Strings of tour dates and electronic music often mean crowd-friendly dance music, but there’s a growing, impassioned audience for more contemplative concert sounds, too. Composer-musicians Lesley Flanigan and Tristan Perich are pulling into the last stop on an extended tour of their work, here in New York Friday at Galapagos Art Space. For many, electronic music, in particular that made with computers, becomes about abstraction. For this duo, electronics become a chance to grow even closer to the tangible, acoustic sound – techniques they share in workshops as well as performances.
And would you believe… antique harpsichord?
In the tracks below, you can hear some of the results. Lesley’s work begins with harsh, crackling ambient sounds, but move into delicate, sung harmonies. Tristan’s work goes another direction entirely, combining his 1-bit electronics with elaborate keyboard textures. Those become a kind of post-minimalist jam; “Dual Synthesis” even begins to recall the composer György Ligeti’s micro-polyphony. Tristan’s harmonic language is inventive, set into abruptly-shifting, asymmetrical phrases and polyrhythms.
Allow yourself to slip deeper into their musical world, and the sounds become increasingly welcome.
I asked the two artists, known under their solo names as well as part of the ensemble Loud Objects, to send us some sounds and notes from the road. Be sure to catch them tomorrow night if you can, and I hope we’ll get more music from them soon, as well, especially with Tristan’s upcoming 1-bit album due soon. (And naturally, with Loud Objects and Handmade Music, we hope to share some of the electronics behind some of their sounds, too.)
Music to hear
Lesley Flanigan: “Snow” (for speaker electronics and voice) from her album Amplifications
Snow [MP3 download]
Lesley Flanigan: “Thinking Real Hard” (for speaker electronics and voice) from her album Amplifications
Thinking Real Hard [MP3 download]
Tristan Perich: “Dual Synthesis” (for harpsichord and four-channel 1-bit electronics) excerpts from live performance at Eliot Street Collective, Denver, CO
Dual Synthesis, excerpts/live [MP3 download]
Tristan Perich: “qsqsqsqsqqqqqqqqq” (for three toy pianos and three-channel 1-bit electronics)
from live performance at Issue Project Room, Brooklyn, NY
qsqsqsqsqqqqqqqqq [MP3 download]
Notes from Tristan and Lesley
We’re on the home stretch of our US tour; we’re sharing a blowout homecoming show with New Amsterdam Records and the NOW Ensemble on December 18th at Galapagos.
The tour has centered on two performances: Tristan’s new composition for antique harpsichord and 1-bit electronics (Dual Synthesis), and Lesley’s work for hand-crafted speaker feedback instruments and voice (Amplifications). We both deal with similar ideas of physicality of electronic sound, treating electric instrumentation as acoustic. Each of our sets has paired traditional instruments (harpsichord and voice) with our own primitive hand-built electronics (1-bit circuits and amplifying feedback circuits). A few of the early shows alternated with Tristan and Kunal Gupta’s noise soldering project, the Loud Objects.
We hit up a multitude of different kinds of spaces, from art galleries in San Francisco, Chicago and Nashville, community-run venues in Providence, St Louis, Denver and LA, colleges like Wesleyan and Ball State, a bar in Milwaukee, to a science museum in Little Rock and a ton of other spaces in between. We also got to debut our new albums: Tristan’s 1-Bit Symphony (which will be officially released by Cantaloupe Music in the Spring), and Lesley’s Amplifications.
It was great to check out the local experimental scenes, and share shows with our favorite musicians along the way, like Joe Grimm, Lucky Dragons, Jib Kidder, Travis Weller and Blevin Blectum. A bunch of people even told us they found out about our work on Create Digital Music.
Oh yeah, we also hosted a couple Loud Objects noise-toy making workshops along the way (you remember how we like to do this :)). One was at Noisebridge in San Francisco and another was at a prep school in Little Rock. We’re hoping to get involved with more schools doing this stuff. You can check out what we’ve been making on loudobjects.com.
Looking forward to finally getting back to NYC!
For more information:
Feel free to forward comments / questions for Lesley and Tristan and I can send them their way for follow-up.
All photos courtesy the artists.