Brooklyn-based bassoonist Katherine Young, already a formidable presence in numerous contemporary chamber music, pop, and creative jazz outfits (most notably Anthony Braxton's Falling River Quartet), explores the full breadth of her instrument, unaccompanied, on her debut solo album, Further Secret Origins. Far from the prim, chamber recital connotations usually associated with solo bassoon music, Young explores the double-reed instrument's noisier, more blusterous contours -- from harsh, sputtering overtones to threatening, low-register drones to jagged multiphonics -- teasing out all manner of unusual timbres whose sonic origins, more often, cannot reliably be traced to even the woodwind family. And if such extrapolation on extended technique was the sole thematic concern of Further Secret Origins, it would be somewhat crippled as a complete listening experience; thankfully, Young constructs a measured yet satisfying arc throughout the album's 40-plus-minutes, steering clear of such self-indulgence and making for an engaging listen throughout. From the breathy, drawn-out squeals of the introductory "Terra Incognita," to the droning suspense and wacky, sound effect punch line of "Patricia Highsmith," to the nearly liturgical feel of the multi-tracked chorale on "Some People Say That She Doesn't Exist," Young's mastery of her instrument, and ability to confound simple expectations of its limitations, marks Further Secret Origins as a bold and uncompromising adventure in solo instrumental music.
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Review by Dave Shim