Spaced Out

When: April 30 @ 7:30 PM
Free Admission

Universe Explosion - Adam Cuthbért

Reflection Nebulae - Gabriella Smith

Satellites Garth Knox



Negative Expanse - Jon Kulpa * 

(World Premiere, 2016 FQ Commission)

* Commissioned by Friction Quartet with support from Sounds of Science Commissioning Club

This program is made possible by UC Berkeley, Department of Music; CNMAT (Center for New Music

and Audio Technologies); Eric Paulos and the UC Berkeley Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; and Jeremy Wagner, Sound Engineer and Installation.

Spaced Out is a concert that follows the theoretical evolution of a cyclical universe: death, rebirth, growth, and the multiple facets of each that can lead to life. Negative Zero by Jon Kulpa explores what it would be like to fall inside a black hole, becoming infinitely blueshifted. The quartet begins at four corners around the room, behind or embedded in the audience, and moves inward towards the black hole center, interacting with prerecorded fixed media and the speakers spaced throughout the room. From falling both musically and symbolically into Jon Kulpa’s black hole, we emerge on the other side in a big bang depicted by Adam Cuthbert’s Universe Explosion. The work provides a ten minute summary of the life of the universe, from rapid inflation to the eventual heat death, depicted with aleatoric passages, additive and subtractive rhythmic grooves, pre-recorded string quartet with octave drop pedal, and changing durations of the same theme. In the past century humans began exploring space in earnest. Satellites by Garth Knox is a programmatic piece that explores this new frontier, portraying an attempt to remain geostationary in an environment where staying still is only achievable with great speed, seeing multiple sunrises and sunsets in a day as an astronaut, and ending with the probing of the possible alternate dimensions that surround us all the time. Knox uses a range of extended techniques, and colors and sounds that teachers often try to prevent students from trying, coupled with baroque forms to showcase humanities space pioneering. The birth of early stars came from hydrogen clumping together, some becoming huge stars, and exploding. Those explosions leave behind beautiful nebulae, and the heavier elements necessary for life. Gabriella Smith’s Reflection Nebulae explores this very process by first developing ambient textures with extended techniques, and preparing string instruments by placing paper clips on the string for an alien effect. As the material coalesces we achieve fusion and the music becomes full of melodic interest and counterpoint, ending in a folk-like jam. Our planet was born from the very same events that Reflection Nebulae described.