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Forces In Motion: The Music And Thoughts Of Anthony Braxton

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This book should be required reading for anyone interested in my music. Graham Lock writes from the perceptual plane of insight and dedication-coupled with a keen wit and a dynamic intellect.


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This book should be required reading for anyone interested in my music. Graham Lock writes from the perceptual plane of insight and dedication-coupled with a keen wit and a dynamic intellect.

30 review for Forces In Motion: The Music And Thoughts Of Anthony Braxton

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tentatively, Convenience

    A friend who worked in a record store turned me onto Braxton in the '70s. To say that I was impressed by his wind-instrument playing abilities wd be an understatement. To say that I've referred to him as the "greatest wind player" is, indeed, true. These days I'm tempted to like my friend Ben Opie maybe a little more in that regard, but, SHEESH!, they're both amazing. I remember playing some Braxton in a bkstore where I worked back in the '80s - a customer came in & blurted out: "My grandson can A friend who worked in a record store turned me onto Braxton in the '70s. To say that I was impressed by his wind-instrument playing abilities wd be an understatement. To say that I've referred to him as the "greatest wind player" is, indeed, true. These days I'm tempted to like my friend Ben Opie maybe a little more in that regard, but, SHEESH!, they're both amazing. I remember playing some Braxton in a bkstore where I worked back in the '80s - a customer came in & blurted out: "My grandson can play better than that!" I replied: "You must have a very talented grandson!" Idiot.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Declan

    Anthony Braxton is, in my opinion, one of the greatest creative artists alive and this book is an immensely readable introduction to his way of thinking about music, race, community and the ways in which we limit our understanding of the world. In essence the book is an account of the tour he and Marilyn Crispell, Mark Dresser and Gerry Hemmingway undertook in England in 1985 and there are lengthy interviews with each of the musicians (each a special talent in their own right/rite). Luckily, one Anthony Braxton is, in my opinion, one of the greatest creative artists alive and this book is an immensely readable introduction to his way of thinking about music, race, community and the ways in which we limit our understanding of the world. In essence the book is an account of the tour he and Marilyn Crispell, Mark Dresser and Gerry Hemmingway undertook in England in 1985 and there are lengthy interviews with each of the musicians (each a special talent in their own right/rite). Luckily, one can also hear many of their performances which were released on the Leo label. Mr. Braxton speaks and thinks in his own unique way and, among other talents, he has a great knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, all sorts of music including, back then, being an early champion of the music of the magnificent Hildegard von Bingen. One genius recognizing another.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I guess I could keep poking around in the appendices forever, but for all intents and purposes, I'm done with this book. It's hard to overemphasize what a huge impression this book (and Braxton's work) made on me. It's one of those rare few moments in your life when you're led through a portal leading to something so truly new, so alien to everything you're used to, that it opens up your world-view. Braxton's music made that kind of impression on me, and Lock's book, a perfect combination of rig I guess I could keep poking around in the appendices forever, but for all intents and purposes, I'm done with this book. It's hard to overemphasize what a huge impression this book (and Braxton's work) made on me. It's one of those rare few moments in your life when you're led through a portal leading to something so truly new, so alien to everything you're used to, that it opens up your world-view. Braxton's music made that kind of impression on me, and Lock's book, a perfect combination of rigorous analysis and documentation with an accessible, easy-to-read tone, made this the gateway to what will no doubt be years of more difficult Braxton scholarship. I'm currently reading 'New Musical Figurations,' which should expand on Lock's discoveries about Braxton's musical system (which are written with a tone of bafflement, intending, I suppose, to draw the reader into this potentially baffling universe), contextualizing the mountains of referents within the frameworks of music and mysticism. But this will always be the book that got me started on the obsession. If you want to get a toe-hold into Anthony Braxton's rarefied musical world, start with this book, and a copy of the 'Quartet (Coventry) 1985' 2CD. Not only does it preserve a performance from the 'Forces In Motion' band, it also contains a moment-by-moment analysis of the musical events by Lock (in the extensive liner notes). Staring closely at Lock's chronology of the concert while listening to the music was my first 'aha!' moment in understanding where the transitions were coming, which sections were 'collage structures,' and what the hell a 'pulse track' is! Also, said CD set is noteworthy for including an hour of audio interview material (which later appeared in the book), allowing you to hear Braxton on Braxton, and also to get a taste of what is probably one of the all time best laughs in the history of laughter. Braxton's laugh is infectious!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Eddie Watkins

    This book is at once a kind of road journal of Braxton's quartet as they toured England in the early 80's, and a highly detailed exposition of Braxton's philosophy of music and the universe. I say philosophy of music AND the universe intentionally, as for Braxton music is life the universe (and everything). I've heard him talk about creating alternate physical worlds through music. For him music is actually 3-dimensional and I suppose solid in a way, like a live sculpture of sound, a musical min This book is at once a kind of road journal of Braxton's quartet as they toured England in the early 80's, and a highly detailed exposition of Braxton's philosophy of music and the universe. I say philosophy of music AND the universe intentionally, as for Braxton music is life the universe (and everything). I've heard him talk about creating alternate physical worlds through music. For him music is actually 3-dimensional and I suppose solid in a way, like a live sculpture of sound, a musical mind-scape utopia that people can live within. The book is also interesting in that it reveals the passion always boiling beneath a music that can sound so abstract as to be nearly egg-headed; and Braxton is a sort of nerd, almost too smart for his own good, but I don't know of anyone who combines firy passion with the cerebral to such a continually fascinating degree. I saw him in Philly a few years ago, and his band consisted of what looked like college kids (I assume from the program where he teaches). Just before they started the set Braxton flipped over the largest hourglass I had ever seen as a way to time his show. Not a metronome, a huge hourglass. I didn't see the necessity of it, or even how he could've referred to it in any usefule way, but it was odd and interesting and definitely nerdy.

  5. 4 out of 5

    tttttt ssssss

    I merely want to catalogue some interesting categories here that Anthony Braxton posits about music, that can easily apply to the world beyond and within it. These are categories of the development of form: Restructuralism, Stylism, and Traditionalism. Restructuralism being the work that shakes shit up, posits something new, for better or for worse. Charlie Parker, Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, John & Alice Coltrane, Sun Ra, and, yes, Anthony Braxton. Stylism being the works within a genre that cont I merely want to catalogue some interesting categories here that Anthony Braxton posits about music, that can easily apply to the world beyond and within it. These are categories of the development of form: Restructuralism, Stylism, and Traditionalism. Restructuralism being the work that shakes shit up, posits something new, for better or for worse. Charlie Parker, Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, John & Alice Coltrane, Sun Ra, and, yes, Anthony Braxton. Stylism being the works within a genre that continues the initial project further without adding anything new to the vocabulary. Paul Desmond, Ahmad Jamal, Phil Woods... this is a hard thing to designate in the world of jazz, since it is a rather revolutionary genre in itself. Traditionalism being forward motion of compositional dynamics propelled by looking towards the musics of the past. An example Braxton gives is Marion Anderson. I would add the composer Harry Partch, the philosopher Martin Heidegger, the director Guy Maddin. This is a really fun one to ponder about. Thats really all I wanted to write, for my future self to remember. There is some really, really amazing stuff in this book that I've taken to heart. Highly recommended if you care about the black side of art music.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Christenson

    super interesting read .. i pretty thoroughly disagree w braxton’s whole way of looking at music and the world, which is avowedly mystical and idealist, but obviously he gets incredible results and it was very worthwhile to take a deeper look into that

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bart

    Revelatory book on American composer, multi-instrumentalist, saxophone virtuoso and musical theorist Anthony Braxton. Braxton is a seminal figure in the world of jazz and contemporary music, and was the very first to release a solo saxophone album in 1969 – fully improvised nonetheless. Graham Lock recounts his travels with Braxton’s classic quartet in Britain in 1985. The book also features interviews with Braxton and the band. Insightful and at times funny & heartfelt, it is a must read for an Revelatory book on American composer, multi-instrumentalist, saxophone virtuoso and musical theorist Anthony Braxton. Braxton is a seminal figure in the world of jazz and contemporary music, and was the very first to release a solo saxophone album in 1969 – fully improvised nonetheless. Graham Lock recounts his travels with Braxton’s classic quartet in Britain in 1985. The book also features interviews with Braxton and the band. Insightful and at times funny & heartfelt, it is a must read for any Braxton fan, and will surprise any other serious lover of the avant-garde. Forces In Motion offers a way into the often murky and dense thoughts of one of the great musical innovators of the 20th century. More non-fiction recommendations & SFF reviews on Weiging A Pig...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Djll

    One of the best books about music and the musician's life, period. Braxton is a fantastic interview subject and you can get a much quicker grasp of what he's about from the stuff in this book rather than Braxton's own writings, which tend to be idiosyncratic in the extreme. Graham Lock is hugely sympathetic to the cause, but does add some much-needed perspective to Braxton's irresistible force field. One of the best books about music and the musician's life, period. Braxton is a fantastic interview subject and you can get a much quicker grasp of what he's about from the stuff in this book rather than Braxton's own writings, which tend to be idiosyncratic in the extreme. Graham Lock is hugely sympathetic to the cause, but does add some much-needed perspective to Braxton's irresistible force field.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Djwilly

    Heard most of the music discussed in this book before I picked it up. (Check out Leo Records three releases of the 1985 Quartet tour to give you a running start.) While the music fascinated me, the book enhanced what I was hearing exponentially. I find myself going back to this book over and over since a lot of Braxton's insights (and Lock's honest probing) apply to a variety of musics and performance. A game changer of a book for me. Absolutely essential. Heard most of the music discussed in this book before I picked it up. (Check out Leo Records three releases of the 1985 Quartet tour to give you a running start.) While the music fascinated me, the book enhanced what I was hearing exponentially. I find myself going back to this book over and over since a lot of Braxton's insights (and Lock's honest probing) apply to a variety of musics and performance. A game changer of a book for me. Absolutely essential.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Craine

    On one hand you are treated to the hardship of a musicians life on the road touring which includes getting sick from Mc Donalds, but at least making some money of jazz and on the other dense compositional aspects are discussed. How could I leave a negative review? (Note I don't like the star rating and as such I only rate books based upon one star or five stars corresponding to the in my opinion preferable rating of thumbs up/down. This later rating system encourages in my opinion the degree to w On one hand you are treated to the hardship of a musicians life on the road touring which includes getting sick from Mc Donalds, but at least making some money of jazz and on the other dense compositional aspects are discussed. How could I leave a negative review? (Note I don't like the star rating and as such I only rate books based upon one star or five stars corresponding to the in my opinion preferable rating of thumbs up/down. This later rating system encourages in my opinion the degree to which the reader is likely to read a review instead of merely glancing at the number of stars)

  11. 5 out of 5

    David Allen

    Music writer tags along with Braxton and his quartet during a tour of England in the mid-80s. Nice mix of interviews, mostly with Braxton, portraits of the artists, storytelling, and concert description. Braxton is a remarkable character. Can't pretend to understand most of what he says about the musical systems he's creating but great insights about composition, collaboration, and creativity. He's still going strong. Music writer tags along with Braxton and his quartet during a tour of England in the mid-80s. Nice mix of interviews, mostly with Braxton, portraits of the artists, storytelling, and concert description. Braxton is a remarkable character. Can't pretend to understand most of what he says about the musical systems he's creating but great insights about composition, collaboration, and creativity. He's still going strong.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cole Blouin

    This is a good one. A real good one. A really, really good one.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    This book has probably saved my life. It is like Kandinsky's "Concerning the Spiritual in Art: a book about something else that teaches me to re-imagine writing poetry. The interviews make the music clearer than it may have ever gotten for me just by listening. I do not like interviews, biographies, or music books, but like the interviews, biographical sketches, and music writing in this one. Of course, you have to listen to some Anthony Braxton if you have not become familiar with his work: the This book has probably saved my life. It is like Kandinsky's "Concerning the Spiritual in Art: a book about something else that teaches me to re-imagine writing poetry. The interviews make the music clearer than it may have ever gotten for me just by listening. I do not like interviews, biographies, or music books, but like the interviews, biographical sketches, and music writing in this one. Of course, you have to listen to some Anthony Braxton if you have not become familiar with his work: the reissue of the Black Saint/Soul Note complete works is a great place to start.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    I couldn't pull myself away from this great glimpse into the mind of a musical genius. Eccentricities abound as Graham Lock accompanies Anthony Braxton, Marilyn Crispell, Mark Dresser and Gerry Hemingway on a week long tour through the U.K. in the mid 80s. This book might even be deserving of the secret six star rating! I couldn't pull myself away from this great glimpse into the mind of a musical genius. Eccentricities abound as Graham Lock accompanies Anthony Braxton, Marilyn Crispell, Mark Dresser and Gerry Hemingway on a week long tour through the U.K. in the mid 80s. This book might even be deserving of the secret six star rating!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Phillip

    A great examination of Braxton's work with this classic quartet, featuring Marilyn Crispell, Mark Dresser and Gerry Hemingway. Also a great read on a musician's life on the road. A great examination of Braxton's work with this classic quartet, featuring Marilyn Crispell, Mark Dresser and Gerry Hemingway. Also a great read on a musician's life on the road.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Derek

    Really fantastic bk. You don't have to be a huge fan of Braxton's music to love it. Have read multiple times. Really fantastic bk. You don't have to be a huge fan of Braxton's music to love it. Have read multiple times.

  17. 4 out of 5

    M-R-N-D-R

    anthony braxton's the MAN, and this book may be dense but it's well worth it, a great way to learn about music anthony braxton's the MAN, and this book may be dense but it's well worth it, a great way to learn about music

  18. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

    I actually never finished this bastard, but there's some wild shit in here and I dip into every now and then to have my mind blown. I actually never finished this bastard, but there's some wild shit in here and I dip into every now and then to have my mind blown.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sugahbean

    Expansive for me.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Neill

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andre'

  22. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Davis

  23. 4 out of 5

    JCS_612

  24. 5 out of 5

    Clay

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tim

  26. 4 out of 5

    Δnd

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Golick

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jim Marlowe

  29. 4 out of 5

    Drbloodmoney

  30. 4 out of 5

    Colette

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