Standout Track: No. 2, “Black Shuck,” on Domingues & Kane’s Gut+Voltage: Viola da Gamba and Electronics, captures the imagination and paints evocative images. There’s an edge—almost a growl—to the sawed strings of Amy Domingues’ viola da gamba as she invokes the titular menacing, mythical hound on the prowl. The song transitions into a gentle, almost magical second half as Dennis Kane’s electronics and production seem to whisper questions about whether the beast is real.
Musical Motivation: “We didn’t purposely start writing the song with the idea of this mysterious, fantastical hound that roams the English countryside,” Domingues says. “I think it was after the fact that Dennis [Kane] suggested it, ‘cause we were really stumped on names for some of the songs and that one was like, ‘Oh, yeah, it totally makes sense.’” The group’s main motivation is to experiment with sound together. “[String instruments have] this incredibly rich history,” she says, “and yet with technology you can manipulate the sound, you can add effects to it. The challenge to me is doing it in a way that is tasteful.”
Bringin’ Gamba Back: “I mean, people don’t know what it is. They’re like, ‘What is that? It’s crazy,’” Domingues says about reactions to her instrument. After years of mainly playing the cello, Domingues went back to school at Peabody in Baltimore to learn everything she could about the viola da gamba, a old cello-like bowed instrument with six strings and frets. With the help of modern technology (Domingues added a pickup), she’s bringing the viola da gamba back. “It gets this really extraordinary resonance which I think is one of the most attractive qualities of the instrument,” she says.