Sound American 16: The Anthony Braxton Issue
As a dancer, being inside of Braxton’s system is a liberating experience - similar to the feelings expressed elsewhere in this issue by his musical collaborators.
"I was recently back in the old basement in my childhood home, and the extremely faded photo of Braxton is still affixed where it always has been, next to childhood heroes whose hold on me has proven far more tenuous.
I fixed on a mental image of that photo when, at the end of a very packed 10+1tet performance at the Big Ears Festival in Tennessee, I glanced to my right and saw an only slightly aged version next to me, holding an alto he had recently made sound transcendentally alien. [He was] smiling, on the verge of tears (as was I), at the blurry sea of applause rising out of the seats in the concert hall in appreciation of the preceding hour of pure Braxton." - Nate Wooley
"Deep trees, abandoned stone foundations, wild blackberry bushes, rickety wooden bridges over muddy brooks. I felt like a protagonist in a children’s fantasy novel – finding a portal to the unexpected, full of secrets and surprise, discovery and adventure. It was a feeling I recognized from playing Anthony Braxton’s music." - Taylor Ho Bynum
"You stick with me, sir, and I'll make you a billionaire! - Anthony Braxton
"...when I find myself shutting off the radio or closing my laptop, frustrated by 'the news,' my thoughts turn to a particular memory of Anthony Braxton: boarding an international flight with him and noticing an enormous, seemingly divergent stack of printed news publications under his arm. Braxton intently leafed through this spectrum of monthlies, weeklies, dailies, glossies, and tabloids—everything from US Weekly to The Herald Tribune—for the duration of our flight. I am grateful for this memory. It very simply illustrates Braxton’s ethos: to perceive the human experience from every possible point of view. Braxton exemplifies a way of being in the world I aspire to achieve; the very effort of doing so orients my approach toward all music and lends me a greater understanding of his". - Erica Dicker
"Why would he edit the music that was recorded when he wants his listeners to be able to experience the totality of what is possible and create their own experience? Braxton isn't asking the listener to pour over every detail in every recording (though that is certainly possible); he just wants to give listeners the resources necessary to create their own version down the line and to ensure diversity and multiplicity in his massive sound catalog." - Carl Testa
"I have from the beginning taken the position that I never plan to give up anything that I’ve learned." - Anthony Braxton
Graham Lock. Hmmm. There are a lot of things I’d like to clarify.
Anthony Braxton. You realise we’re only just getting into it. (Laughs.)
"...the combined action space of Trillium E, in terms of orchestrating sonic events, is a layering principle that I refer to as my version of the Dream Space—which is very different from Wagner’s Dream Space; certainly different from Stockhausen’s Dream Space or Mr. Ellington’s Dream Space in the sacred musics." - Anthony Braxton