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XI Records releases Drop By Drop, Suddenly, a two-CD set of eleven compositions for bassoon composed and performed by Leslie Ross. Ross is not only an internationally renowned instrument builder but is also an uncompromising creative musician. The first disc starts with a series of short seed pieces that play primarily with the timbral and microtonal differences highlighted between tone-holes, forming a layered effect while playing with only one fingering, single note or multiphonic. They range from the strictly tonal or modal pitch-centered to a thicker atonal and dissonant collection of frequencies. Pieces progress to longer complex ones by the second disc, some of which have as minimal material as the shorter ones, but make more extensive use of live multi-track recordings and frequency filters to further bring out changes in frequencies or accentuate 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 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, while in circular breathing a multiphonic might drop out before sounding again. What might sound like clicks or occasional drop outs on some pieces are not overlooked mastering faults but the result of this live processing, presenting these pieces as they would be in performance. With a formal background in classical music and early performance practice, Leslie Ross took a plunge into the free improvisation scene of downtown New York in the mid 1980's and has immersed herself in experimental music ever since. Her connected, parallel, work as a baroque bassoon builder also opened up concurrently into explorations of invented instruments and sound installations. She has presented solo programs, both acoustic and electro-acoustic 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. It is through this exploration of multiphonics and the subtle changes made when playing with resonance keys that brought her to the music presented on Drop By Drop, Suddenly.
Canadian bassoonist, instrument builder, and sound artist Leslie Ross, whose work combines historical organology with contemporary compositional techniques