Friday, January 11, 2008

cent's 2008 manifesto / lessons learned


happy new year to anyone who is reading... this project has been neglected of late, then saw a brief flurry of pre-xmas activity, which in turn generated no interest at all so that i ended up neglecting it again.

that's no good is it? i am here to celebrate the continuing life and music of anthony braxton... the desire to keep doing this has not gone away (though questions of point and futility do keep nagging at me). so i am going to return to it, and i am going to keep at it... and rumour has it that mcclintic sphere may even join in as well.

now, as regards the braxtothon in particular: i got very excited about it, but what did i learn? i do certainly know more about b's music than i did at the start; of course i also am now more keenly aware of how much i don't know. that's ok, though.

one thing is clear to me, at least... when the chronological journey continues (which it will, at some point), it will have to change somewhat. the idea of listening intently and as if for the first time, then at once setting down my ideas and impressions - it seems to have had some value, but it has many limitations. among them:

one, it became too hard to continue because SO many impressions were coming that writing the sessions up was getting to be very draining; in the end it just became a chore (at which point of course i stopped).

two, even under these circumstances i was not able to shake off the half-finished, wide-eyed writing style which i developed as a teenage short-story writer and never quite left behind. i start writing - there it still is. that irritates me.

three, as previously outlined (see the december post functional stack), in only hearing the recordings once and immediately sweeping on i was denying myself not just the chance to learn more about what i'd heard, but also the chance to check my own responses. when i came back to some of the recordings at playlist time, i was genuinely shocked to see how very different some things sounded when revisited, or when taken out of context.

so... when i return to braxtothon phase three - whenever that turns out to be - there will be some policy changes. the first listening session will go as before; then i shall allow myself some short amount of time in which to revisit, relisten, read up a bit maybe and generally let my impressions settle and coalesce. then i shall do the writing... also, as much as it still makes sense to me (in principle) to avoid reading anyone else's thoughts about material i'm about to hear, it's no longer practical to be militant about that. i have read too much and heard too much now. so whilst i don't plan to seek out other reviews as such, i shan't insist on ignoring them from now on.

what i hope to achieve by all this is a more balanced (and hopefully more succinct and focussed) rendering of my own thoughts on the recordings.

time will tell whether it works.

* * * * *

in the meantime... i have been listening to lots of things and have various unfinished, half-assed observations to make on quite a few of them... and some of these will start going up presently, along with whatever else comes to mind. hey, you never know, i may yet even publish those gig reviews from back in november..! of course, i have to write them first... but it's possible (fingers crossed) that the delay will mean a bit more focus and concision for once.

finally... i never quite did finish publishing the existing braxtothon entries. there didn't seem to be any point in putting them all up at a time when no-one was reading, or when everyone was busy with other things... those who are interested, please note that some of the remaining entries appear below, published in december (note that the review of the chateauvallon '73 gig is in two parts, which is probably not clear if one sees part two first. if you know what i'm saying). during the next couple of weeks i will put up the last two entries. the final session of phase two - new york fall '74 - is now just going to have to carry over to phase three. i can live with that.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do not give up the Braxothon! I enjoy reading your impressions. Of course, I also love eating my morning Cheerios while listening to Trillium R and have contemplated tattooing my arms in Braxton schematics. Keep up the good work. The music is life.

Sam said...

Hey, don't think we're not reading just because there are no comments! I'm just catching up! And am often too busy to respond with a comment...but I'm reading and enjoying it all..I've run into the thing of wanting to listen multiple times to each record, so it's hard to get very far...got through the Comp. 25 creative orchestra thing about 3 or 4 times...still absorbing it...so the pace is good! Keep up the good work!

centrifuge said...

thanks guys. much appreciated... i know people don't always find time to comment but i can assure you it's (always) *greatly* valued by bloggers - we get nothing else from it obviously! you don't know you've reached anyone if they don't tell you... of course i am in correspondence privately with people i have met through c#9 etc, and i know some of them read it from time to time, as i do theirs so i would continue anyway; but it is certainly an added incentive when you can actually bring people into conversation and potentially take things a lot further! or even not - just knowing that you've provided entertainment or food for thought is a satisfaction in itself. of course i am vain enough to get a kick out of seeing my own self-important words scrawled on a page at times, but it's a quick hit and leaves a nasty aftertaste. not for nothing are there two meanings of "vanity" ;-)

sam, i gotta get back to comp. 25 myself sometime... i'd be very interested to know how much of my muted response to it was environmental, so to speak, rather than innately responsive to the music - i loved the opening section but struggled with parts of it. then again the structure/development will presumably be that bit more clear when i return to it... i wish i had time for multiple plays of the stuff i've already covered! not yet, but as i say, going forwards that's the way i want to do it...