By Bethany Younge
Lesley Flanigan Preview for Wednesday, 4/27 at Constellation
“In a way, Hedera is a traveling piece. It simply moves from point A to point B, and before you know it, 20 minutes have gone by.”
Wednesday, go lose yourself in Lesley Flanigan’s live performance of her latest album, Hedera. The album creates a strong sensation of being propelled by some unearthly force, as intricate layers of voice and speaker-noise carefully weave time. Drawing influence from Steve Reich’s later music, Hedera employs tonal drones in combination with a constant pulse to gradually and deceptively move the listener from one world to another.
Hedera is a flexible and perceptive entity. Flanigan’s performance utilizes improvisational elements that sensitively take the spatial design into consideration. While she has a clear sense of the compositional trajectory, her speaker-feedback troupe is often erratic in nature.
“I usually have a sense of how I’d like a performance to unfold. Sometimes it works out that I follow that road map almost exactly as I envisioned it. But there are so many variables that affect how my instruments sound: size of space, material of the surface I’m on, the sound system I’m using, audience location, etc.”
Flanigan’s feedback-speaker instruments are her own creations. With a background in sculpture, she finds old and new speakers and modifies them to suit her compositional purposes. Her speaker ensemble varies vastly in terms of age, quality, size, and value – each having their own story to tell. Flanigan conceives of her speakers as a choir of human voices. Every speaker is provided with the same amplifying circuit and casing so that the speaker’s true soul is exposed.
“It’s just a thoughtful experience for me to decide that I want to make a speaker part of my ensemble of feedback instruments, and to build it an enclosure that becomes its new home.”
A journey not to be missed!