certainly very high praise! wow!
I’m not sure if it’s right to say that Katherine Young is the Anthony Braxton of the bassoon – probably better to say that she’s a “restructuralist master” of the instrument and/or the Katherine Young of the bassoon. Indeed, she’s worked extensively with Braxton as well as in ensembles directed by composers Andrew Raffo Dewar and Matthew Welch (both also Wesleyan & Braxton alums). Further Secret Origins is Young’s first disc under her own name, presenting seven compositions for bassoon and (occasional) electronics that are both sprawling and economic. The bassoon is really taken to a direct and contemporary point on this recording, and there is no effort made to turn the instrument into something that it isn’t, whether plodding through a maddening pulse track with wonderful cyclical blats and a whimsical multiphonic line on “Patricia Highsmith” or engaging gargled harmonics in concert with rhythmic taps and indeterminate whir on “Elevation.” Certainly Young can produce masses of unruly sound that sometimes recall Braxton’s work on the contrabass clarinet, from hot low outpourings to twittering upper-register whine. A mildly irregular beat and low, uneven tones create much of the landscape on the quarter-hour “For Autonauts, for Travelers,” stark wisps and garish asides stitched into a knotty and unsettling mood. Koan-like quips rest atop looped (and bassoon-generated) rhythms on “Relief,” eventually drawn out into a series of overdubbed tones that waver, buzz, and pucker the ear. Raw and peerless, Katherine Young’s bassoon landscapes deserve serious recognition and study.