Composition N.169 + (186 + 206 + 214) denotes composer/woodwind specialist, Anthony Braxton’s latest foray into crossover/new music style classical and improvisational jazz. On this outing, the artist enlists likeminded woodwind aces and the “Slovenia Radio Orchestra,” for a production recorded in front of an audience at the “Ljubljana Music Festival.” Here, the core instrumentalists alternate the conducting tasks.
A 2-CD set, the festivities commence with the orchestra engaging in slightly disjointed movements amid subtle contrasts, jagged ostinatos, and mushrooming undercurrents. However, Braxton’s “Tri-Centric” compositional pronouncements bespeak the interrelationships between instrumentation and on-the-fly dynamics, whereas the leader divulges numerous methodologies throughout the rather all-embracing liners. At times, the musicians perpetuate an air of mystery and intrigue via an abundance of ominously staged passages, punctual choruses, and linear developments. Additionally, Braxton alludes to the “expansion and contraction” of “Composition N.169” along with discourses on “vibrational input,” and “multi-connectional input stations.” Therefore, you may find a need to brush up on your comprehension skills before tackling these liners! Otherwise, Braxton and co. pursues microtonal diatribes atop hypnotic orchestral movements while also partaking in free-jazz exercises. In some instances, the visual aspect of this creation might spur notions of a cresting river or perhaps a lengthy journey through a densely populated forest. Ultimately, this 2001 release provides yet another vivid glimpse of Braxton’s advanced and often visionary concepts.