North of San Francisco, near Point Arena, the sea transforms the beach into a beautiful, constantly evolving mile long sculpture. On the beach, hundreds of wood logs are washed onto the coast by the Pacific Ocean. I discovered this sculpture (or is it an installation?) while beginning work on Toco Madera. Those dense textures created by drift wood of all sizes inspired the from and process of the piece. I realized that my compositional work had to be similar to the role of the sea, which not only placed the objects in textural combinations, but transformed their surfaces and matter to create new complex morphologies.

I sculpted new sounds with the computer from a set of nine wooden percussion instruments recorded in the studio. I wanted to keep the rustic quality of wood sounds, to operate on them respecting their soul. This task was achieved using spectral analysis of the instrumental sounds to extrapolate their salient acoustic qualities, and digital filters to carve their matter. Throughout the piece, these transfigured wood sounds interact with the original instrumental set, performed by two percussion players, to create a multilayered musical space that reflects the textural traits of the natural wooden sculpture.

Toco Madera is the second of a cycle of percussion works exploring what philosopher Valentin Ferdinan calls "materiality" of sound. For this work (as for Métal Hurlant, the first piece of this cycle) a qualitative logic that guided the compositional process was inferred from the acoustic structure of the material used. In Toco Madera music becomes the expression of wood.