Friday, March 21, 2014

spring plucks at the sleeve


my ridiculously-protracted blogligence is finally at an end... i shall shortly be posting the promised "translation" of my own drug-induced transmissions from december, and going from there. in the meantime - here's a link to a page which some of you may find useful (as did i). scroll down through that list to the end of december, and you'll find b's recent quartet release from warsaw, 2012; scroll a little further, to october, and there is the roland dahinden concert which came out on leo late last year. please note: these are not cd rips as such, and thus are not intended as substitutes for buying the actual releases; rather they are audio captures from live radio streams, to tide one over until such time, etc etc. i found them both to be rewarding listens - but that's all i'm saying about the music, for the time being.

what i will say is that in each case, there is a bit of a question mark over the track listing. the polish release lists the (diamond curtain wall) performance as being "comp. 363b+", but this seems rather unlikely: last year, tcf released quartet (frm) 2007 vol. 1, which comprises a reading of comp. 363c. what are the chances that b. would have used subdivisions of the same opus number to include pieces from two different musical systems? not great... as a matter of fact, reference to vols. 2-4 in the same series suggests that all the opus numbers within that range were used for falling river music, so i am going to assume that the listing here is simply wrong. (comp. 323a-c was a series of dcw pieces of course; possibly it's just one of those instead.)

- the ensemble montaigne release is more likely to be accurate in its listing of primary materials, since herr dahinden worked closely with/under b., and took part in his ensembles back in the 'nineties. no, in this case it's just the order of things which gives me pause: comp. 174 is given first, but that is a piece for ten percussionists (plus environmental preparations); nothing like that occurs during this reading. again, a transposed digit thereabouts..?

[history suggests that in both cases, we are unlikely to get to the truth of the matter any time soon. in any event, what all these continuing errors tend to indicate is the undoubted difficulty, for anyone apart from the maestro himself or his close collaborators, of correctly identifying and categorising his vast body of musics. i struggle myself, i freely admit; and if a borderline-autistic detail-fascist like me has trouble with it, what chance stands the rest of humanity? :) ]


incidentally: i happen to know that the composer himself has yet to receive a single copy of the warsaw cd. get your finger out, serpent records!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

*cent's 2014 manifesto*


let's just all sit here a minute, and whatever it is you're listening to right now (*1), just drop back and slide into that, focus on every little detail of the (song or) story it's imparting to you.


- you know what, to be candid about it, that second night on the nine-athon finished with me six down, two to go and thinking i'd really blown the chance to go anywhere with it, had allowed to mjuch of it just to become ambient wallpaper as i lost myself in (of all things (*2)) lego; my daughter is now five very precocious and exceptionally quick-to-catch-on years old and living through some fast hard times, as are we all, life in the household being very much still centred around one room with one still point, injured whippet #1 (*3). one adult has to be on duty with him at all times to make sure he doesn't jump onto the sofa or (worse) assay an entry to the staircase. one might think this would be unbearable, but not (strangely enough) for someone who hasn't been stoned in six months but who is now almost literally "living the dream" (*4)... anyway, our lil centette has truly discovered the joys of lego friends this xmas, and since i have had to do the making-and-building heavy-lifting on those bigger jobs, i myself have rediscovered lego in a big way (*5). (*6) this proved sufficiently fascinating that a few hours of intensive online research (*7) saw the gtm relegated to a distant second or worse;

- but that was then. the next day, well - i carried on getting quietly and illicitly blasted and got some "me-time" in the afternoon while mrs c whisked the junior whirlwind out of the house to give whippet uno some peace (*8), and i had very possibly the most interesting and satisfying hot bath i have ever experienced... i emerged from that with my head absolutely ablaze with fresh(ly-reexamined) ideas - this not being a strange occurrence for me per se - yet calm, blissed-out if anything, rather than hypermanic (this being my usual default mode when in the middle of a "hot streak");

 - and later on, the last two ninetets went down as smoothly and as fierily as a brace of the subtlest cognacs or single-malt whiskies. 'cos by that point, i understood the value of the whole experiment, and saw it slotted into its [place among [everything else.

the implications - and indeed explications - of all these still-being-spun-out ruminations, meditations and cogitations are such that they themselves require a further two posts, sub-manifesti if we must, just to detail-spell and record them accurately. so that's obviously next next;

- and then next after that is non-reheated leftovers, in the shape(s) of venezia bienniale, comp. 23c-go-round and last-but-not-least reeds-n-bass pt 2. (and in due course the top end of the-rest-of-that-list, time and will and lego permitting...) this will be followed by more (un)expected, (half-)hinted work as and when it appears.

ah, but i missed one out. there was something else - ?


lissen up, thosefuckers in the rich-and-miserable game have had it all their own way for as long as any of us on earth can crememeber and they have a hell of a lot to answer for. i'm confident that you and i can pretty much agree on that one... (*10). but what if we all went and had a really good and productive 2014 instead?

- see you in the mix,

c. x

* see comments

Monday, December 30, 2013

LIVE UPDATE one to go... and it's a fast opener - !

it's not been snowing here in the u.k. - far from it, since most parts of the south-and-midlands at least, has been swept again and again with lashing wind and rain, and the odd bit of blazing sun, for what seems like weeks now, - most unxmassy xmas ever. (zmas.) the north hasn't exactly had it easy either, but for once the brunt was borne by the "posh bits" - or some of them at least: surrey, sussex, kent.

- no, the one choice was just a nice, apposite state-of-the-pagan-in-the-modern image-spell, captured a few arse-end-of-decembers ago when we actually did get a (lethally) white christmas. it is suitable, because:

- the weather has indeed turned horribly wintry, along with the bloody (nearly) endless rain, and whippet uno (now nine years old, or 55 (...))has been feeling it dreadfully. never mind the details of the consequences - either for him, for him-and-me, for the rest of the family and for the still-grieving mrs c, five years ago today.- ...
 (but tomorrow will look ... different, i think)

- and because a spell against the pernicious intrusions of this vile and insidious creeping cold is what is called for, here. and how delivered?

- lo, and behold, there came unto the western men and women the nine scorched-sayers, the nonuply-undelivering-twisting-open-fist, unwinding its cragged and barbed way back up through the earth which was violated, screwed in the shifting; violated because rudely and ruthlessly pushed aside, but as we will see, the excavation was required and has, has revealed incredible marvels, details impossible to unlock within rectilinear, mere straight-in-and-out "clean" switchblade-jobs.

- in-and-out storytelling. [i was always good at that (*)] - this is not what the ninetet came to tell us.

the actual full, explicable and written-in-sort-of-english version of this will appear in due course, but in the meantime i am nearly completed with it, onto the last piece as say in the title above, and i well and truly got more than i could have wanted out of doing it... but that will be a reflection, to be made in the new year, and not what has simply been the final LIVE UPDATE, for this particular journey...

* see comments

Sunday, December 29, 2013

LIVE UPDATE ... fire burn, and cauldron bubble/

comp. 209 is more than halfway through already, and the musical planes we have been exploring are most amazing. long, interestingly long and detailed inhabitings of refined artistic-conceptual subspaces... followed by complete change and transportation seamlessly into another such, entirely and utterly different from the next and previous. this type of essentially hybridised and multidimensional artistic experience... requires a new type of listener-reader--thinker. like it or not, i am it..., and if you'rereading this then you probably are too. (if it still says 2013 on your computer screen right now then you definitely are closer to me than the rest of humanity!  o pity us! - but in any case -

good lord it's not even new year yet, but i did embark on another little journey, before coincidentally finding myself in a situation whereby its essential for me to do what i am now; i.e. sit in the house, on the sofa, thus comforting and stabilising the injured whippet of the household (also ensuring that the uninjured one doesn't cause further inadvertent injury) - ... - and on and off, i have been (in human terms) alone in the house whilst doing this, so the yoshi's ninetets do indeed provide the backdrop. the always-underway-nor-ever-complete type of listening-exploring-inhabiting which we do in following gtm, - as opposed to "listening" to it as semi-background music (*1) - can, by definition, be switched on or off at any point, once one has entered the stream at its own natural pace (of course this term itself *pace* itself has to be considered differently "hereonafter", since it comprises many different and separable pulses or rhythms; meta-pace is not a term i can bring myself to use,  quel horreur - and i don't want to slow down enough to think of an alternative just at this second)

- and then switched back on again of course -

fuck, all three of these pieces have been wonderful to listen to, to follow as i say - very very hard still to write about! writing and imagemaking, and sequencing, over time... hmmmm, now there's an idea i could work with ;-)

- but yeah, just remember the twenty-ninth minute of the third piece (i.e. disc 3/8)  - 29 in 209, not exactly hard to remember that, which is good. we'll be coming back there, in due course... right now we are streaming...

... and just approaching the end of this piece, where i may as well finish for a bit (*2)  -


* see comments

(no really, see comments if you want to know what's actually going on behind the scenes in terms of philosophical self-discovery-through expression... which is what this blog is, duh. (*3)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

LIVE UPDATE the yoshi'nine-athon is underway...

sod it, whatever youse thinks at this (relatively-)advanced stage of proceedings, i am literally-figuratively revealing a whole tucked-up and -pleated little microcosmic world tunneled from within the confines and depths of my navel; subtitled the manifold explorations explored backwards along the spiral, the whole conducted in close (/distant) association and under the blessings of mr anthony braxton

[ - *** - and invoking also e.e. cummings, herman melville, alan moore and thomas pynchon (though n.n.i.t.o) ]

- i am asking you to share my (actually pretty modest) belief that my inviting the hapless reader thus into a (what is very nearly literally in this instance, since the next verb-derived noun  after the brackets ties back into the extended metaphor so flippantly and flagrantly paraded in the dizzy heights of the first sentence - ): complication seemingly (tho not actually) entirely of my own invention or devising... - you ask - ? well, the answer is simple: once you're here, regardless of how you done got there, y might surprise y'self by hangin out a lil longer than expect', and even come to dig the view.

i genuinely wouldn't offer it if i didn't sincerely believe it was worth it...  {{{guuuush}}}

- (though (of course (i've known for some time that (everyone else can see (clearly (yessss... clearly) the extent "to witch"  i've at least shown consistent pa
ce with previous years in terms of easily-measruable unfinished postage and gerenal fart-arsery)))))


uh yeah the ninetet hyperspin,  the ninetet hyperspin, it only took in one disc in the end, cos, well blow me down if it didn't seem at last about three and a half hours all on its own. by the time i actually got the pod out to check where we were, i was astonished to find us all with fifteen mins still live on the clock, in the first set of the opening night. so comp. 207 still and none other...


a lot happens in there needless to say - ! hey GO LISSEN ;-) 

BUt i will check back with y'all in due course and soonmost. now, when were we all free again? does anyone at this level actually celebrate new year? (well... the hard-drinking hard-fighting celts obviously - !!)

remind me...

... to remem-berrr....

c..~ xx


*** numerous emendations and restorations were deemed necessary and were made today, the 29th. see the first comment

whether or not to revert to the use of british english for "draft" in the first line of said comment is currently bubbling away in my small intestine ;-)

Friday, December 27, 2013

... and a happy new year

- just time to squeeze out one last triple-triple-deep-distilled metafluid ounce ee({e}) -e - thanks, i needed that - before yet another one-a them pesky new yar thingies... which i always quite enjoy as the ultimate harmless private joke and amusement rather than as any act of self-politicking and/or promoting...

... in the meantime, i say: at the moment alexander hawkins' album of braxton rep is one possible album i (liver-mindedly(*1)) salivate over more than i would even steve lehman's - well, depending on the personnel i suppose and besides, the above is not meant disrespectfully to mr lehman at all, but rather to acknowledge the increasingly-imposing stature of mr hawkins, one of britain's few clear, strictly non-derivative composer-bandleaders alive as far as i am any judge ( [as far = some distance, if greater than most in the allotted time then at least partly thanks to some timely and knowledgable guides, i guess ;-) without them, as you can see by now, i would certainement never have done any of this (or this or this or this... whadadada...] )

- and nudge, nudge i think (and have indeed tonight slipped it into alex's cocoa, so to speak) that young ms-or-is-it-fraulein laubrock might be a good choice of co-explorer for the dense and super-populated pan-tropical jungles of anthony braxton's living-nay-thriving music/(s) - lehman btw has just been mining and refining his own coalfaces for long enough that a similar release from him in 2014 would bear a wholly different configuration of weights and stresses and angles and scents, flavours &c (*2) - i really do think that the young a.h. could knock 'em all flat with his offering if and when he chooses to do it - but in the meantime only he knows how realistic a project like that is in the coming (or indeed any other) year. lotta labels out there, few if any of 'em making any actual money as i understand it... and for that matter, only he knows if he wants to do it. i'm just sayin'... the man collects(-cted) braxton scores and charts (a.o.) and is living the great example in his own way. not for nothing does he play equal partners with the right-hand man after all.


and in the meantime meantime, some people really have been doing stuff which is, like, braxton rep upon another plane(t) or somethin', in the best possible way, which is to say that the leader a) knows full well that the influence is right out there for all to hear, and delivers a really convincing understanding of how to write within (what he perceives to be (some of)) braxtonian idioms or sound/mindsets, and b) has gerry hemingway on the traps, and indeed mr hemingway's old dutch master-wingman and longtime co-explorer wolter wierbos on the trombone, demonstrating (a.o.) (some of) what he has learned via george lewis and ray anderson, in particular... bassist dieter manderscheid is hitherto-unknown to me, but acquits himself marvellously well in such fast, fast company and is brave enough to invoke the spirit of mark dresser, right there in the middle of the album (*3) - and confident enough to pull it off with some aplomb. the leader himself, well - that's more than just one album doing this stuff and not the first time i've noticed the blatant braxtonian compositional flavoring - and while i'm aware the saxophonist has more to him than "mere" braxton-homage (*4*), it's still a remarkably good, powerfully cogent and successful outgrowth of a creative undertaking which (a.o.) keeps alive the braxtonian compositional spirit as tradition, and ... yeah, i've basically been enjoying listening to it (as i obviously and avowedly have to the output of mr hawkins, though on fewer occasions just recently)..!


yes, so happy new year everybody ***modest lo-budget fireworks***

 - and yes there is more on the way, but the promised 23c-athon will have to wait jus' a leetle bit longer... so let's round this year up now and look forward to that, at least ;-)

incidentally my latest meta-playlist consists simply of the eight (so far) ninetet gtm performances, in order (*4). i haven't got round to the actual immersion, not yet... it's on the way though...  :- )

hal c.. (x)

* see comments

 *4*see second comment!


Thursday, November 28, 2013

(meanwhile) this is new...

i'm halfway through a (previously-promised) post about recent treatments of comp. 23c, so in the meantime i thought i'd better just draw the (putative) reader's attention to this recent release, from the polish label which also brought us the latest mary halvorson album, ghost loop. (see, what did i say all those months ago? she has the core trio closest to her heart... or is it just a matter of road economics, this being after all a live album? yes, no, both, neither, whatever... i still don't have a firm opinion on this one, i.e. i can't yet make up my mind whether i was right all along or just talking shit. wouldn't be the first time...)

- google "braxton quartet warsaw" at time of writing, and some of the results are still related to the maestro's sideman (or rather special guest) appearance with john zorn, back in 2009 with messrs laswell and graves; it's actually quite hard to find any reference to the current album on a site which is not in polish, and who knows, that may continue to be the case (by no means all of b's albums get widespread exposure: indeed, a fair few of them are only available from the label in question, and not always for very long at that). but the concert captured on the cd is evidently a diamond curtain wall performance, and a rather unusual one. the presence in the band of thb is as much of a given as that of the leader himself - i don't recall ever coming across a dcw performance which did not feature mr bynum - but ms halvorson, almost as ubiquitous for these, is absent from this one; instead we have another of the heirs apparent, james fei, whose association with b's music and with his groups predates even bynum's, but who rarely appears in small groups with him. (there are always exceptions to this sort of rule, natch.) rounding out the quartet is erica dicker on violin; until the last year or so, i don't believe i had heard of ms dicker - she played in the expanded gtm 'tet at the bienniale di venezia last year (ahem... one of the numerous posts i started and left unfinished, over the last couple of years) and this was very possibly the first time i had come across her name, but this year's tcf releases indicate that she was playing in b's small groups, at any rate, as far back as 2007. [the relevant recordings are NBH042 -47 inclusive, all of which are falling river music performances; having been a monthly member at the time those were released, i have heard three of them - still only once each, at time of writing - and got quite excited about one of them, back in june (when i was still smoking ganja...).]

anyway, the current album is from last year of course, and judging by the audio clip available on the label's site (relinked - i've long since got into the habit of peppering my posts with embedded urls, so can't very well expect readers to go back in search of one!), it is potent and intriguing stuff - not that we would seriously expect anything less at this juncture (*1). as i say above, i don't know widely available it will end up being, but if it doesn't show up in any of the usual uk-based retailers online, i shall very probably buy it from the label sometime in the new year. the unusual choice of personnel makes this one particularly appealing to me... i shall be fascinated to see what the four of them made of the material.

(i am still pondering over this one, as mentioned briefly last time out - b. himself isn't on it, but mr dahinden was closely associated with the music for several years, played in various live groupings, issued an album under his own name on which b. played, and which also included a rendition of comp. 136 without the composer; what with one thing and another, i think it safe to assume that this year's swisstravaganza will have been a success, and i am pretty curious to hear the results. so, yes, probably another one for the old xmas list...)


since my long-desired big breakthrough (which i had rather dreaded might never happen), i have listened to a whole shitload of music, always trying to keep myself fresh by mixing it up, but not actually listening to a whole helluva lot of braxton, which is one reason why i still haven't finished the 23c update as mentioned at the start of this post (it is on the way, promise). what i have heard has been greatly enjoyed; i've just been keeping myself very busy, checking out all sorts of stuff i had previously allowed myself to neglect... not that i'm about to list all these here, even i would draw the line at that, but the crucial thing here is that i now seem to have arrived at the point i always to reach, whereby i can flip from the most violently extreme hardcore punk or death / black metal (etc) to the subtlest free improv or free jazz (etc) and trust my mind and ears to make the necessary adjustments pretty much immediately. basically, i'm very happy to have got here at last (so much so that other, less satisfactory aspects of my current daily life are far more easily bearable than they might be otherwise) and i'm enjoying chopping and changing, delving in and out of this and that (*2). i'm not really in any great hurry, therefore, to force myself to narrow the parameters right down - even if that entails narrowing them down to a composer whose work covers an extraordinarily broad spectrum. that said, there is definitely more writing on the way... so if you haven't already, don't give up on me just yet ;-)

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