Pablo Chin – Estrada's graphic methods, Breton's surrealism

After nearly a year of research and immersion into the musical world of Julio Estrada, I could not help but draw connections between Estrada's use of graphics and transcription to compose, and the surrealist thoughts of André Breton as stated in his Surrealist Manifesto.

In surrealist expression, the image is at the center of things, triggered by a “spark” (inspiration) that, based on its beauty (according to Breton’s manifesto), defines the value of the image. The spark, and the image itself reach a higher state of emotion and intensity during states of low consciousness; according to Breton, “[man] cannot chase them away; for the will is powerless now and no longer controls the faculties.” Thus, the challenge is to record as many images as possible while in this state, and in the highest possible resolution. Of these images, Breton said he “could easily trace their outlines. Here again it is not a matter of drawing, but simply of tracing.”

Estrada’s graphic method of composition, developed after Yuunohui, can be thought of as means to trace inner impulses. His primary concern when composing is to capture and express sounds as they occur in his imagination, unfiltered by traditional compositional methods in which intuitive impulses are controlled by rational laws and logic. He attempts to trace inner impulses through drawings that are later transcribed into music notation.

It is Estrada's hope that those who listen to his music will similarly rely on their intuitive faculties, as when he composed it, thus leading to a more creative and edifying listening experience.