Album Review: Tyondai Braxton – Central Market

September 18, 2009


Concept: The son of jazz saxophonist Anthony Braxton seeks to create ‘new classical music’.

Sound: Braxton’s diagnosis is more or less accurate. A lot of the time the math-rock influence shows its classical roots, and the orchestral instrumentation swimming in the strange electronic effects further tempts the comparison. Some tracks, most notably J. City, are closer to 90’s ‘alternative,’ sounding remarkably like a chopped and screwed version of The Verve Pipe. The two biggest issues this album faces are balancing the ingenuity of its passages with their repetition and the glut of quirky noises. This could be summed up as ‘too much of a good thing,’ such as when you eat too many candy canes and everything else tastes like peppermint for the rest of the day. Sometimes it’s hard to hear the flute melody over the firecracker solo.

Lyrics: Largely disguised by distortion, but what can be discerned seems confused and unassuming, a more approachable and earthly take on They Might Be Giants‘ grab-bag lyrical content. (With all my heart, I have no idea/the whole room/ exploding into laughter/…/Calm down/she don’t even know you, you, you.)

Quick And Dirty: A storm of influences which dries clear, but the songs as individual pieces could use more elaboration, although that might be asking too much of an exhaustive composer. (♦♦♦♦)


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