Observations: Tyondai Braxton: Experiment and expectation
Friday 27 November 2009
As Tyondai Braxton knows, the process whereby a final master copy of an artist's album is rendered can be stressful. "Frankly, I nearly lost my mind," he says.
If Braxton – who is best known for co-fronting the experimental supergroup Battles and as the son of the celebrated jazz composer and musician Anthony Braxton – is nervous about how his second solo album will be received, it is understandable. The commercial success of Battles' acclaimed debut album, Mirrored, means that Central Market will likely reach a larger audience than his 2002 debut solo album, History That Has No Effect, but how a record that segues between pastoral moments and innovative use of the kazoo will play with an indie-rock demographic is anybody's guess.
The well-founded hope is that Battles' fans are an open-minded lot, and Central Market certainly deserves to be heard, not least because the conservatory-trained Braxton has poured heart, soul and a dazzling degree of invention into its complex yet playful arrangements. At times, it sounds as though Igor Stravinsky and Carl Stalling, the celebrated composer of music for Warner Bros cartoons, are locking antlers.
Crucially, earnings from Mirrored enabled Braxton to realise a long-held ambition: on Central Market, he gets to score for orchestra. He says excitement blinded his fear when working with the Wordless Music Orchestra, the ensemble best known for collaborating with the Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood on "Popcorn Superhet Receiver" helping him take his own vision to new heights.
'Central Market' and the deluxe vinyl version with free download is out now on Warp
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