nedjelja, 6. siječnja 2013.

Katherine Young - Pretty Monsters (2012)

Katherine Young svira na instrumnetu koji se zove bassoon i stvara totalno ekscentričnu, hibridnu, nelinearnu muziku. Sve je razrezano nečim drugim i pušteno da se koprca na podu dok samo ne skoči na strop.


Katherine Young s dynamic and mercurial debut release with her four-piece Pretty Monsters drifts and lurches between doomy songs, noisy improv, and eerie experimental chamber music. Young s compositions for Pretty Monsters emphasize the individual and collective strengths of her band: Erica Dicker s detailed, virtuosic violin playing; the visceral and tactile guitar work of Owen Stewart-Robertson; coloristic percussion and heavy-hitting drums from Mike Pride; and Young s amplified set-up that enhances her sometimes fierce, sometimes tender approach to the bassoon, as she draws out interior resonances and creates monolithic soundscapes. With influences as diverse as the Art Ensemble of Chicago, U.S. Maple, Giacomo Scelsi, and novelist Julio Cortazar each Pretty Monsters piece carves out a unique sound world articulated by brilliant soloistic playing and explosive ensemble improvisation: Before getting engulfed by an onslaught of noise, Crushed surrealistically weaves together an ornate violin solo with a slowdance; Entropy layers reverb-saturated guitar washes, plaintive bassoon and violin drones and noises over an off-kilter Melvins-esque drum solo. The aggressive Feldspar and resolute Deuterium highlight the ensemble s precision playing, while dreamy For Autonauts, For Travelers, sludgy Patricia Highsmith, and shimmering Relief rely heavily on the band s deep improvisational resources. -

Rarely used in jazz and creative improvised music (except by individualists like Karen Borca), the unwieldy bassoon is commonly relegated to the role of a doubling horn, sparingly employed by eclectic multi-instrumentalists like Joseph Jarman and Yusef Lateef for its unusual tonal color. Brooklyn-based bassoonist Katherine Young transcends the instrument's reputation with a shrewd combination of talent and technology; she employs extended techniques and effects pedals to subtly expand the horn's range, as previously revealed on her acclaimed solo debut, Further Secret Origins (Porter, 2009).
Pretty Monsters is the self-titled premier of Young's ensemble of the same name. The unconventional quartet alternates between neoclassical austerity and raucous metallic furor—a brash hybrid visualized by the album's chimerical cover art. Joining the leader are conservatory trained violinist Erica Dicker, chameleonic guitarist Owen Stewart-Robertson and veteran drummer Mike Pride, whose varied résumé includes stints with punk legends Millions of Dead Cops and Japanese noise experimentalists the Boredoms.
Having studied with iconic composer Anthony Braxton and recorded with members of Faust and Einstürzende Neubauten, Young's vanguard aesthetic is anything but conventional; her non-linear compositions follow their own quixotic logic. The session opens with the cagey pointillism of "Relief," which features deft call-and-response between Young's perambulating flurries, Dicker's piercing glissandi, Stewart-Robertson's muted fretwork and Pride's scintillating percussion. The ominous dirge "Patricia Highsmith" follows, inverting the former dynamic as Pride's erratic trap set eruptions and Stewart-Robertson's flinty electric guitar work in spirited counterpoint against Young and Dicker's caustic retorts.
The remaining tunes vacillate between similar extremes; the pithy assault of "Feldspar" contrasts with the atmospheric "Crushed," which slowly builds from rhapsodic violin arpeggios to a dreamy guitar-driven interlude, gradually overwhelmed by a coruscating wall of white noise. The reflective "For Autonauts, For Travelers" showcases Young's inspired virtuosity, as she weaves multiphonic bellows, oscillating trills and quavering intervallic refrains into rigorous thematic variations underscored by her sidemen's kaleidoscopic accents. The episodic "Deuterium" works a broad canvas, veering from melancholy to ardent, with a lyrical, affecting violin solo at its core. "Entropy" brings Pride's monolithic drum kit back into the fold; pitting thunderous blast beats against his band mates mesmerizingly minimalist contributions.
Pretty Monsters is one of the most intriguing ensemble debuts in recent memory, a sonically audacious record documenting the development of a bold young artist whose arresting improvisations are as remarkable as her engaging compositions. - Troy Collins

Jazz bassoon...Imagine the most eclectic music you have ever heard, kick it up about 50 notches and you are getting close to the level of creativity turned out with Katherine Young's Pretty Monsters.
As a recovering pseudo-intellectual jazz snob the crazy thing is that from cover art to compositions to dealing with influences that range from Art Ensemble of Chicago to Giacomo Scelsi - this release really works!
The best description of Pretty Monsters is that it borders on more of an "experience" than a stereotypical release. I love different sounds and remember that different is never bad - just different. Young knows the members of her 4tet well and her compositions play to their strengths. Owen Stewart-Robertson is a technician with a fret board, Erica Dicker's violin work is the virtuosity of a symphony player that has finally cast of the creative shackles of form and functionality and is simply going for it. Keep in mind for some free jazz is an acquired taste. Drummer Mike Pride could easily be called rolling thunder with his heavy handed attack on drums yet his incredible finesse with all things percussion. 
"Relief" opens this somewhat dark release with a lighter approach and an immediate visual of a mechanized jazz motor creaking to life as the group does a sonic exploratory with an organic sense of purpose. "Feldspar" is a sonic assault on the visceral and cerebral with intense precision and a harmonic deconstruction of controlled fury. Pride is simply insane on drums here bringing back memories of the late Keith Moon. A more determined and tighter harmonic bent is taken with "Deuterium." Comedian Martin Mull once said writing about music is like dancing with architecture. Heavy metal jazz on steroids with layers of texture that include guitar washes, violin drones, electronic flights of fancy all somehow tied to a virtuoso bassoonist whose compositions take everything you thought you knew or familiar with in the free or experimental jazz genre and politely tosses it right out the window and this is a beautiful thing. I would be remiss if I did not mention the incredible cover art done by Rob Patterson.
The term "free-jazz" or "experimental" gained widespread acceptance because some jazz writers had no idea what to call certain pieces of music from Ornette Coleman and other artists so they tagged it with an abstract label in an effort to distinguish the artist from the more main stream acts of the day. An editor with the Gannett publication that carries my work always told me, "water finds its weight." Now I get it..."Be The Ball Noonan." Free your mind.

Just about every other symphony orchestral instrument has been drafted into service for the diabolically opposed world of improvised music, so why not the bassoon? That’s a question that’s not only been asked but also affirmatively answered, by Katherine Young. Having worked with Anthony Braxton and Faust’s Joachim Irmler, Young started making a name as a solo performer, cradling this long, straight double-reeded instrument with an array of effects foot pedals set in front of her. Young’s use of pedals doesn’t contort the sound of her bassoon beyond recognition, they serve to amplify the unusual sounds she can coax from the instrument, some of which are not what you’d typically hear from that horn, but Young’s got broader goals in mind. Namely, to take the bassoon to places it’s never gone before. She can be alternately mellow or abrasive, metallic or ruminative. No mood, no timbre is out of bounds to Young.
A couple of years ago, she took the bassoon and her strange concepts for playing it to a combo format, a quartet called Katherine Young’s Pretty Monsters. Even here, she breaks cleanly from convention. Consisting of Young, Erica Dicker (violin), Owen Stewart-Robertson (guitars, electronics) and Mike Pride (drums & percussion), Pretty Monsters is a band with a rock-bred, punk attitude rhythm section jousting with the avant-chamber tendencies of Young and Dicker. The seven compositions — all Young’s — don’t seem to follow any discernable structure: some are one or two chord songs, others atonal and rootless. Because Young does this, everyone is allowed more freedom, and are interesting noises and shapes the replace any semblance of what is widely recognized as melody. The interaction among everyone is intimate and critical to the flow of these songs.
“Relief” plays out like a light, quiet conversation among four people, based on a single note, never rising above a murmur. That all changes on the next track, the doom dirge rock bombast of “Patricia Highsmith” (YouTube below), defined by Stewart-Robertson’s skittish lines and Pride’s discreet prowling, with Young and Dicker reacting and providing counterpoints. “For Autonauts, For Travelers” is most indicative of Young’s solo work: it begins with her grunting, gyrating bassoon, and the others fill in the accents with a flighty violin, random electronic chirps and odd guitar sounds until Pride’s percussive effects begins to enter into focus. “Crushed” begins with Dicker’s arpeggiated violin played like a fiddle, going relentlessly until the notes are bled out, and a dreamy sequence led by Stewart-Robertson soon runs into a buzz-saw of dense, pure noise. Pride is finally let off the leash on the final track “Entropy,” determined to stamp out all the ambient-noise sounds generated from the other three.
Nope, there’s nothing at all typical about the bassoon playing of one Katherine Young, and as a fascinating, unbounded extension of her musical personality, neither are her Pretty Monsters. Katherine Young’s Pretty Monsters is a brash, assured first statement from a talented young performer who is poised to do for the bassoon what Tom Cora did for the cello. - 

Releasing Bound Water from Green Material (2012) streaming

Composed with support from Issue Project Room’s Emerging Artist Commission, Releasing Bound Water from Green Material was originally conceived as a multi-media piece with a fully notated percussion trio at its center, surrounded by permeating open-form pieces for a mixed ensemble. Working in close collaboration with composer Katherine Young, visual artist Michael Kenney created multifarious projections and a sculpture that externalized its insides as it projected memories of the objects it contained.
Since its debut in 2010, Young and Kenney have continued to play with the materials. All the music on Releasing Bound Water from Green Material comes from the live recording of the premiere performance. Exploring perceptual shifts initiated through processes of saturation, evaporation, filtering, and decay, Capacity is for gongs, drums and wooden objects. It has been left completely intact as it was premiered by TimeTable percussion trio.
Binding-Releasing I and II, however, have been completely reconstituted. Using samples from all parts of the concert, Young has remixed the materials into two new pieces that create an intimate, reflective frame for Capacity. Similarly, Kenney has reworked footage used in the live performance for these new videos.


 Chamber Music  streaming


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