Tyondai Braxton - Central Market listening party

Imogen Decordova 07/07/2009

Rating: 3/5

Usually when I review an album I'm generally cooped up in my dark grotty chambers, alone with only my quill and rats fighting in the shadows for company. For this particular solo debut, however, I find myself draped over a leather couch at the Roxy bar, roped off in a romantic room surrounded by burgundy drapes and candles, plied with a fountain of free alcoholic beverages (to sweeten me up and dull my senses I'm assuming).

A clever ploy to prevent leaking of any tracks whilst simultaneously earning Brownie points for the PR department of the record label in question, one of the leading forward thinking British independent record labels, Warp Records, home to Aphex Twin, Gang Gang Dance. God damn it, their evil plan just may well have worked!

Tyondai Braxton, the ambitious vocalist of 'complex time signatures and weird proggy effects' group Battles and son of legendary multi instrumentalist Anthony Braxton, releases Central Market a collection of compositions this September. From the classical compositional feel of Opening Bells, punctuated with syncopated rhythm at the record's beginning, I couldn't shake this vision of Braxton conducting an orchestra of Disney characters in some cartoonish green utopia; I was instantly reminded of the film score to Snow White.

As the record evolves we're interrupted by urgent horn sections, a bass heavy sequence and a plethora of quirky sounds from cowbells to kazoos on The Duck and the Butcher, to inaudible alien vocals interspersed between dull metallic noises. Braxton is in possession of an auditory crystal ball in which he predicts the sounds of the future.

In this sense Platinum Rows appears to be the more accessible track on the album for those not too down with epic orchestrated pieces, it's a far mellower, sludgier affair. A haze of apocalyptic, dirty guitar builds up in contrast to the rest of the record's clearer sheen, transforming it into grungy repetitive guitar chords and a rumbling bass line. The track is accompanied by Shamanic indecipherable vocals.
Central Market certainly has a narrative to it and felt to me like a chronological record of modern orchestration, guiding the listener by the hand into the '22nd century'.