Tyondai Braxton – Hive1

2015 - Nonesuch Records


The frontier of modern percussion ensemble writing and performance is showcased here.   Mixing traditional percussion instruments with computers, synths, and looped/prerecorded percussion propel this piece into it’s state as a completely creative and innovative composition. Listening to this brings me back to times I’ve spent in percussion ensembles, playing pieces featuring interesting arrangements and instrumentations. The way that the band locks in together becomes the most important part of these type of pieces. Rhythms and melodies (not necessarily tonal) bounce off of and interact with each other. Changes in dynamics keep you on the edge of your seat. New (computerized) and old (hitting things with sticks) technology mix together to elevate each other into new soundscapes. This piece was part of an installation at the Guggenheim Museum, so the recording is only a small part of what actually went into the composition. The whole element of performance that is not encapsulated in the record must have been something special to have observed. Space and density play a large part in this. Textures, timbres, and techniques make this a joy to listen to again and again while trying to dissect. It’s no surprise that Tyondai is the son of Anthony Braxton. This is definitely a work to check out. It’s perfect for today, as a snowstorm blares outside.