I would like to share the gift of scent and sound with you!
Music has been a big part of my life, I used to love the thrill of being on stage, of singing my heart out and of writing songs.
Now another dream has become number one. That’s not a bad thing, clearly! But I can’t let go of what I have loved before, so I’ve decided to merge the two. Without taking any value away from either, I want to use our sense of smell and our love for most things musical to create a wonderful, harmonious marriage. (My scent/music collection will one day become a reality, I promise you that)
The term ‘Smound’ was coined by Daniel Wesson along with his colleague Donald Wilson. They found that after tracing the activity of tubercles of mice, especially when subjected to both odour and tone, there were stronger responses. (this is me making it sound MUCH simpler than it is, sorry science!)
Either way, the experiment was inspired by the concept of synesthesia, which I think many people can relate to. Have you ever felt something tingle with your other senses when you’re experiencing something visually for example? I guess that’s what they mean when the ‘colour’ of an aura is described for example. That’s how I associate some smells; with sounds.
Furthermore, the person who came up with the entire concept of merging scent and sound in the brain was the great Septimus Piesse. He was responsible for the highly informative The Art of Perfumery. He identified odor molecules as having a particular note associated with them.
Here is an article that discusses his theory further: http://www.1902encyclopedia.com/P/PER/perfumery.html
As a result of his findings, the perfume industry started describing scent on the basis of the music scale, ie. notes. In what he described as an odophone, he compared sharp, attention grabbing scents with higher pitched notes and heavy scents with lower notes (think dark, heavy bass.)
I had been thinking of linking music and scent together since before going to France actually. Upon reading his ideas while I was there, I knew I could do something that worked within that concept. Scent, as we know, is really difficult to write about (kudos to those who can!), it is, as Diane Ackerman describes it; ‘the mute sense, the one without words.’ (her book is always a point of reference for me, read it!)
Since it is so difficult to describe in most ways, perfumers have found that creativity, intuition and imagination is key. Creating a perfume musically somehow, some way is such an inspiring idea.
Just think about it! Imagine trying to recreate the sound of Sade’s voice (sandalwood, a drop of methyl iso eugenol and a hint of rose: smooth, dusty, intoxicating) or even the sound of talking shakers (I just bought a couple and I’m obsessed) black pepper! ionones! cardamom! limmeeee! maybe some incense too!?
It’s all about what you do with what you have I guess. Making perfume is like jenga. Some parts can be taken out, some can’t (just like in a composition, song, beat, whatever!) But it’s all in the wrist, and the ability to see and feel what is essential and what isn’t.
I say embrace music, embrace scents, embrace life, by mixing and matching and learning and getting it all out there. You’re good to go!
p.s. methyl iso eugenol in a synthetic aroma chemical in the spicy family that smells like old books! It needs to be used in moderation, but when it is used right, it’s smells rich, dusty, slightly cold and full of history!
The Montreal Musuem of Fine Arts is a place I frequent often. I saw a wonderful Exhibition on Cuba a few years ago, and the interactive Yves Saint Laurent exhibition a couple of months later, just to name a few.
Currently, there is a Jean-Paul Gaultier exhibition on display. I decided to check it out a few weeks ago. It was thought-provoking, interesting, wacky and at times, random. Just like JPG!
One thing I didn’t see much of was his fragrances. It makes sense that there would be an emphasis on his fashion and the inspiration behind it all. Maybe it’s just me, but I wish the actual exhibition was scented. Just to bring about another perspective and to compliment all his great work. All I kept thinking, was “whoa! I wish I could smell Le Male right now, I mean the picture of the ad is right here!”
Either way, I’m here to tell you about the man behind many of JPG’s fragrances.
Francis Kurkdjian is a powerhouse. A man who describes his style as having no style, meaning he is versatile, unable to stay within the box (lucky for us!) and always pushing boundaries.
His career as a perfumer has been an inspiration to me. He is now a member of an elite group of perfumers who have worked hard to get to where they are today. Working for Quest, after finishing his studies at ISIPCA, he has impressed with his ability to think quick, giving us proof of his raw talent and his determination.
He is the mastermind responsible for Le Male which was an instant success and continues to be a popular scent among men now. It has an undeniable staying power and has been synonymous with the JPG brand for years. Can’t hurt that it smells delicious too (bergamot, lavender, orange blossom, vanilla, cinnamon and sandalwood- I’m here to set the record straight: yes, women love it.)
JPG had asked Kurkdjian to create a masculine scent that didn’t correspond with what was out at the time; strong orientals for example, heady, heavy and opulent (think Opium pour Homme.) He created an a-typical scent that pushed boundaries and varied from the norm, all at the age of twenty-five!
He created Narciso Rodriguez for Him, a few for Kenzo and Juliette Has a Gun (Lady Vengeance anyone?) as well as the divine Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile alongside the great Francoise Caron (she is probably most well-known for creating the amazing, too good for words Ombre Rose for Jean-Charles Brosseau, among many other incredibly crafted creations.)
Most importantly, he has come out with his own bespoke line Maison Francis Kurkdjian. This is his crowning achievement. Both Lumiere Noire pour Homme and pour Femme are so well done, it’s hard not to see what all the fuss is about. If you’re a fan of the Mediterranean and unisex scents, then Absolue pour le Matin is for you and if you’re willing to go darker, then Absolute pour le Soir is just breathtaking.
If you get a chance to smell any of these, let me know! It’s such a treat, and I hope to one day meet him in my perfumed journey. It is always so inspiring to see someone like him out there, doing his thing, and bringing so much light into our scented experiences. So well done Mr. Kurkdjian, we eagerly wait for more of your scentscapes!
You know how sometimes you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, then something comes to you, just at the right time, exactly when you need it? Well…
I was lucky enough to go to the annual Osheaga Music Festival in Montreal on Saturday. I wasn’t even planning on going because of ticket prices and whatnot, then I got a call from one of my best friends telling me to get ready to leave in an hour. Bonus points for spontaneity!
I try to go every year, for the mere fact that it feels so good to be in the midst of live music. It changes you. The surrounding environment is invigorating, and totally random (this year, it was a dude in a zebra jumpsuit, last year it was another dude in a fluorescent yellow thong over his pants…whyyyy!?)
There’s usually an emphasis on good music, a large selection of bands (all kinds) coming together to play for the masses, everyone is there for the same reason. To bask in the glory that is music. People decked out in their best hippie chic outfits, just being young and having a good time.
The highlight for me was probably Sia. If you haven’t heard of her, please lend her your ears! She oozes soul, it’s like it needs to escape from her body somehow. She played a couple of songs that were so dear to my heart Soon We’ll Be Found and Breathe Me (check the videos out, they’re both fantastic.) I knew that there was a reason I was there. AND I was with one of my favourite people no less. That’s another +1! on my list for feeling better. On top of that, she was amazing live, just as good as in her recordings, that says something, especially in a world filled with auto-tune.
Then there was Lupe Fiasco, I’m not that big of a fan. But guess what? This guy can pull it off live! And I am now converted.
What struck me most about him is what he said towards the end of his set. He had mentioned how countries have no borders. Reminding us that we are all equals, and that we’re all here for the same reason. And it put some things into perspective for me. What he said was reassuring to a degree, because we all feel like we’re out in this world alone sometimes, and every now and then, we need that outside voice to remind us that we’re not.
Meanwhile, during this whole experience, the smells and sounds of the park seemed to merge as one. It was aware of my surroundings entirely, and believe me, it didn’t smell pretty!
So If I could describe Osheaga in terms of scent, the festival would be a blend of patchouli (and LOTS of it), some orris concrete, black pepper, some random dirty aldehydes like C7 and C11 Lenic, a bunch of Iso E Super, Helional and some white flowers like maybe a hint of Jasmine (Indol and Cumin Seed Oil for B.O) and Lily of the Valley. Oh and pee (ick)..ooh ooh and maybe some Lentisque for that, again, dirty, sort of green cigarette touch. Total stank, but the good kind!
All in all, a successful day, wish I could have been there for more. I urge you to go to concerts in your cities, there’s nothing like some live music to help you feel better. It’s totally therapeutic. Oh and if you’re ever lucky enough to go to one of ODO7’s concerts, then you’ll get to experience both scent and sound, which is just pure awesomeness.