Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pretty Monsters Reviews

[F]erocious and elegant....All four musicians play so much with wringing unusual sounds from their axes that the story is less about how Young's aytpical instrument fits in, but how all four create an intense alien landscape.
- Shaun Brady, downbeat.com

The essence of Pretty Monsters (the band) lies not in Young’s willingness to go in...different directions, but rather her willingness to travel these seemingly oppositional routes almost concurrently, and certainly within a given composition. This keeps listeners on the edge of their seats; at the music’s best, it threatens to upend any comfortable divisions between music and noise.  
- Neil Tesser, chicagomusic.org

[E]ven in moments of abandon, this music feels controlled; the improvised solos sound like essential facets of the compositions. This is because Young, like her occasional employer Anthony Braxton, understands that selecting a musician and creating the right opportunity can be a powerful compositional act. 
- Bill Meyer, Dusted

[L]ike someone improvising to a Melvins record.
- Peter Margasak, The Chicago Reader

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.
- Brent Black, criticaljazz.com

The cyclical “Patricia Highsmith”...is rendered with slinky undertow, lunkheaded beats colliding with fractured and skittering guitar (Stewart-Robinson is a no-wave blues revelation here) and mated with swooping ponticello bowing and low, reedy blats. Young’s bassoon is not always in the foreground; frequently, she supports higher-pitched statements from guitar and violin with droning warble or a patchwork of live electronics and loops.
- Clifford Allen, New York City Jazz Record

[T]here’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. 
- S. Victor Aaron, Something Else

[B]assoonist Katherine Young transcends the instruments reputation with a shrewd combination of talent and technology; she employs extended techniques and effects pedals to subtly expand the horns range...
- Troy Collins, All About Jazz

It doesn't happen often that you listen to an album wondering what the hell is happening here. Pretty Monster's debut album is one of those albums. You hear lots of familiar stuff, some jazz, some rock, some classical even, but then everything is stretched and mangled to fit another sound purpose, something strange, unique and compelling, covered with a sauce of noise, and all that without losing a coherent sense of lyricism that ties the entire album together.
- Stef, Free Jazz Collective

These cool inspired tracks were recorded by folks who are obviously feeding off one another's creative tendencies...and the results are rather hypnotic and bewildering.
- Baby Sue

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

new piece for Open House Chicago

Saturday, October 13, I will premiering (approximately 6 times!) a new piece:  
After the fire, quarries dynamited for bassoon and fixed media.

Access Contemporary Music commissioned this project as part of the annual Open House Chicago events organized by the Chicago Architecture Foundation.  One of four ACM composers working at different buildings throughout the city, I have written the piece inspired by the material textures and history of the Nickerson Mansion. I will be performing the piece every 20-30 minutes from 1-4 PM on the third floor of the house (which is also known as the Driehaus Museum).


Nickerson Mansion
40 E. Erie
1:00 to 4:00 PM