Saturday, May 31, 2008

***gtm file here***

ghost trance music preoccupied anthony braxton for much of the last two decades - we know this. exactly what it is, how it works, etc etc - that doesn't concern me at this stage. as regards the man's musical thought, my learning edge is some way back in the time-stream, caught up in the happenings of more than three decades ago... but i listen forwards and backwards, under different conditions, and as with a martial art (or any other sphere with wide-ranging and far-reaching implications), one aspect of the practice informs all the others... each time i hear a piece of gtm, i feel a little better placed to appreciate it; and each time i find wonderful things to enchant my ears and mind and heart.

just listen...

- in my experience the music comes forth to meet the open ear; but i'm sure that (as with most things), this is to an extent a matter simply of personal taste, or of an individual fit: still, i didn't always find the later work spoke to me, and it certainly speaks to me now; so, to a certain extent it may also be a matter simply of patience.

i've listened to quite a bit of gtm this year, among other things, and i'm not about to undertake any sort of analysis of it for the foreseeable future... but it figures relatively little on the blog, and i felt it was high time to acknowledge the large part it plays in my life.

the last concert of gtm i picked up from the blogosphere was the chiasso '08 septet, posted as flacs by tantris on inconstant sol (see comments)

- by the time i'd prepared an mp3 rip, one had been dropped into the comments without my noticing. but i had already done it, so i thought i'd offer it here anyway - this was ripped at 192, resulting in one single file for download. i find the sound quality perfectly acceptable:

* * *

while i'm at it: a recent conversation has focussed on an old favourite of mine, comp. 6i. i currently have four recordings of this piece: a superb one in the studio (complete 1971), two live renditions from 1976, which i only recently came across, to my delight... and there is also this one, played by circle in hamburg, march 1971:

- the full (110mins) broadcast of this concert - the precise date of which has long been disputed - is being prepared for posting at sol as i write... look out for it soon! glmlr, who has a particular interest in this group, will say more about it than i plan to here... meantime, collectors and lovers of this piece may want to get a taste... there's a huge alto solo in it ;-)


centrifuge said...

the original post on sol:

- sambeck2001 provided mp3s at a slightly higher rate, necessitating two downloads - they are to be found in his first comment on that post

thanks to tantris (again!)

keep your eyes peeled for circle, on sol...

kinabalu said...

Thanks for THAT tune, cent! Just has got to be my fave Brax tune, so far. Playing as I write this. Yep.

centrifuge said...

kinabalu, you're welcome... always happy to "spread the joy" :) and especially when it comes to this little number, which i've been banging on about for months now!

Tantris said...

Great to see this music being disseminated more widely!

The more I listen to the Ghost Trance Music, the more I hear a strong programmatic element (in this case, a cycle from waking to sleeping, to waking again - which complements the dream-like nature of much of the music).

centrifuge said...

tantris, the cyclic/phasic (or indeed programmatic!) quality of gtm is indeed a notable characteristic i think, it's one which all?/most ghost trance pieces and recitals have in common. but it's not new, or exclusive to gtm - it's a thread running through braxton's work from very early on, which is (i suppose) why the live sets quite quickly became seamless...

as regards individual pieces, though... composition 96 is a shining example; obviously the creative ensemble songbooks (6 23 40 69) don't *usually* feature this sort of extended structure but there are plenty of exceptions. the 1972 town hall performance concludes with the quintet - which i didn't wholeheartedly enjoy at the time, but which still seemed to have taken me through an entire night's experience - believe it or not that was later dubbed a 6-series piece, so it must have started out as a short structure (?)

but the sense of being taken through intense activity into deep restfulness and back in and out is one that's pretty familiar to me by now, and i am still *officially* in 1976 don't forget ;-)

Tantris said...

centrifuge --

Hmmm - I'm intrigued, because the earlier pieces - even the more extended collages from the mid-80s - don't convey that to me. Which pieces / performances would you point at in particular?

-- T

centrifuge said...

well... i just mentioned a couple! like i say, comp 96 is the obvious one - it actually returns to near-stasis at regular intervals. and comp. 6p (as detailed above) has a similar quality, to my mind. there are other examples dealt with in the various braxtothon posts, but those were the two which sprung most readily to mind.

as i say, the live performances (if not the albums in many cases) had this sort of quality from an early stage - seamless, so the listener is taken through all sorts of different states without ever actually getting a pause for breath. in this context, the transitional phases between pieces often have quite a dreamlike flavour to them.

but ultimately all this may just boil down to personal responses... i hear these qualities in the earlier work, maybe you don't, and it's certainly the case that gtm does seem to have subtle qualities all of its own! i'm a long way from being able to talk about the later work with any real clarity... but i *do* believe that the "programmatic" nature of the more recent music is something which braxton was trying to achieve much earlier in his career... how successful he was, i guess that's a matter of opinion ;-)

Tantris said...

I suppose that the methodolgy is not dissimilar between the earlier collage pieces and the later GTM, but the effect is surely very different. I think of the earlier pieces as essentially about 'tradition and the individual talent', i.e. Braxton exploring his place in musical tradition, and refusing to be categorised either by Afro-American or European preconceptions. The later pieces, by contrast, explore the nature of consciousness and perception.

I've just been listening to a recording I made last nighr from RAI3 of AB with the Instabile Orchestra at last year's Alto Adige festival, in Composition no. 92, which illustrates this quite well.

centrifuge said...

tantris, well, the effect is surely very different for *you* - and that's fine, obviously, response to art being such a personal matter, always. and i'm certainly not denying that gtm has hypnotic/oneiric qualities. but i would be very wary of making assumptions about the composer's intentions at any given time, unless of course you have inside knowledge that the rest of us lack ;-)

you talk about the "early collage pieces" as if ALL the pre-90s compositions were of one stripe - which is of course very much not the case. even within the creative ensemble books, there is tremendous variation (and as regards shifts in consciousness - 23e..?), and there were always many pieces being written - if not always performed - for orchestras, or for other instrumentation than the creative jazz groups.

i have not yet heard the alto adige concert (thanks for putting it up though!), and i look forward to that. but... it does seem an odd example to cite in support of your basic argument. as you say in your post, comp. 92 dates from the late 70s - so the 2007 *performance* may have these qualities you find only in the later work - but clearly the piece itself cannot..?

centrifuge said...

tantris, forgive me if i misunderstood you with that last bit. now that i am listening to the (extraordinary) alto adige performance i think you meant that the piece was an example of the time it was written, not the time of the concert..? certainly, for long periods this is effectively very high-end (indeed concert-hall standard) free jazz, a small world away from gtm; yet not so very far away at times either: e.g., by 56.45 in the piece we could be in mid-"happening" in any number of gtm territories for larger groupings, especially accelerator class pieces...

but, again... during its frequent jazzy moods, it is not necessarily all that typical of the majority of b's pre-gtm output... and a lot of that jazz flavour/styling is brought to it by the italians i think.

thanks again for putting it up in any case - it is indeed a fascinating concert and i, too, will be returning to it during the next week to listen some more... not gonna say anything more about it on sol, may or may not have more to say about it here - !

(could be some minor sound glitches between 60-62 mins..? poss v. small partial dropouts in the radio stream by the sound of it... the sound on the whole is great though!)