Wednesday, March 16, 2011

broadcast from centrispace

rrrrright.... after the burst of enthusiasm summed up in the previous post, i found myself totally computerless for almost a week; maddeningly frustrating, but there it was - and just got back online yesterday. i am currently on one of my "holiday weeks", i.e. paid not to go to work but not actually away anywhere... alas, these weeks are not what they once were, not since parenthood... hence the "week" basically ended up being a morning and an afternoon. never mind, never mind... no, not enough time for any serious braxtothon work (and to think i once tried to spend a maximum of thirty mins on those write-ups..! fuck... lifetime ago... not that i usually managed to stick to the time limit anyway) - but then i still haven't quite got that one going again, have i? not yet - the station remains empty for the time being.

- but there is enough time to recapture some of that recent excitement, especially since we are now ten days further into spring... as well as catching up with some blog admin (see second section below) and detailing a few discographical corrections (... third... ) i have a few hours in which to write some stuff up, namely the ninetet braxbite (coming next) and the châteauvallon revisit (up after that). and listen to some music of course... well, that's the plan anyway.

incidentally... one could be forgiven for not noticing, but i did FINALLY get that stubborn, unwilling-to-be-birthed john tchicai concert piece done. (the post which followed was a sort of afterthought.) don't bother reading if you're looking for a detailed account of mr tchicai's playing (or indeed of anyone else's...) ;-)


as previously noted, the recent restructuring at restructures meant that all my links to the discog were gone, 404'd... and i set myself to fixing that, starting from the beginning... and got further than i had expected by the time we lost the computer. i've had another crack at these this morning and i now find myself (in blog admin terms, you understand, not in braxtothon time) in april 2008. which is actually not such a bad place to hang out, since that, too, was a pretty happy and well-aspected time (*1). the three playlists are all done, by the way, properly linked up for the first time ever. (*2)


with my (generally) shit workrate i'm not necessarily the best man for the job, but i could work well as part of a team: those new braxton house boots offer some fascinating gems, mostly new discoveries for me, but there aren't half some corrigenda. (and to be fair they do put forward the customary disclaimer.) what i am still curious (i.e. unenlightened) about is at which point the communication broke down. jason guthartz and jon piper are both on the board at tricentric now, i see (which is great - very encouraging). but apparently the tracklists for the boots just went onto the page as found, without anyone running them past b's (self-appointed) discographer and gigographer (*3). time musta been tight! anyway... let's hope that we can all get that sorted out in the fullness of time, and meanwhile, i shall do my bit and report on my findings as they are made (*4).

the story so far:

a) solo (france) 1971. this is the strangest of the bunch, since j's entry for the recording must be very recent, yet his tracklist is different from the one that accompanies the recording. i have already mentioned the corrections which come next, albeit tucked away in a comment on an old post where hardly anyone was gonna find them: the first two pieces, as is stated everywhere, were included on the "rarities" compilation news from the 70s (every home... etc) where they are identified as comps. 8c and 8g respectively; these have been re-examined at some point, and jason now gives them as comp. 26d and comp. 8b. this is not, of course, what it says on the NBH bootleg page so i double-checked, using the solo alto albums for reference, and satisfied myself that the identifications at restructures are correct. well spotted, whoever got those... (i haven't yet checked the id's for the three "new" tracks, given the same way in both places... it's on my to-do list... yes, i know...)

b) quartet (avignon) 1974. jg is happy to endorse the (truncated) tracklist for this one, but differs as to precise date (20th vs. 21st july). the idea of a 35-min rendering of my old mate comp. 6i seemed pretty unlikely but sure enough, that's exactly what it is - and it is fantastic, consistently gripping and filled with stuff i've never heard before but not, apparently, taking in any other primary territories (or indeed secondary ones, at least not named territories as opposed to spontaneous outgrowths). HIGHly recommended...

... but whatever the second piece is, it's not comp. 6l as far as i can see. the distinctive "slow-stepping" theme is entirely absent - and it is above all this device which characterises that piece (*5). but it's still really good. it's also pretty surreal because at a certain point [only listened to that one this morning but have already forgotten the time, i'm afraid] the sound "of" a synth or electronic processor kicks in and proceeds to modulate slowly up and down in (sort of) time with the music, i.e. in a fashion absolutely, nay quintessentially braxton (and i don't use that word lightly, nor will you read it hear often) - yet in 1974? just a howling ghost which took refuge in the recording at some stage during the (tediously long and involved) transfer lineage... or was mr teitelbaum involved, suddenly popping up at the side of the stage? surely that would be listed on the info, partially inaccurate as it is; and besides it really doesn't sound like him... perhaps a teenage masami akita was in europe at this time (he wasn't) and gatecrashed the stage with a modified theremin... anyway... it's all good, whatever it is, lots of energy at this point in the quartet's existence, and it all still sounds as fresh as the day it was recorded (obviously).

c) quartet (bremen) 1975 - i already wrote pretty, ah, extensively about this one so i'm not gonna repeat myself... i have actually downloaded this version as well just to see what the differences are in presentation/editing (folly ftsw's needed quite a bit of work doing to it in that regard) but haven't even opened the file yet. [actually i'm in 1993 right now "listening" to the great quartet - not that one, see f) and g) below - every time i focus in on it for a bit (instead of blathering to the great god blog) i realise how absolutely incredible this music is/was/will (always) be] - no diff's between TCF and guthartz.

d) quartet (graz) 1976 - nice to have a complete listing for this one. but, as i have already shown (and shall continue showing..!) the identification of the long third file as comp. 40l/comp. 40d is not necessarily 100% reliable, and i haven't checked it (yet). guthartz has it the same.

e) orchestra (paris) 1978 - haha, off the topic a bit but the sound on this one is so shit that even a guerilla commentator (i.e. non-audiophile) like me has not yet found the stomach to listen to it... shame as it's a really fucking great band (i must speak again to mr naughton re this one)

f) quartet (new york) 1993 - set 1 - that's not 40m, that's rather comp. 40k second up...

g) quartet (new york) 1993 - set 2 - ... and that is actually comp. 69b kicking off the second set, not 69m. no trouble identifying that one, since i'd already had to locate it when the same quartet, minus leader, played it first up (i think ms crispell likes this one) at the tribute concert last year. (the next two selections, comps. 23c/40(o) were rather less imaginative choices... and/but who knows where they were heading when b. jumped onstage and took them into/towards "impressions")  - there is also a simple and clear duet available for comparison. [69m sounds totally different, a fast and playful theme typical of the quartet(s) with ray anderson.]

- this was also the only number on which i id'd a secondary territory, in this case comp. 6n which is played with the bow by dresser (beautifully - as if that needed to be said).

(restructures rather sensibly chooses not to commit at all on these)

- there is bound to be some collaging going on here (both sets) but maybe not so much. what really typifies this band - other than the sheer "incredibility" factor alluded to in c) above - is the clean economy of it, all the players so well and truly grown up by now that they can get right inside the music without needing to break sweat and make life extra-challenging for themselves, hence there doesn't seem to be much collaging, not compared with 1985.

and they really do get right inside the music... utterly wonderful... and you know what, the band didn't just play one night on that engagement, they played the night before as well (and was that it? or did it continue all weekend, a mini-residency just like our man specialises in - whenever he gets the chance..?) - this one is not up at TCF but i have just (yesterday) got hold of it and again both sets are complete and the sound fidelity is extremely good. and no, i can't put numbers to any of it yet and although some of it is defintiely familiar, i haven't tried - the coalface has moved much deeper in than the four songbooks now, and my learning edge is still trapped back there in 1976 (or edging round the corner into '77 depending on how you look at it)... listing concert sets from this era is very very hard and i'll gladly shake the hand of anyone that even (seriously) attempts it - many themes sound similar, at least prima facie (but 'twas ever thus, and not just with this composer), and there are many to choose from, some of them only popping up in the discog once and others perhaps not at all... nightmare... but we'll get there i expect..!


and that's that for the time being... there will be more... end of "holiday" but ah, spring at last  :)

* see comments


centrifuge said...

ha! like i was ever gonna get anything else written, after that... i guess i underestimated how much there was to squeeze into the "boots" segment of that post... and how slowly i was gonna be moving on a day like today. well, hey, it's my "holiday" after all - and genuinely lovely outside, a beautiful (if hazy) spring day all round... and besides, i found that i had to give at least SOME of my attetnion to the music, esp. the '93 quartet (did i mention how good that band is? arf)

ah well.. some footnotes at least, to be getting on with...

1. admittedly the memories of this period are a bit double-edged looking back, since i already knew (but hadn't told anyone) that were expecting a baby later in the year... and felt very positive about that, as well one might when the event is a whole summer away and more - little did i know how hard it was gonna be :-S

2. hmf, the computer on which those playlists were put together is long since hors de combat... a lot of photos lost, at least until such time as we can pay someone to deep-recoved them, and a music database which is hopelessly corrupt, and too long out of date to synchronise with a current ipod or whatever... sigh... they did get plenty of play though, while they lasted...

3. not sure what this makes me. self-appointed commentator/annotator..?

4. believe it or not, this part of what i do (i.e. identifying stuff) is more of a (self-imposed) duty than an outright pleasure, at least most of the time, and it can take a while to get round to it...

5. ok, i haven't actually checked that assertion against the composition notes... i reckon it's pretty safe though.

centrifuge said...

i just remembered another correction to the details on the boots pages... again to the '93 quartet, second set: the encore is comp. 6a, not comp. 69n. actually this is beginning to make me wonder if ANY of the given track list is correct, or if it was just compiled using the dartboard method ;-)

something else i forgot to say last week: at least a couple of those boots feature applause/spoken link tracks which are "flac only". can't really see why that would be the case, but it goes hand in hand with the anti-mp3 stance taken on the site - rather disappointingly to my mind, since there is no need for such a positive organisation to be associated with something so negative as audio snobbery. (and yes, it is snobbery... a highly loaded word like "anathema" just doesn't belong there.) i meant to go on record as saying that i want to see this comment removed from the site. we'll see how far i get with that one... yes, i understand that traders cannot have much use for lossy formats (though the idea that tape-to-tape is somehow "lossless" has certainly never been borne out by my experience - don't forget, i used to collect demo tapes and i can assure you that repeated copying in that medium DOES result in loss of fidelity after a while). however, collectors..? i collect, and mp3 is not anathema to me as you can see. what, i'm not a "real" collector? i'm sure there are many out there who would think not... but we're just back to snobbery again. the whole business is really just a "purity issue", the music itself is a red herring - though you could tie these guys down and torture them and they would still never admit it. one of these days i will actually post something along these lines. meanwhile, this'll have to do...