12-CD set presenting Braxton in dialogue with three distinctive duet partners: violinist Erica Dicker, vocalist Kyoko Kitamura and bassoonist Katherine Young. Recording dates: August 14 & 15 (Kyoko Kitamura), August 21 & 22 (Erica Dicker), August 28 & 29 (Katherine Young).
Several years ago, Anthony and I discovered our mutual (giddy) enthusiasm for the music of Richard Wagner. I feel compelled to mention this because there is a positively orchestral, if not Wagnerian, element to our recording together—a sonic Gesamtkunstwerk, if you will, representing all registers of playing. In each take, new drama unfolds, as if each were a new act in an operatic continuum.
Yet the most amazing thing about the process of recording with Anthony was the vast spectrum of sounds made by only two people. Much of this was inspired by the ghostly presence of the interactive electronics, which we joked about being the “third member” of our duo. I also used a second scordatura instrument, whose tuning I experimented with over the course of the two day recording process.
Such deep, multi-dimensional exploration can only take place in an atmosphere of friendship and positive energy. These qualities are what make working with Anthony so inspiring and richly rewarding. - Erica Dicker
Entering Anthony Braxton's musical world brought me surprises and revelations, as well as a lesson in letting go of expectations. When I joined the cast for his opera Trillium E in 2010, whatever musical expectations I had were joyfully thwarted: time signatures were slippery, harmonies complex, and through this beautiful musical maze, Anthony pushed us out of our comfort zones. Mistakes were not taboo but potential opportunities. The music was indescribably powerful, human and alive.
Two years later, Anthony asked me to record with him in a duo format. The recording was scheduled to take place in Wesleyan University's Daltry Room, the basement space where Anthony taught. But when we arrived, there was a strange smell and a sci-fi-esque scene of vibrating machines and gurgling tubes. A rainstorm had flooded the basement. Unfazed, Anthony simply said, "Well, that changes things." Once again, I understood that I had to let go of all expectations, musical and otherwise. And that is how it started as we made our way through Falling River and Ghost Trance Music, SuperCollider keeping us company with surprising utterances while sand slowly filled up the bottom of the hourglass. - Kyoko Kitamura
Working with Anthony has been a truly enriching experience for me over the past 6 years: his musicianship, curiosity, generosity and energy never fail to inspire me. So when he invited me for this duo project, I was of course thrilled, and having played in the delectably reedy orchestra for Braxton's Trillium E recording, I was looking forward to laying down some low reed sounds together.
Unfortunately the university's contrabassoon I'd planned to use had been damaged in a recent flood, and the contrabass sax didn't make an appearance. But in the end the specific instruments didn't so much matter. As the electronics immersed and encircled us, I felt transported to a different space, where one hour - or cumulatively four - seemed remarkably like far from enough time to explore all that we had to explore. - Katherine Young
supported by 4 fans who also own “12 Duets (DCWM) 2012”
The guitarists first solo album (like the actors first Hamlet) is a hoop that eventually has to be jumped through...and Mary Halvorson has finally risen to the challenge...a truly brilliant improviser and technician (I remember being knocked out by a performance she gave with Anthony Braxton in London),she has added layers of emotional and spiritual patina to those skills...the pre-release track here demonstrates all those qualities in spades...I see this release will include work by Noel Akchote (whose music plays a key part in my listening regime)...
So,until its release "I eat the air,promise crammed"...
Update! This album is now released and I can "count myself King of infinite riches"...this release catapults Mary Halvorson into a different league for me...wonderful,wonderful,wonderful! John Cratchley