Of all the human senses, the ability to hear may be the most abstract sense we possess. From a song’s tonal qualities to its wavelengths and frequencies, music presents inexplicable emotions and feelings. This is probably the primary reason we struggle to describe our favorite songs but listen to them incessantly. Music possesses the sublime effect of catapulting a listener to a place and time, summoning both imagination and memory. The completed work of the musician-composer finds it’s way into our psyche and through our bodies to conjure up a narrative, a history, a movement, or a story.

San Francisco–based artist David Molina has the uncanny ability to make music out of anything. He draws inspiration from the urban landscape and the refuse most people discard as nonfunctional and obsolete,

David Molina

breathing new life and music into them. Not only does he make music, but he also leads the listener into an alternative way of experiencing life. Through multiple and careful listens, it is easy to become entranced with the music he produces. He also believes in collaboration and has produced music with various Bay Area groups: Ghost & Strings, Transient, Impuritan, and Earthlike.

After an engaging studio visit with Molina, you’ll learn the true art of music and instrument construction. The collection of found objects and instruments create Molina’s signature eclectic style and are used to form soundtracks for everything from theatrical productions to art installations. Molina uses found materials to create sounds: motherboards, wood, metal, discarded vintage instrument pieces, plastic, strings, piping, bottles, rope, light fixtures, and wires. Essentially, if something can make a sound, Molina has probably used it in one of his instruments or music compositions.

Molina has an incredible sense of connecting with the world through finding inspiration in everyday objects, and his most recent projects showcase his other ability: drawing a diverse audience. Molina worked with instrument builder Garrett La Fever, video artist Mickey Tachibana, and curator Hanna Regev to showcase the interactive artwork “Memory Web” at the 2012 San Francisco Fine Art Fair. While the art world may be new territory for the artist, Molina’s passion and 17 years of experience in theatrical productions, sound design, and scoring original compositions for artists such as Victor Cartagena, Violeta Luna, director Roberto Varea, and filmmaker Anna Geyer Molina show his mental agility, expertise, and talent within both traditional and experimental musical formats. He has certainly proven himself to be an extremely multitalented and multifaceted musician and composer.

Another exciting work among Molina’s many projects is “Homage to the Musee Mecanique,” a collaboration with painter Susie Valdez, for which Molina took objects he found in San Francisco streets and junkyards to create dynamic, intricate music boxes and instruments. Aside from creating sound, his art practice entails a combination of creative bursts within the planning process. Allowing new things to come out of the building process itself is characteristic of Molina’s work. The construction and inevitable playing of his instruments—which double as sculptures—is one of the ways he leaves an indelible mark in the art community.

His highly impressive work doesn’t just create an ambience for the listener and participant; it is also how he uses sound to translate complex and abstract ideas, intersecting issues of identity, culture, race, and gender. Molina’s fluency in playing multiple stringed pieces such as the cello, Burmese harp, flute, autoharp, and Richard Waters instruments add to his phenomenal art and music-making practice. It is highly likely that if Molina was given red solo cups and paper clips, he could easily create the soundtrack to someone’s life.

See David Molina’s work showcased at Jan. 18-Feb. 18
ASTERISK SF GALLERY 3156 24th St. San Francisco CA
Learn more about David Molina on his website www.drmsound.com


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This article was published in:
Music Issue - Released January 2013
Issue 1 / Version 3 | Buy print copy here
Issue 11
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