drop by drop, suddenly

by Leslie Ross

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The first CD starts with the shortest seed pieces that play primarily with the timbral and microtonal differences highlighted between tone-holes, forming a layered, pseudo-multitrack effect while playing with only one fingering, single note or multiphonic. They range from the more strictly tonal or modal pitch-centered to the thicker atonal and dissonant collection of frequencies found in some multiphonics. Pieces progress to longer complex ones by the second CD, some of which have as minimal material as the shorter ones, but make more extensive use of live multitrack recordings and frequency filters to further bring out changes in frequencies or accentuate beatings inherent in specific multiphonics. The electronics used were created explicitly for each composition using the computer-based program MAX/MSP.

Save for the unconventional 15 microphones of the “prepared bassoon”, these recordings include pieces with no sound processing whatsoever, as well as pieces that do involve sound processing and multi-tracking. Importantly, however, any processing (timed entrances of microphones, overdubbing, looping, spectrum filtering, pitch shifting...) is made in real time, not post-recording. All recordings are single-take recordings where four speaker channels along with room microphones have been mixed down to stereo. Key clicks occasionally get picked up in a loop recording to return sometimes processed, sometimes not later; in circular breathing a multiphonic might drop out a moment before sounding again –what might sound like clicks or occasional drop outs on some of the recordings are not overlooked mastering faults but the result of this live processing and playing as would be experienced in performance.
With a formal background in classical music and early performance practice Leslie Ross took a plunge into the free improv scene of downtown NYC in the mid 80’s and has immersed herself in experimental music ever since. Her connected, parallel, work as baroque bassoon builder also opened up into explorations of invented instruments and sound installations at the same time. She has presented solo programs, both acoustic and electro-acoustic with laptops or electronics throughout Europe and the US over the past three decades. In the mid 2000’s she returned her music focus to a detailed exploration, analysis and understanding of bassoon multiphonics, the details of which she has made freely available on her website. It is through this exploration of multiphonics and the subtle changes made when playing with resonance keys that she was brought to the multiple-mic project of this CD.


released July 16, 2018

Leslie Ross: Compositions, bassoon
Tom Hamilton: Mastering
Valentina Criserá: Cover painting


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XI Records New York, New York

XI recordings are a series of compact discs highlighting the music of contemporary artist-composers whose works are original and galvanizing. The intent of XI Records is to extend the experience of these engaging and pioneering works beyond the performance space into the home ... more

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