Saturday, July 12, 2008

gtm wednesday, part three

[final instalment - though there will be more to say soonish about a second long form gtm experience..! see comments, pt2 (sigh)]

6. 1530 - comp. 356 - chiasso, 2008 (unreleased - not iridium, disc seven) *

(the odd one out, the only session of the day which is not an official recording)

- similar palettes, in theory, on offer here as in the previous sesh, but twelve years later and with a total change of personnel - and the effect is markedly different, at least from the later sections of the istanbul concert which seemed to undergo a marked entropic shift... well, that's how that one appeared to me on this occasion, attentions divided as they were, and this one? waaaay more aggressive, right from the start, everyone practically blowing hot as if this were simply an unusually complex free jazz date... or maybe i've just heard a lot of gtm by this point, but that's how it comes across to me. in any case, the sextet really sounds focussed and hungry from the word go. [of course, by now they are all seasoned interpreters of the man's music and have also been benefiting continually from their involvement with it, and with him. and their enrichment nourishes him in turn, and so it continues in an upward spiral, not the sort we hear much about in (the dialogue about) everyday western life.]

- braxton's first solo evidently is very hot on this one too; weakly enough, i have to admit that by the time i come to write about it, i can't remember anything about the experience at all (18th june, 12th july) but there it is in the notes, i got totally distracted from whatever i was "meant to" be doing at that moment by the leader's playing - my next comment is "never stops being hot even when it ain't", and again, i can't quite remember what i meant by that at the time.

- somewhere around 20mins in? the strings play part of 23h

- and then we are asleep for a bit, the sort of experience tantris was talking about recently... and all i can do is repeat what i said to him at the time, namely that this experience is one which feels intimately familiar to me already by now, even though my learning edge is still (yep) stranded back there in the first mountain range, 1976...wake, sleep... drift...wake suddenly... lots of activity...etc etc, it's a familiar pattern, a set of long-sighted rhythms in sequence, with plenty of wiggle room for the music as it takes life and breathes.

- much later, there is a brass march set against a sort of extreme metal/grindcore soundscape, which "works so well" - again, though that rings a delightful bell, i can't remember clearly who played the latter part - halvorson obviously, plus dalhgren presumably... what was siegel doing? i shall have to listen again and find out :)

7. 1635 - comp. 207 (yoshi's ninetets, first night, first set)

[- reeds reeds reeds... i daresay a few potential listeners, especially those starting around now, have blanched and balked at the thought of a nonet - sorry, ninetet - encompassing six saxes. i mean, that's front-loaded, plus these are early species gtm's so some find them a little dry. myself, having bought vols 1-3 (those which were available at the time - vol 4 emerged soon after) last xmas, i listened to them in order, once each over a period of a month or so and enjoyed some more than others at the time; this wasn't one of the ones i particularly enjoyed, and i hadn't heard any of them since (time!!)...]

- and my first thought this time is, yeah, that sounds great! - it's another fast piece, a complex clock set on fast forward, or maybe a beehive... norton is essential to this atmosphere early on. guess what, i can't remember why (as always i am compelled to list my failures as a listener or writer alongside everything else) but i'll guess he starts on vibes.

- first time round, i had trouble believing that nine players were involved, though over the hour - and especially over the series - that came to make more sense. but it certainly didn't sound like the racket one might expect from six sax players - the usual assumption is that one is rarely hearing all nine players at one time, and although this is certainly true at times, there are also, i realise now, passages where the whole ensemble is playing. indeed, this time, the size of the larger ensemble (compared to the previous two sextets) is noticeable at once. the extra weight is felt, literally straight away. and i realise that in certain cases the notes and attacks are so perfectly synchronised that the unattuned ear can easily hear one player where there are two or perhaps even three. (naturally this effect will tend to diminish in pieces which use the diamond clef.)

- as usual (a habit which has long persisted) braxton breaks out first, this time taking o'neil with him. the thing is... every solo from this guy is a blinder, so what conceivable reason is there for not wanting him to take first solo (that is after all what they are, even though they are not all backed in the usual jazz manner, i.e. deferentially) - it's not intimidation, it's encouragement...

- "it takes a while, but the potential for reed marvels is vast of course" - at the time i agreed quietly with certain others who felt that the palette was too heavily weighted in favour of reed scientists - of course, this would have been forced on our man to an extent, we can assume that for a while the majority of players who went to college specifically to work with him would have been reedmen... for a while... eventually plenty of others came forth {{{***}}} in any case, far from seeming a limitation to me now, the plethora of horns is a delight all in itself.

- there are times where the horns all sound amazing, but o'neil seems to be on a different page altogether. then again... perhaps he is on a page all of his own; doubtless this would be ok. but does it work? again, if it doesn't ... that would still be ok. nobody is going to get hit over the head in this school.

- again, winding down the effect of the six horns is fabulous, all mumbling and pecking away, an extrapolated version of the conversational implications of comp.98. great... stuff...!

8. 1745 - comp. 286 (+147-20-69d-256-173-6j-162-23a) - disc two (link - trs. 3-4)

[i didn't make this clear in part one, but early on i made the decision to bracket the day with the two halves of this same piece, since it had to be split over two discs anyway - to what extent would i be able to hold over the ending of the first disc, and would i notice the expanded ensemble that much more after all the previous attuning?]

- yes, straight away the large grouping is noticeable, but not at all in any cluttered way ... i just found myself thinking, what a magnificent racket - much the same reaction i'd had at the start of the day in fact. robair in particular seems to have perfected the art of making his various idiophones and membranophones sound as if they began life as a dustbin. this is a compliment though :)

for a while quite near the end (i think..? sigh, can't quite remember now) there is a very memorable effect indeed: it's as if the hardcore regulars of a local boozer have been swooped up mid-argument, probably drunken and definitely loud but not violent - and dumped on a raft which is then set down a swift river, still arguing all the way as they are flung along, balancing for dear life. it's just... beautiful :-D

- and that was about it, for this first ghost trance music day - during the last piece i was heavily distracted, if i remember rightly i also had to switch rooms (and therefore players) midway through, also i was half expecting mrs c to arrive any minute, though in the event she was a little late and i squeezed it all in... the programme, assembled on the fly in just a few mins before i began, lasted just the right length of time, no breaks were needed... i'll be doing this sort of thing again..!

* * *

* alternatively, my one-part mp3 download of the chiasso 356 is available in the may 31st post gtm file here.

oh yeah i forgot: the words INSTANT SIDESTEP are written large on the first page of my scanty notes for this day... instant sidestep... translocation ticket... whatever, the effect to the attuned ear is that as soon as piece of gtm begins, the listener is whisked off instantaneously to another place, where everything is permitted for consideration, all voices are cherished... and all souls get the nourishment and support they need.

[the second such day, alluded to above, was very different - nine separate visits to the same alternate plane - now what could i possibly be talking about?!]


centrifuge said...

damn, but i've been moving slowly... even i didn't think i would still be writing up notes from june 18th in mid-july. and as for the braxtothon, don't even ask... but that's how it is, and it all continues at its own pace, i've learned i can't force it. this seems to be a natural rhythm for the time being. well, maybe it could be speeded up just a touch ;-)

what did i learn from the day, besides the various scattered impressions listed in the three posts? it was very hard to say, and the end, with me expecting to run out of time, was quite an anticlimax... suitably, when i then went out for the evening (across the bay to my mate's, where else?) i took with me an old cassette i hadn't heard in years, two albums a friend had recorded for me (unrequested) - i shan't name them here but they were both *shite* and for thefirst time ever, on the way home (much) later, i ended up doing something i've never done before - impulsively, driving past the local rubbish tip i threw the tape out the window (alas, not as satisfying as i'd hoped).

the evening itself was not an anticlimax at all, and the effects of the day... well, they took a long time to be felt and absorbed (as i suspected they might) - and are quite hard to relate now! everything is tied into everything else... the more i think in these terms, the more i realise that braxton's is (probably) the perfect music for me because every little detail reflects everything else in real time - which in turn becomes the way in which i live and experience my life - at the moment it has taken me several weeks to read (what's supposedly) an adventure novel, and i still have finished, reading only a few pages at a time and pausing to let the impact take effect, since it is clearly one of those books with relevance for me... sorry, i digress...

2. so, after making myself wait a whole year (after i first plugged it on c#9) - when the iridium box arrived last monday i still made myself wait until thurs to open it. monday night i took it out of the envelope in its bubblewrap and held it a few times ;-) thursday, fuck - seized the chance, mrs c being unable to avoid working an early shift - at 7.30am on july 10th i began engaging with the 12+1tet soundworld, and i disengaged 9 hrs 45 mins later, having downed the whole draught, so to speak, taken in every note (in one way or another) from beginning to end... well, more to come in due course! meanwhile, back to braxtothon time and a quick shift onwards...

centrifuge said...

still have NOT finished the book, of course...

Jason Guthartz said...

at 7.30am on july 10th i began engaging with the 12+1tet soundworld, and i disengaged 9 hrs 45 mins later, having downed the whole draught, so to speak, taken in every note (in one way or another) from beginning to end...

Didn't you read the warning label on the box?

centrifuge said...

:-D ha..! i guess i didn't look carefully enough...

(j, been meaning to mail you for a while... i'll try and do so in the next couple of days)

Frédito said...

Having recently encountered the Ninetet's rendition of Composition 207, I kept traces of personal highlights :
Drums during the start ;
7mn > 16mn (rêverie at 9mn, sax at 12mn15s, sonorities around 14mn, guitar at 15.30) ;
24mn45s > 27mn55s ;
"return" (must be the return of the pulse)at 40 mn ;
suspens at 50mn ;
growls at 54mn ;
58mn > 64mn ;
sax at 66mn ;
Some of these indications are vague, but I thought I would give them in the perspective of future discussions on this recording.

centrifuge said...

fredito, yes - this sort of thing is basically how i do it, only of course i tend more towards imagistic notes; but the main thing is to note the times when x,y,z happens so you know what to refer back to, later on...

i would like to find the time to play all eight cds, back to back... don't know how long it's gonna be before i get that chance! then again, there will be a vol. 5 at some point i think (and a vol. 6? can't remember how many nights there were off the top of my head)

Frédito said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frédito said...

Eight cds would make a solid little braxtothon inside the main braxtothon !

centrifuge said...

hello again! yes, it sure would... i have only attempted such a thing once, when i played the entire iridium box on my 38th birthday :)

mind you, there is no way i would even consider making a braxtothon out of it, as such - i can only countenance such undertakings if the music is at least partly in the background; if i tried to concentrate throughout (as i do, or try to do, in braxtothon sessions) i might never return to "normal" ;-) (and of course even if i did, i would be left with far too impressions to write up... even by my standards..!

(btw - may i ask why you deleted your earlier comment..? i have it in my email of course, can't see what was "wrong" with it)

c x