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Thoughts on Anthony Braxton

November 23, 2015

Anthony Braxton isn’t just trying to build up complexity of sound. He is working with complexity of thought. All human endeavor, to my mind, is striving toward a ambitiousness of thought. Writing, composing, filmmaking. Notwithstanding the desire to “make the complicated simple” (which is an artistic in nature and linguistic in process), we write and create with the idea of joining ideas together, making them larger, planet-sized, universe-sized. Anthony Braxton is clearly a giant thinker in his own mind. He’s blessed with more smarts than most. But in composing with these increasingly interconnected musical systems, these ways of unifying his musical output into a universe-sized system, he is trying to impart big thought (and big emotion) to his listeners, just like Aristotle or any of the great thinkers that we are still simply refining upon without ever surpassing. Once you think your though, and put it out in the world, you give the world a step upon which to climb up one level. And once enough people climb up that one level, then their own thoughts, which are like putting steps to a higher level in place, they start that much higher in the process, like mountain-climbing for altitude, but starting your journey in Denver.

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