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About this Piece

Central Market is a set of pieces born mostly from guitar and voice through guitar pedals. The pieces were composed section by section, by creating real-time loops that are anywhere from two to 60 seconds in length. Each layer simulated an acoustic instrument by molding guitar and voice (using guitar effects and pedals) or by mimicking instruments through other means – turning a guitar into, say, a trombone by using distortion through an autofilter or whistling a part and imagining it was a piccolo. All the percussion was originally beatboxed. It was very important to have a visceral connection to the music in order to build an intuitive understanding of how it should be performed, and to test out sound combinations in a way that felt more natural than composing strictly with MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface). In the end, I fashioned the piece from what I originally thought would be placeholders for orchestral instruments, since the whistling, beatboxing, and kazoo (which I imagined would be a trumpet) sounded more exciting.

“The music for this record surprised me. I only realized what I had created when it was finished and I was able to listen to the playback in the studio. There isn’t any particular story to Central Market, although one is implied by the narrative nature of the music. The imagery that came to me as the music was being composed includes the hustle and bustle of a market in a town square, with merchants peddling their wares. This image captures the infectious energy of a centralized place of commerce, thriving and exaggerated. I tried to imagine what the Shrove-tide Fair from Stravinsky’s Petrushka would be like now. At the time Central Market was being composed, in 2008, the word “market” was inescapably tied to the recurring news headline ‘Financial Market Crisis.’ The polarity between these two ideas was compelling and mirrors the arc of the music, which moves from positive to negative. The last piece, ‘Dead Strings,’ lets you know the fantasy has unraveled.”

— Copyright © 2011 Tyondai Braxton