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August 5th, 2006
Sat, Aug. 5th, 2006 02:44 pm

Xavier Gautier, Anne Laplantine's husband, dropped by today on his way to Malmo in Sweden (where he's spending a week at the foot of Calatrava's Turning Torso building). He brought me a handwritten letter and CD from Anne, who's keen to repudiate rumours that she's given up music in favour of playing endless games of go, rather as Marcel Duchamp gave up art for chess. Here (translated from French) is what she has to say:

"Bonjour Nick,

you see, I do continue to make music. At least, to think about it. I'm playing go a lot. I adore it. You said in an article that I'm one of those Westerners who become fascinated with Asia. I don't think that's really the case with me. In fact, I adore strategy games. When I was young I spent a lot of time playing with a Rubik's cube, or Patience, or solving mathematical conundrums. I also played chess. But above all, I did a lot of drawing. I adore shapes, games of construction, logic. I think that it was through Lego that I rediscovered drawing. As for Asia, it's far away, and I don't feel that playing go brings me much closer to it.

And music is still there, even if I never make a new album, let's see, things happen by encounters. Rather than Marcel Duchamp, I think often of Dreyer, an important director for me, who stopped making films for eleven years. Then he made Ordet, Jour de Colere, magnificent films. He stopped during the transition period between the silent age and the arrival of the talkies. And I think that he has an extraordinary feel for sound.

I think we're also living now in a transitional period which I'm not sure I can define. All I know is that I feel the need to wait a bit.

There it is, meanwhile I'm liking life in Paris a lot (more than in Berlin), there are lots of cinemas. I don't go to them much but I know they're there and that people are going to see films. There are lots of people, that's what I like so much.

See you soon -- when are you coming to Paris?

Anne

(If you want to put my new pieces on your blog, you can)"

Well, how could I refuse an offer like that? Here's my favourite of the four tracks she gave me:

Anne Laplantine: Spring Won't Find Us (mp3 file, 3.1MB, 3 mins. 26 secs.)

In this song's plaintive call for "clearness, transparence" I can hear exactly the spiritual transformation Anne is describing. It's not silence she's moving towards, but light.

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