This project’s goal was to create a companion book for a song, like a printed video clip of sorts. Each page of the book represents one bar of the song. The song is made of 72 bars, meaning there will be 72 pages of content.
The book is meant to be read while listening to the song. Because each page illustrates a bar of the song, readers go through the pages in rhythm with the music.
Initially, the book was meant to come with an actual CD to make the song available with the book. After pondering over the best way to make the music available to readers, I decided to go with a dematerialised access to the music by using a QR code. Anyone with a connected device that can read QR codes can listen to the song while holding the book. I find this will reduce waste since no CD will need to be manufactured.
The project’s format is inspired in part by old material supports of music, such as vinyls, cassettes, and CDs. These objects always came with printed artefacts – vinyls sleeves, cassettes inserts and CD booklets –that would either contain art, lyrics, credits, or any other content related to the artist or work. The act of listening to music, especially newly acquired work, was often accompanied by contemplating these secondary, printed works. For the especially dedicated music lovers, this double duty could take the form of elaborate rituals.
The concept is also reminiscent of a childhood memory: children book/vinyl record combos. My mother would put the record on, and we could follow the story in the book as it was narrated on the record. A bell sound would indicate when to turn the page. I don’t remember any of the stories we had, but the notion of going through audio and printed material in sync sort of became a thing.
The song in question is titled cendrier (litt. ‘ashtray’), which I wrote and recorded in early 2022. Even though it has little to do with COVID, it was written in a sort of inexplicable urgency in the wake of the second curfew decreed by the CAQ government. The lyrics took 30 minutes to finalize and the whole thing was recorded in a matter of hours.
Like a lot of the work I make, the song deals with some aspects of addiction. Specifically, it’s a reflection on the permanent state of struggle of the addict, who even after they stopped using for years are drawn to substances misuse. It’s also a meditation on regret and wasted youth. The book aims at creating a visual exploration of the same themes, in sync with the musical and lyrical content.
Formally, the project consists in a multi-signature flat-back binding book. Content was created primarily using digitized prints (relief and intaglio) and photographs, assembled using Photoshop and InDesign. The digitally created content was printed commercially on 140 gsm commercial acid-free paper. The cover is made of book board, covered in black book cloth, adorned with linocut prints.
Page size is 5.5” x 5.5”. The book consists in 5 signatures, with 16 pages/signature, for a total of 80 pages. The book cover is 5.5” x 5.5”. The spine is 5.5” x 0.5625” (9/16”). Once assembled, the book is approximately 5.5” x 5.75” x 0.625”.