Friday, January 16, 2009

cent's 2009 manifesto


right then. here i still am, but where is here, exactly?

one of my main intentions when i first got involved in all this was to try and create a meeting-place for anyone interested in anthony braxton's work. ok, a blog probably wasn't the ideal format but still, pretty clearly, i've failed in this! any number of people over the months have told me, publicly or privately, that they felt too intimidated to contribute (which most certainly was not the desired effect); i lost my "partner" early on, and never got him back - even though the site was actually his idea to begin with; i lost the energy needed to continue my own work, during the last summer (or what passed for a summer over here); and of course, over the last few months i have also fallen out with several sections of the online musical community in which i had formerly been involved. whatever else i have done here, i haven't really "made friends and influenced people". quite the reverse, apparently.

then again... as a few recent comments have confirmed, and despite the blog's almost total lack of activity lately, people with an interest in braxton's music do still check in here. this is of course reassuring, and it reminds me about something else i've been trying to do with this: contribute towards a greater understanding of the man's music. others are engaged in the same work, but probably not that many; certainly i've long since come to the conclusion that most of the critics (and many others) who claim to be fans of braxton's music don't actually listen to it very closely at all, and rarely have anything much to say about it - beyond paraphrasing someone else's liner notes or repeating discographical details. one thing i can guarantee is that i've put some serious thought into any analytical writing you read here. if you are really interested in braxton and his music, i hope that you will find this site to be worth a visit.

- and besides: as one reader pointed out a while ago, one on level what i do here is entirely for me. that's reason enough to keep going, and that's what i plan to do; how often i am able to post, and how much actual braxtothon work i can produce as a new parent, remains to be seen! the braxtothon is not the blog... the braxtothon was a specific project and by no means all of the articles on here are a part of it. at the outset, really what i had in mind was to try and continue that project as far as 1985, perhaps even 1993: one of my (undeclared) aims was to gain a better personal understanding of the "forces in motion" quartet and its formidably complex music. of course, back then i had no idea how slow my own progress would turn out to be, but still... i'm planning on going at least as far as 1985, if i can. what form the braxtothon will take by then, i'm not even going to guess at; right now, i still have to finish up with the last few entries from 2008, which is to say dortmund, montreux/berlin, and some general conclusions about the two versions of the quartet showcased on the latter double album. fingers crossed that i can get all that done within the next few months... check in from time to time and see how i'm doing ;-)

finally, to all those who are still reading and providing encouragement: thank you.

cent x

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm in no way qualified to contribute here (oh, yes indeed - that IS how it feels!) but I am very glad that this blog exists. It never was going to be a forum, now, was it; it's a passion written out. That was obvious from the start - and that's what makes it great, what makes it stand out. The level of thought and intelligence and, yes, passion makes it exceptional. I keep coming back here because there's always something more to make me think, to make me curious, to make me look further and harder. I may not agree with the views (I may not even understand, dammit!) but I do know that passion feeds passion.

Don't give up! Even an Anonymous such as myself - who, seriously, can contribute nothing to the discussion - would feel the loss.

Best wishes, and may 2009 be happier for you than 2008.

serviceton said...

beautifully said anonymous.
Et bonne chance papa !

McClintic Sphere said...

Sheepishly... ciao, Cent.

For those who wondered who the "partner" was... it was me. Cent and I started the blog, but he picked it up and ran with it. Almost a year ago now, I tried to jump back in -- wrote a long post, realized that it didn't say much. It's still saved as a draft somewhere, I guess, but that's not the point.

The intervening year has been tough. I was out of touch -- out of the country, offline -- for work for several months; a death in my immediate family; at Christmas, my father told us he has cancer.

Reading this blog, and listening to the music here celebrated, makes my life -- and more than a few others, I'm sure -- better. I want to say thank you, Cent, for your amazing work here.

I'm not sure what I can add -- I'm not, typically, wordy. I'll be around. And I'll be trying to figure out what I can add. For now, cheers to all. May the new year bring you peace, happiness, and music.

McC. S.

centrifuge said...

hi guys, and thanks - mcc, i am sorry to hear your news, will mail you soon. your draft post probably said more than you think it did, btw - well, it was very much unfinished as i recall, but it began promisingly enough :)

it's always a bit strange conversing with an anonymous commentator, but whoever you are, your wishes and words of encouragement are much appreciated!

and serviceton - merci, j'en aurai besoin ;-)

and now for something else which i want to get off my chest, following "under separate cover" as it were...

centrifuge said...

i just stuck my head into inconstant sol (as i still do from time to time, to see if there's anything truly essential to download - i have almost entirely stopped grabbing music off the net though, no time to process the files any more, never mind listen to the damn music!!) - and saw that sotise has pulled out of the blog he started. that in turn piqued my curiosity enough to read the comments (which i have not done since i stopped hanging out there)... and i was mildly outraged to see that someone is accusing me of (anonymously) starting whatever fight it was that led to sotise wanting to quit in the first place. hopefully anyone who comes here knows that i don't get involved in that sort of shit, and besides, as i said over there, i never comment on ANY blogs except under this name. goddamn cheek... grrr :(

Lucky said...

Cent - it's a long time since I dropped a comment here. But reading the stuff at Sotise's good-bye really made he rush here - you know who you are, don't you? Well, fellows who know you since the C#9 times certainly know that you never have or will be involved in things like that. that's what i wanted to say, and that's probably more than the whole accusation is worth it at all. ;)

I hope you and your family are in good health, and I fully can understand your decision regarding this place here. Whatever some may say, I know - and you really should know, too! - that your thoughts about Braxton are at a quality on their own in the whole blogosphere, and that you have a few followers who like what you read. I just want to remind you, what Mr. Braxton himself wrote in one comment.

All the best from here,
Lucky :)

Massimo Magee said...

Don't give up Cent!
I've got to say the scope and ambition of this project is still just as amazing as it was when you started, if not more so in that so much time has gone by and so many things have cropped up and yet you still intend to go on! Most people I could think of would have given up long before now!


Best of luck in 2009!

centrifuge said...

hello both, and thanks :)

lucky - cheers for those kind thoughts... and for that reassurance. yes, i hope that people who have been around in the musical blogosphere for a while know that whatever prickly sides i may have to my character, i am not a sneak or a troll... since when have i been afraid to say unpopular things under this name?! it does slightly make me wonder what people have been saying about me over there, that someone would jump to such a conclusion... but ONLY slightly, i.e. i don't actually need to know and shan't be making any special efforts to find out ;-) ... all the best to you and your family too (i expect i will mail you one of these days..!)

massimo - again, you're very kind. and yeah... my dogged obsessiveness, as one reader had it (a while ago), keeps me at it - although as you can see, the wheels come off from time to time! best of luck to you too, in your musical endeavours over the coming year... i confess it's been quite a while since i heard any of your work, i have scaled back all my online peregrinations to a great extent... but i'll try and make time to check out some of your recent offerings.

sotise said...

Congrat's on your newly sleep deprived state of parenthood..and indeed good luck , it aint easy to be sure.

Although you wouldn't know it, i still do read this blog every once in a while...

Some months ago i happened to notice a comment attatched to one of your posts ..which was one of the most relentlessly staggeringly ferocious attacks ive ever seen on the music related blogosphere.
it beggars belief that people who share such obsessive common interests can be so remorseless to one another.
Its exactly the sort of thing that made me remove myself from inconstant sol, i find it unbearably depressing.

i assure you that i , never thought for a minute that you had made those comments.

take care
M

centrifuge said...

sotise, thanks for the vote of confidence - and for the congrats and luck!

as for that other comment: well, i decided some time ago that most if not all of the negativity directed this way was emanating from the same source... and funnily enough, since i reached that conclusion (publicly) i haven't heard a peep out of the guy. but i expect he's still out there, sticking pins in his centri-doll and sharpening a stake in the hope of one day putting my head on it. whoever he is, he's a bit of a troubled soul.

yes, it was a little unsettling at the time; on the other hand, if someone really "hates" me that much without my having done anything to him personally, it's beyond my control and not really my problem. the thing is, you talk about "obsessive common interests", but i'm not sure what we all DO have in common - apart from the fact that we all probably ARE somewhat obsessive! the esoteric nature of the music attracts some people simply because it affords them a chance to feel superior; and in these cases it then follows that they believe their own taste to be superior to that of most other listeners. my "stalker" is definitely in this category. whether he genuinely derives any direct pleasure from music, as opposed to gloating over his immaculate collection, is something only he could tell you.

anyway... enjoy your "retirement", and good luck with the art work. art, now that's another sphere which attracts snobs - ! let's hope they stay away from your exhibitions. c x

ubu xxiii said...

It's still good. Braxton keeps on creating, & the music of 'alumni' like Taylor Ho Bynum & Mary Halvorson continues to inspire.
I hope we all manage to be as inexhaustible as they are.
Lang may yer lum reek in 2009 & beyond.

centrifuge said...

ubu-xxiii, hi there! i had been thinking about you over the previous few days - and excuse my tardiness in responding (usual well-repeated reasons)... thanks for your comment. yes, THB and mary halvorson are two musicians i am hoping to hear a bit more in the coming years... and the master keeps working, indeed a recent communication from him found him hard at it, composing for hours at a time... there is plenty more in the post, excuse the pun, so let's all stay at least semi-focussed and see what happens...

as you probably gathered i never did really make it back onto the messagebored, once i'd lost the habit it was very difficult to justify getting it back; besides, not the same for me without kk and improv. so i guess if i don't speak to you here i shall scarcely cross paths with you at all, but best wishes for 2009 and beyond to you too. cheers, c x

centrifuge said...

incidentally... if anyone is reading this... there was i, saying i "hadn't heard a peep" out of my stalker lately - and who was it trying to start that little smear campaign over at i.sol - ? i hadn't recognised him from that one comment, but then he tries hard to conceal his identity, moves around from place to place, uses different nicknames (etc) and is very careful not to give himself away - until he gets wound up, at which point he becomes instantly identifiable (to me, now!). after leaving my own comment just to clear things up, i hadn't been back in there to see what, if anything, resulted; but a couple of days ago i did go back in there and, sure enough - along with a fair few messages of support - THERE HE WAS, spitting his usual venom.

yes, it's true that i have irritated a fair few people over the last year or so; typical charges are that i'm arrogant, or overly aggressive, or disrespectful (to someone else's pet musician or critic - these same people are usually only too happy to be disrespectful to those whom *they* don't like)... some probably just think i'm a pretentious smartarse. but only ONE guy, apparently, actually thinks i'm the antichrist... and now i have a name for him. presumably he figured that he was safe over there, that i would never read that comment. by now he probably knows he's let the cat out of the bag again.

he never does stop to think that if i infuriate him THAT much, there must be some lessons in there for him too... but then he is the only person who *really* understands this music, so i suppose such lessons are beneath him..?

vsense said...

Just found the site through destination: OUT, just recently (re)discovered Braxton, I appreciate your insight.

centrifuge said...

... and i appreciate your stopping by to tell me that, thanks. hope you found enough here to be worth a revisit!