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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Leslie Ross. Drop By Drop, Suddenly, Extended Music for Bassoon

The Avant Garde realms of Modern Music remain plastic and ever-adventurous. The scientistic (meaning in the manner of science) phase of experimental music has never really quite left us, yet it has decisively been suborned nowadays to the ultimate need to express. That is a healthy thing, surely.

Enter Leslie Ross, bassoonist, instrument maker, composer, magic master of sound. Her album Drop By Drop, Suddenly (XI 141, 2CDs for the price of one) has found its way into my review playing cycle and I emerge refreshed and ready to talk.

The music is all about the long tone and its kaleidoscopic permutations Ms. Ross explores in thoroughly poetic ways.The program is a well-paced series of works for solo bassoon, more-or-less gradually lengthening in time and scope. The premise to begin is the long tone articulated on bassoon with various fingerings that allow for a myriad of tonal colors and overtone presence. The results are uniformly uncanny, all created by the bassoon and an elaborate 15 microphone array. Then there are computer alterations that take advantage of the MAX/MSP program to further enhance the signal, so that in the end we enter a world nearly orchestral in scope yet all derived from the simple sounding of one bassoon.

If you do not mind being patient with the unfolding sounds you are bit-by-bit and yes, then suddenly aware that you are in the center of some sea change. It is some of the best in gradualist unfolding sound poetry. If you are an adventuring musical soul I suspect this will be much to your taste. For those who self-select for the avant garde, I recommend this surely.

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