The first time I checked in with Jenna Lyle about her latest compositional project, she told me—with a nervously comedic uncertainty—“Um, I’m converting a stethoscope into a contact microphone?” She was attempting to amplify a heartbeat. The last time I spoke with her, she announced with much dismay that she had gutted every speaker in her house for said amplification. Like most composers, she didn’t know exactly where she was going, but I felt that she had a strong concept in mind. Like, strong enough to sacrifice your own sound system for it. Tonight at High Concept Laboratories, she will present the result of her various solderings and reconstructions in her new work Inkblot.
I mentioned in my post on Ensemble VulpineLupin that the group often delves into repertoire centered on the physicality of playing music. This trend can be found through numerous composers attempting to find new sounds in old instruments, whether through unconventional techniques or preparation/electrical enhancement. If Corporeality has become a genre of contemporary music then certainly Lyle is a part of it. The vocalist/composer experiments with techniques of physicality not simply to expand her timbral vocabulary, but to bring fundamental ideas about the body into question, musically.
breathpiece (listen to it above, read about it here) uses the breath as a jumping off point for a whole world of gestures. Tonight’s premier work, Inkblot, uses another essential of the body: pulse. In this composition, the heartbeat of the violinist will not only provide a human sound in a musical context, it will help govern the direction and pacing of the piece. You can read the composer’s full statement about the new work over at the Spektral Quartet’s blog.
The concert, in conjunction with the photography of Matthew Gregory Hollis, will also feature additional works by Lyle, including a sound installation.