Matha Law…? (what if) is a children's book designed around some fantastical questions raised to tickle one’s imagination. It was produced in Beirut in 2008.
Armed with some humor, and borrowing from someone’s dream life, the book asks questions like what if the rooster swallowed a bar of soap or the neighbors hung their laundry on the clouds. What if it rained coloring pencils? What if honey came flowing out of the tap?
Accompanying the book which is authored by Fatima Sharefeddine and illustrated by Hiba Farran is a sound track. This track starts from a melody previously composed for an imaginary musical. The melody’s evolution into the book’s soundtrack was ideal as it was not born as a linear composition but initially imagined to be interrupted by other acts.
Like the illustrations say things that are not written in the text, the sound track adds another layer to the imaginative journey of the book. It emerged around the possible sounds of some fragments in the texts and stories of the book: What would be the sound of a flying elephant? What would be the sound of swimming ants? Sounds of bees kissing kids, a rooster swallowing a bar of soap, a teacher jumping on a rope and birds laughing were imagined to be coming out of the pages of the book and thus constructed its sound track. The resulting soundscape thrives to be real, and acoustic, with little outspoken digital mediation. It includes people, objects and instruments, at times mixed together and at others played out on their own, creating their own track of imagination to complement the journey of the book.
These sounds were all recorded, some in nature (like the bees) and some in-door (like the toilet flushing). In mixing them to create Matha Law’s soundtrack, the attempt is to create the fabric of some harmony made of sound, and not music. In this attempt, resides a tribute to the richness of sound as a language for the imaginary.