In his previous work, Steven Lugerner has used various selections of Biblical text as raw material for his musical compositions. To do this, he extracts codes of numerals through a method called Gematria (a traditional Jewish system of assigning numerical value to a word or phrase), in the belief that words or phrases bear some relation to each other. With these chains of numerals, Lugerner composes music through a plethora of aesthetic compositional decisions. Through this work, he has realized that different compositional ideas reveal themselves if related to numerals; one could use them in relation to time signatures, duration, or length of a tone; how many times a given tone is played or repeated; and one could also apply these numerals to vertical harmony.
For We Have Heard focuses on the biblical Book of Joshua, which begins after the death of Moses and continues until the death and burial of Joshua the prophet. The book is split in two parts; the first half presents the conquest of the land, while the second recounts the apportionment of the land between the Israelite tribes. This dichotomy of events is mirrored in the album by using two different compositional processes: write and record compositions that would be played by the quartet in real time with no edits or overdubs, and secondly recording improvisations based around material from the previous compositions and heavily transcribing, editing, and composing new material to those improvisations.
The end result lives in the place between live, acoustic music and composition based in the electronic tradition, striving to blend and blur what is live and improvised with what is pre-thought and composed.