Katherine Young's Pretty Monsters, Keefe Jackson & Jason Roebke | Hungry Brain | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Katherine Young's Pretty Monsters, Keefe Jackson & Jason Roebke 

When: Sun., Nov. 4, 11 p.m. 2012
Price: $7
For the past decade or so Katherine Young has been forcing pretty much everyone who hears her to reconsider what the bassoon can do—her wide range of endeavors has included using the notoriously unwieldy instrument for nimble, abstract free improvisation and playing it in rock and pop bands. Young turned my head in 2009 with her stunning solo album Further Secret Origins (Porter), where she employed occasional overdubs to create frictive, squawky pieces that turn the instrument's lower register into a beat generator and draw from its higher reaches a catalog of feedbacklike tones, intense multiphonics, mournful melodies, and even bluesy riffs. Young has since reimagined some of those pieces for quartet and performed them with her band Pretty Monsters, which exists in New York and Chicago versions; the former, which makes its local debut at this show, appears on Pretty Monsters' bracing self-titled debut, released in September on Public Eyesore Records. The album showcases several discrete approaches. The opener, "Relief," focuses on patiently hovering, overlapping lines from Young's bassoon, Erica Dicker's caustic violin, and Owen Stewart-Robertson's knotty electric guitar, with sparse accents from drummer Mike Pride; "Crushed" lives up to its title, smothering a delicate violin-and-glockenspiel duet with violent waves of white noise. "Patricia Highsmith" is propelled by lumbering, hard-hitting beats, and its arching, earthy lines (a la Julius Hemphill's "Dogon A.D.") engage in a sinister, suspenseful dance—taken together, they make the song sound like someone improvising to a Melvins record. —Peter Margasak Keefe Jackson & Jason Roebke open.

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