation of signs, even in winter:

   This music, being made of instants, could be named "photographic music", more so because it contains images and figures that unfold in theatrical spaces where the appearance of sound instantly acquires a meaning, a direction. Titles help.
   Composing is about connecting, creating relationships not only between notes but also between the acoustic events that resonate in us and the environment, a sort of imaginary ecology.
   I am convinced that musical language, being rather inextricably embedded in our form of life, has infinite connections with reality so, despite all the attempts to make us believe that music is something abstract, absolute, ideal, triumphant, music is more of a relationship than an object. A special relationship, we´ve all had one.
   As in this piece for solo flute, which is a fable of a shipwreck or the balcony from which to contemplate it. When leaning out, it will not be difficult to discover in the diverse sound articulations all its corresponding imagery: a space created of air velocities, and the rising of the waves.

   In the end the ship sank. So it seems.
   Music always speaks of what disappears, because it is not only about what is sounding but about what lingers, beyond every instant; about what passes through our minds when we listen, following the evolution of sounds that are soon lost. Those traces.
   Only what disappears leaves a trace.
   So in my next example -an orchestral piece- being my music vaguely theatrical, barely formed characters and events (ghosts?) enter and exit the scene. They never manage to impose themselves, rather, they are gestures that pretend to be important, that do not allow themselves to be trapped and at the same time have no depth. Perhaps they speak of us.
   These figures are hardly capable of carrying the temporal discourse as a motif, a theme, the flight of a skirt, the fractals, your lips, the sound spectrum, or anything else would do. Sometimes they don't even repeat themselves and leave only a tinge, the trace I was talking about, a trail in time.
   Listen to the first few minutes, continue if it pleases you (it is a live recording).

   A mysterious language, this music; like the language of the birds or as if you were being seduced by someone telling you a story in an unknown tongue, and you don't understand much but, in time, you begin to make some sense of it.
   Not far from Hermes, who invented the alphabet from the flight of cranes, which, when they fly, form letters.
   This short piece, just a postcard from a lake, is a good example of what I am trying to explain, the waters will tell you:

   Withal, thank you for listening, for reading. Although to give to read something completely intelligible, fully saturated with meaning, would be leaving no room for interpretation or desire. And it's the same for music, as a composer I must create a glade from which you can explore, imagine and complete the meaning of what you hear. Some art, this music, are about what we do not know yet, certainly not a rolling rock.
    To listen is always listening to the other,
even if it is a ghost,

   All the best,
   JM Artero

© 2022 J. M. Artero