About Sarrasin (II)

So I had an almost finished track with a beautiful title and no ending.

Years went by and, one day, I came across a newspaper article about a French writer, named Albertine Sarrazin (another way of spelling sarrasin). The article was a review of her most famous novel, L’Astragale, inspired in facts of her own life.

Albertine’s story was both moving and terrible. A life in perpetual danger. Abused as a child, a prostitute and bank robber in her teens, escaped from jail… and, at the same time, with an unquenchable thirst for literature and art.

After living so dangerously she found a relative peace with her literary success, but died from complications after surgery. She was only 29.

The book has a preface by Patti Smith, and just that preface justifies buying the book. One can vividly imagine Patti’s loneliness in the Brooklyn of the first 70’s, vagabonding the streets, choosing between buying a cheap lunch o spending her little money on a book (L’Astragale), and feeling so identified with that French writer that had died so little ago.

Sarrazin lived her life at such a fast pace and everything ended up so abruptly. I felt like writing an end of the track in contrast with the beginning, with resemblances of the past, peaceful and unsettling at the same time, both requiem and hommage.

About Sarrasin (I)

My desire to write new music is usually triggered by any of these stimuli:

An epiphany
A happy accident
A synesthetic experience
A mundane necessity

With Sarrasin, it was the second case. I was messing around with the arpeggiator of a virtual synthesizer when I stumbled across the first bars. It was like finding a golden coin on the sidewalk. From then on, the mainframe of the track was written almost in real time.

After having the harmony and the structure, what was left to do is what I jokingly call “fill in the blanks”: a sometimes thrilling and many times dreadful job of beat sequencing, synth programming, adding and subtracting, mixing, etc.

I don’t finish a track, I just leave it when I realise that, after a week or two, every new thing I do is erased to go back to the previous square. So I have to live with my current incompetence (or competence, to be positive) and hope for something better in the future; but, in the present day, I must admit that nothing more will be accomplished.

I feel uncomfortable with my music if it doesn’t have a title. It’s like having a newborn baby with no name! Usually the title will come to me quite easily, but this wasn’t the case. So I followed in the footsteps of one of my idols from the 80’s, The Durutti Column:

I looked in the French Revolutionary Calendar.

That day was october 9th. Sarrasin. I fell in love with the word and its resonances.

Nonetheless, I didn’t know how to end the track (to be continued).