new photo book brings to life the space between the music of thundercat, rza, kendrick lamar, outkast and more

November 30, 2017
154 Picks

Ghost notes are the commas that allow you to do more with the sentence, like fills, it’s what distinguishes the time signature. Purdie was the master. Clyde Stubblefield had the fastest left hand ever. Ghost notes are what happens between basics.



Buenaventura, Valle del Cauca, Colombia. September 2009

Photographer B+ has been playing with the greats for decades, documenting and illuminating the spaces between the music. His new book Ghostnotes is a visual mixtape. It ditches narrative or context, instead drawing visual links between producers, DJs, rappers, old jazz musicians, audiences, and neighborhoods. The image descriptions are saved for the end. It’s clear B+ would prefer you don’t look at it at all, but if you must know, here it is.

Thundercat, Los Padres National Forest, California, US. 2015

B+ avoids photos of artists performing, instead focusing on the ghost notes. Publicity stills flow into casual backstage shots. Stacks of records and stacks of records and stacks of records give way to closeups of the hands of old jazz musicians. In one sequence, B+ skips from a citadel in Jordan to street art of a Pharoah in LA to Jay Electronica at the Pyramids of Giza to the house where J Dilla lived.

Al McKibbon, Stein on Vine, Hollywood, California, US. 1999 / Havana, Cuba. 1998

Some of the most striking images aren’t of musicians, but of the craftspeople and vendors that make music possible. Racks of drums, multi-colored arrays of accordions, collectors and sellers of rare vinyl. The continuum of hip-hop and R&B are on full display on these pages. It’s a celebration of the multi-generational collaboration that endlessly recycles old sounds into new ones, in bold uncompromising depth.

Ghostnotes comes out December 5th. Pre-order it here!