Surrounded by valleys and beaches, thickets and stone houses and rocks softened by the tide, the Rance dam is like an anomaly in the Saint-Malo countryside: a model of uprightness and austerity. The roads, the gates, the low walls – everything there is straight, perpendicular, massive and fixed. Every 20 minutes the road rises. The cars wait. Then the road lowers and the cars set off again, in a metronomic rhythm that Tati would greatly appreciate.
These cars, these people in their cars, were watching us engrossed in our work; installing a drum set on this vast, empty granite walkway, hanging mini-amps on belts, placing enough microphones to ensure we could reproduce Ought’s pieces as effectively as possible. They were also extremely tense, upright and resolute, mixing a muted fierceness with a juvenile coolness.
It was as if the four boys had decided to break down the surrounding geometry, to blend with the bubbling of the sea under the dam to mix better with the lines, the grey, the granite and the systematic movements. The violin in dissonance, the guitars spinning on, the voice resolute and reproachful; all of this was a wave, a current held back so long that you have to let it go. The kind of music that leaves you speechless and out of breath. The kind of music that, when it stops, passes the surrounding mass of noise off as silence. The sounds of that metronomic rhythm, of the rigor and power held in a dam.
Translated by Lauren McCracken