Babel Label, £11.99

Review: What Do You See When You Close Your Eyes?, By Moss Project

Audio CD and book of short stories

When the composer and performer Moss Freed finished recording his new jazz album What Do You See When You Close Your Eyes?, he wondered what kind of response it might elicit from the listener, and approached some writers to see if they might put it into words. As a result the album includes a collection of short stories by Colum McCann, Joe Dunthorne, Lawrence Norfolk, Hanan al-Shaykh, James Miller and Naomi Alderman.

Freed believes that his music has a “narrative quality”, and the responses of the authors are fascinating. The Beirut-born author Hanan al-Shaykh wrote about a dinner party, a heroin addict and an “angel”. Joe Dunthorne contributed a poem titled “Freud and Jung ride the Tunnel of Love”. Lawrence Norfolk’s “Caravan”, potters along the A and B roads of the west of England, asking pub quiz questions.

Alderman, who also writes video games, had never written so directly in response to a piece of music before, she tells the Independent on Sunday: “Although I do listen to a lot of ‘running’ music when I’m writing my running game, to get me in the right headspace. And definitely certain scenes in my novels have a connection to certain pieces of music. There’s a bit in The Lessons which will always be tied to Sibelius for me.”

Her method was to listen to the track, “The Bubble”, on repeat over and over in a library until something emerged. “It’s quite a strange, beautiful and mysterious process - just listening and waiting for the fingers to start moving on the keyboard. Like Victorian spiritualists and automatic writing. I don’t 100 per cent know what my piece means but that seems to fit with the mood of the music too - a bit of mystery in it, a combination of optimism and tragedy.”

 

Readers of The Independent on Sunday can “pay what you like” for the digital album until midnight on Monday

‘Listen to the music in your head, stay light, float away’

The Bubble, By Naomi Alderman

There’s a bubble inside her. Like a balloon, about that big. A child’s multicoloured balloon. But not a  balloon, a bubble. Right in the centre of her body, somewhere between womb and stomach. It’s an ordinary bubble made of soap or somesuch. Thinner-than-thin swirling rainbow filament skin. It’s the thing that keeps her so light.

When she’s walking along the street, she can feel the bubble. It’s the thing that makes her feet not quite touch the ground, the engine that keeps the colours moving inside her head. There they go. Every jangle of keys, every shout of passer-by, every roar of a car, every ugly thing turns into those moving rainbows, and so it’s perfectly alright. A motorbike shrieks to a halt to avoid a pedestrian, and the sound of it is  red velvet streamers fluttering in  the breeze.

Shopping falls to the floor, and  the crunch of broken glass is blue ice crystals sparkling. The angry man swears, but bright yellow gerberas stream from his lips, rising up into the air. So she’s fine, she’s just fine.

The thought crosses her mind  that at some point this bubble inside her abdomen, somewhere between womb and stomach, is likely to burst. That’s what bubbles do, after all. They can’t last  forever, and then where will she be? There’s a kind of danger there, roaring and violent. Something right there in the centre of her body. Something that happened. The bubble says: don’t think about it. Listen to the music playing in your head, stay light, float away, don’t come back down.

Some other part of her, very  far away, says: you’ll have to come back in the end. This music can’t last forever. Don’t you  remember the wires, that knotted self, the various kinds of damage  you have already caused to yourself? Don’t you remember what’s happened?

No, says the bubble. No no no. Everything is fine. Nothing has gone wrong in either my womb or my stomach. I haven’t lost anything, and I certainly didn’t make it happen myself. I’m light. So very light. Look at the sky, so full of clouds, each one pearlescent-pink or glass-green or bottle-blue or vivid-violet. Look at the sky. Float up to it on that bubble. Don’t look down. 

Naomi Alderman’s latest novel The Liar’s Gospel is published in paperback by Viking, £8.99

The Bubble by Moss Freed by The Independent on Mixcloud

Moss Freed and his band will be performing at the London Literature Festival on Friday 24th May and Joe Dunthorne, Naomi Alderman and Lawrence Norfolk will l be reading their stories

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test