Lesley Flanigan on John Cage: John Cage did a marvelous job articulating the values of what I believe are the inherent instincts of anyone who truly loves sound…in particular, the belief that any sound can be musical.
Live at LEAP 2011, Berlin
Bent Festival 2009
Expand/Release, live at St. Paul's Chapel, NY
Sound art:Snow and Thinking Real Hard
John Cage did a marvelous job articulating the values of what I believe are the inherent instincts of anyone who truly loves sound…in particular, the belief that any sound can be musical. I am grateful because I would rather be listening than explaining why such a belief matters.
As I internalize it, John Cage saw "music" as a kind of shape we can give sound. John Cage heard and shaped musical experiences using all kinds of sounds including pianos, water, radios, and silence. As a physical, object-like material, sound from any source can be given musical form using compositional structure, and this structure does not need to be a traditional arrangement of notes, chords, rhythms or melodies. Meaningful compositional structures of music can rely on many other forms of process and intentionality. It is only through the act of listening to a composition of sound unfold, that both performers and their audiences hear music.
When I perform, I listen. My sound sources are not important in themselves….I work to sculpt the material of all the sounds around me, whether they're coming from traditional instruments or electronic circuits I build myself. I work with instruments I know well (my voice), and with instruments I will never have complete control over (speaker feedback); I listen to noise, silence, and all the artifacts of my process. At the heart of my music is a intricate exchange of sounds suspended between lines of intention and improvisation, and a request for my audience listen as closely as I do.
Live at Leap, 2011, Berlin
Performance at Bent Festival 2009, NYC
Live video of the recording of Glacier
Lesley Flanigan: Expand/Release, live at St. Paul's Chapel in New York
Live performance with TRANSIT ensemble River to River Festival at St. Paul's Chapel NYC Music for speaker feedback instruments, ensemble, and voice.
In this semi-improvised piece, musicians follow memorized instructions that lead them through a process of performing my speaker feedback instruments, their own instruments, and voice. I am part of the performance as both performer and composer.
Speaker Synth (2007) Wood, found speakers, hand made electronics
Lesley Flanigan: Snow (speaker feedback instruments + voice)
Lesley Flanigan: Thinking Real Hard (speaker feedback instrument + voice)
Artist and vocalist Lesley Flanigan (New York) approaches electronic sound with a sculptural method based on materials of noise and tone. Surrounded by clusters of wires, speakers, and microphones, she choreographs the sounds of speaker feedback against her own singing voice, constructing music that embraces the transparency of process. ArtsCriticATL writes, “Flanigan’s performance comes loaded with philosophical ideas, often blurring the boundaries among music, noise, sculpture and performance art.” Amplifications, her album of music for speaker electronics and voice, was called a “snow storm of a record” by New Music Box. Her work has been presented at venues and festivals internationally, including Sonar (Barcelona), the Guggenheim Museum (New York), ISSUE Project Room (Brooklyn), TransitioMX (Mexico City), the Roskilde Museum of Contemporary Art (Denmark) and .HBC in Berlin.