Alu is the synthesis of an involved collaboration with bassist Jenny Labonté. The work is built on timbral and dynamic constructs that serve the lowest extreme of audibility. The border between absolute and relative silence is established as a vast reservoir for aesthetic investigation. Questions otherwise ignored in an acoustic setting are brought to light in a psychoacoustic context: Where does silence fit structurally as a musical device rather than simply a cadential one or a divide between sonic events? Does the attenuation to lowest possible dynamic registers affect a listener’s response to greater nuance and subtlety? Of what does the nature of the border between sound and silence consist? From a broader perspective, the residue of such explorations results in a prolonged, atmospheric expanse that is accentuated by the ethereal yet versatile quality of the double bass’s pitch and timbral range. The piece also uses mathematical laws of probability to distribute the material. The title refers to a redundant and ostensibly inert DNA sequence that occurs 300,000 times in the human genome.
Performance by Jenny Labonté: