Alexandra Spence | Waking, She Heard The Fluttering
Begin, the intro here is based on a simple bent in frequency that flows right into Bodies in Place. Flowing watery sounds, breathy vocal treatments, and intricately elusive field recordings all meld organically together like a gorgeous soup. This hums with tiny actions and broken edits. The curious coverart collage hints at what you might experience, lots of active folding and emerging sounds that take flight with the inclusion of merry bird chirps and other tinkering micro percussion. Flutter away.
“…My work is led by my materials. I begin with a sound that I like. The feel of this sound will then suggest to me another. And so on, until a form is suggested, and then following the form, perhaps an overarching concept will reveal itself. I rarely begin with a concept. In this way making music, sound, art is a kind of working-through, exploring the timbral and tactile qualities of a sound as a form of phenomenological learning.”
On Bodyscan you can almost hear the depth of breath amid a percolating low rumble, so minimal and weightless. Spence orchestrates the most minor tones with a just-beyond-reach warble that seems to play hide n’ seek. All these initial short tracks run under four minutes, so you are only catching scant glimpses of a moderated atmosphere that factors in wind, peculiar effects and collaged editing – all dealing in a slippery, visceral sensibility. That stops with the understated whispers on Sleep In Nothingness, as a single voice splits in two, speaking in poetic bits and pieces. The pitch is scaled, running high and low, its a tonal lullaby that is more hypnotic than siesta. The hint of throat singing, and Eastern traditions seep in, overlapping the crackle and hiss. The circular replications, like rotating around a Gamelan bell phases in and out as voice samples dreamily are present and fade.
Waking, She Heard The Fluttering is, in fact, a balance between states of cognizance and slumber – a constantly fluctuating dreamstate where voices, and tones are like home movie travelogues. Passing villages, news broadcasts, wildlife mix generously with sweet tones and mediated pitch along the way. The whole record runs the gamut between natural ambience and the interruption of our daily lives. Spence seems to showcase the imbalance in this dichotomy. And just as stealthy as our servitude to that outside our general parameters is, she manages to find just as many tranquil bits to engage the psyche into a peaceful place – even if for only a short while – flickering with cause and effect.
THE LAST NERVE: When this record is in its most cosmic state of flux (Cleanse) it’s as though our lives are on pause for ‘station identification’ of sorts. That is, until the moderated meditation of the closer Sky and Sea were Indistinguishable is unveiled. This is a muted ambient state that feels like activated nerve endings. It simply flutters gently like the sound you might imagine a kite making fifty feet above you, in essence erasing the horizonline.