Julia Wolfe’s Dark Full Ride consists of four new compositions, each written for multiples of individual instruments—nine bagpipes, four drum sets, six pianos, and eight double basses. Working closely with the performers during the composing process, Wolfe uncovered unexplored sides of these instruments.
While writing Lad, Wolfe discovered the initial drone produced while filling the bagpipe with air, using that as the piece’s introduction. The first section of the titular Dark Full Ride uses only hi-hats. my lips from speaking builds on the piano riff from a classic R&B song. Stronghold turns the register of the bass upside down, webbing together the highest overtones as the eight-piece ensemble becomes one mega bass.