What does it mean to create a new artistic form? Anna Heflin did just that with her new album, The Redundancy of the Angelic: An Interluding Play. She describes the work, which blends music and text, as having been inspired by “spiders, apocalyptic angels and my encounters in Los Angeles.” The result is a challenging, immersive work that draws on a host of disparate influences. We spoke about its genesis and her own multidisciplinary pursuits via email.
The last time I spoke with Ted Hearne was in 2014; the subject was The Source, his collaboration with Mark Doten inspired by the work of whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Now, Hearne has returned with a new album, Place — a collaboration with Saul Williams, in which Hearne addresses questions of gentrification in Brooklyn’s Ft. Greene neighborhood. It’s a work that involves countless vocalists, found audio, and a complex structure; it also involves moments of sublime beauty. I talked with Hearne about the genesis of Place and how he developed the themes contained within it.
The Source, which has its world premiere tonight at the BAM Fisher Fishman Space and runs through the 25th, blends the use of the human voice with a politically resonant topic. The Source is described as “a multimedia oratorio,” and takes as its focus Chelsea Manning, and the media’s response to her. To learn more about the project’s origins, I checked in with two of the people behind it, composer Ted Hearne and librettist Mark Doten.