Four CDs of music by (or featuring) Tyondai Braxton.

Above are four CDs of music by (or featuring) the American composer and musician Tyondai Braxton. My introduction to his work came via the 2007 album Mirrored by Battles (top left), whose front-man he was at the time. Its lead single ‘Atlas’ fascinated me, even if I only seldom returned to listen through the album as a whole. Two years later, Braxton’s solo album Central Market (top right) appeared, a highly original confection of electronic and ‘classical’ instrumentation. The unfamiliar blend of sounds and the peculiarly jaunty rhythms combine to disconcerting effect. I’m still not even sure I like this music, but now and again I’ll get drawn back to listen to it again.

HIVE1 (bottom left, 2015) is a predominantly electronic affair, with the sounds of synths and samplers augmented by percussion. I don’t know whether the percussion is likewise synthetic, or ‘organic’. ‘Gracka’ might be my favourite track on it. Unlike its predecessors, it’s a record I straightforwardly enjoy hearing all the way through. Bottom right is the most recent arrival of the four, ordered a couple of months ago, namely Telekinesis (2022). This is a single composition for large orchestra and chorus (with additional electric guitar and live electronics) that falls into four sections and has a total playing time of about 35 minutes. It’s music inspired by the anime Akira, without being any kind of retrospective soundtrack to it. I prefer the opening two ‘movements’ to the closing ones, but then I’m still getting to know the piece so my feelings could well change.