Tyondai Braxton - Central Market

With no news of a fresh Battles release any time soon, it might appear that fans will have to content themselves with a smattering of upcoming live shows, most likely featuring much the same set list they've been kicking about for the last, ooohh, two years?

Thankfully, Tyondai Braxton (the chap with the wild hair and a winning way with beatboxing) is set to drop Central Market, a new solo album on Warp, which should quell the patience of the Battle-hardened. Braxton's aesthetic, however, is far more wayward than that found in the locked grooves of Mirrored, as befits the son of composer Anthony Braxton. The suitably named first track, 'Opening Bell', comes across as if orchestrated by Steve Reich following a gleeful trip to the fairground; a number of cuts feature that most rock'n'roll of instruments, the kazoo.

Lynch-pin of the set is doubtless 'Platinum Row', a galloping ten minutes of fantasy epic, featuring strings that alternately soar then slash, Psycho-style, and possibly the most infernal kazoo yet committed to tape. This is not the glam-rock stomp of 'Atlas', but a far more skittish affair, missing the motorik pounding of John Stanier, but ultimately albeit one that it just as bracing. The record is nevertheless littered with elements familiar from Mirrored: the effected vocals, the cheeky whistles and the looped guitars, used to greatest effect on 'J. City'.

Possibly the most informative comparison is with Profokiev of Peter and the Wolf, both in terms of the bouncing arrangements, and the way in which Braxton's music seems uncannily to soundtrack mysterious, yet not otherworldly, events. It's a trait he shares with Tortoise, particularly on It's All Around You, but where Tortoise can often convey a sense of melancholy, even lethargy, Braxton is far too energetic and playful, meaning even his most minatory passages retain an intimation of joy.

Thus far I've only managed to get my greedy little mitts on an advance release, missing the last of the promised seven tracks, and am now keenly anticipating plugging that final gap.

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