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09 November
Anthony Braxton, Susana Santos Silva, Adam Matlock

Anthony Braxton Diamond Curtain Wall Trio


09 November

tuesday 9 november 7.30pm

Price 14€
< 25 years: 5€

Main Auditorium
Length 60 min.

Age restriction:


High saxophones, soprano and sopranino and  electronic composition  Anthony Braxton
Trumpet Susana Santos Silva
Accordion Adam Matlock
Photographs Anthony Moers, Aloísio Brito

In the last three or four years I have come to align my music work with the ancient model that archaeologists and anthropologists use when dating particular subjects that go back hundreds and thousands of years.

When I use the expression ancient models, I’m referring to the earlier models that were inclusive of world culture and the idea that every ethnic group has contributed to composite humanity, as opposed to the Arian model that we find ourselves dealing with in this time period.

When I was a young person, I found myself interested in composite reality, not composite ethnic reality but composite universal reality. I remain a person who is interested in composite reality and my struggle has been the fight to evolve my work and to evolve myself based on definitions that made sense to me, as opposed to definitions that were assigned to me.

When I talk of the ancient model, I am especially interested in what the great Egyptian empire would put together, in fact, the empire of Egypt would setup the propositions that would allow for the emergence of western civilization and western culture, this is true whether we are talking of Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Galen, Pythagoras. In fact, it was Alexander the Great who would finance Aristotle, having the opportunity to go to Alexandria and purchase a thousand books from the libraries in Alexandria and from that point, Aristotle would begin to build his own school. And that school of information was based in the Egyptian mystery system. This is important because many people in this time period know very little about the transfer of information that would become the new foundation of western civilization.

My point is also that Plato, Socrates, Aristotle and Galen, that whole group, all studied in Egypt, in the first of the monasteries that combined spiritualism with mathematics with physics, with everything that we have come to know. The genesis of foundational information was in many ways, defined by the great Egyptian mystics and scholars.

The 1950’s were an incredible time period to study music, it was also a time period where, for instance, the great music of Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and many others were putting together a new existential model. This was very different from the classical model, in the sense that you had stable logic metric time which was tri centric. You had notated stable logical information like, written music themes. But you also had the emergence of the existential improviser, and in the work of Charlie Parker you had the hyper-virtuosos, who would model new ideas about thinking and sonic engineering (but engineering really only refers to methodology, it was more than that). It was a search for the meta-reality of the music. And by the end of the 50’s, musicians like John Coltrane and Cecil Taylor, Bill Dixon and many others would arrive at a point where the term jazz no longer was sufficient to describe the complex reality that these people were looking at.

But I was also interested in European music, whether it would be Bach, Mozart or Beethoven. For me as a young guy in the beginning, I found it difficult to understand or to receive western art and music, but it was the great work of Arnold Schoenberg which opened the door for me. So, I was able to go back to Bach or Monteverdi in one hand, and also to go forward from Shoenberg to learn the great music of Varése or Messiaen, leading to Stockhausen or John Cage. So, growing in the 50’s, I would examine different trajectories of structural, conceptual, scientific, and spiritual evolution.

Going back to the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), I would ask myself: what am I doing? And the first answer was: I want to be involved in freedom and in free jazz music. Later I would discover that freedom wasn’t what I was looking for, but rather the freedom to find what I was looking for.

I discovered that freedom is an interesting concept but there’s really nothing that is free! There is what the Egyptians would call “a ring pass not”, that determines one’s identity.

From that point I would begin to think in terms of the circle – the unknown, the rectangle – the known, and the triangle – the intuitive components. Triangle as a way to look at dreams, as a way to look at narrative logics and storytelling, as a way to look at mysticism, and it would be the same with the house of the circle, the house of the unknown, Aries space. Suddenly, from nothing to something. Later, looking at the Egyptian mystery systems, the Egyptians would talk of circle as the god Ptah, and then from polysynthesis, the god Ptah would create the second aspect of him, or her, or itself, to the god Atum, and the god Atum would be the god of defining tributaries and lineages, and four groups of men gods, and four groups of women gods along with Atum would be the number 9. From Atum there would be another transmodification to the house of the triangle, the mysticism would come into place, mysticism as being self-realization.

Going back to the circle, the circle would be improvisation, the circle would be the real time moment, the circle would be language music. Going from that into the house of the rectangle, something that starts, or didn’t start, but it never ends. And so, for the house of the circle, which did not begin and did not end but was always there, I would take that idea and think in terms of a long sound, a sound that, in my system, starts but never ends. Later I came to see that it corresponds to the idea of something that is there, it has always been there, it is something and nothing at the same time.

At that point, going now to the rectangle, you recognize something that you did not recognize before, because in the house of the circle it always was. For me, it became a question of identity, structural identity, memory, architectures, orchestration, and the creation of models.

The idea of traditionalism would be an idea of foundational information that existed in the past. I have tried to always keep a connection with the past, to learn from the early masters.

I should also say this – if everyone was an innovator you could not have culture, because an innovator keeps changing things

Stylism helps to unify the past with the present and gives the opportunity to have a culture where young men and women can learn about how the mechanics worked, how the meta-reality components of stylism can be understood. And then, finally, the innovator takes the tradition, takes the stylism and looks for something that did not exist in that trajectory.

The idea of re-structuralism is that the tradition must have a future and that the idea of the future must introduce new variables, new methodologies, new thoughts about meta-reality components, and the idea of the cosmics.

That would be the difference between traditionalism, stylism, and the move towards stylistic diversity, and re-structuralism as a way to have new problems, new challenges, fresh theoretical assumptions, as a way to keep the music alive.

…re-structuralism says it has to stay radiant or you don’t evolve, and so what I have tried to do with my music is to evolve the music in a way where I would have different challenges, different models that would be in the house of the circle, different kinds of improvisations, in the house of the rectangle, different kinds of structures in the house of triangle, different integrations between static, mutable and affinity models or meta-reality models.

More and more, I would look at colour as a component of sound and would begin to factor colour in part of a music logic. In the beginning, I would look to have formulations based on what I would call codes or occultism. In doing so, I would start to name compositions. I would create three different names for a composition – one would be the opus number, one would be the occult signature represented by numbers and letters, and the third category would be colour and shape design.

This would become part of the nuclear thought unit in my system. Every component has a target beingness, every component would have a metaphysical beingness, and every component would have a shape, colour affinity.

Scale is very important, scale in the sense of solo music, scale in the sense of group ensembles, scale in the sense of very large projects, and then, (since my system is based on the number 3 plus 1 very large projects), which probably will never be done, but I wanted to have the category as well in my music.

For instance, I mentioned the unknown, know and intuition. I have always felt that I wanted to have a portion of my music not known, even to me. I wanted the unknown to be as important as the known. And so, in the early period, I would think a thought and reduce that thought to letters and numbers, but I would not write it down, but rather, I would use a thought, or a non-thought to generate something. I would mix a symbolic letter or number, letter or shape, and when finished, that shape would be part of the entity.  But to protect myself, I did not know what it was after generating it, the understanding being, “later it will generate to me what it is!

In the same way, the transfiguration of the god Ptah would generate Atum and would generate the idea of god and goddess.

I would start to have a relationship with the unknown that felt very important, because I didn’t want to have a 1+1=2. The methodology is in the house of the rectangle. I wanted to build a set of signs and symbols that initially would be based in thought and action.

I am looking for music that is just like life, where peripheral sounds will be moving inside of the crowds. Later, I want to go outside and have 20 or 30 musicians on each side of the street and implant 20 musicians inside that crowd and let them just walk around that street and merge into the composite theatre, or area space, to create a music that is part intentionalities, part reality, in the real time moment, and three, a mixture that would also help to better understand magic and attraction and reaction. That is what I’m trying to do with the unknown, to make the unknown a part of the model, to define components, but at the same time, not define them. To have a fusion between something and nothing, and a result which is not something and not nothing.


Anthony Braxton

The Diamond Curtain Wall Trio, led by talented American composer and multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton, uses modular composition and real-time electronic synthesis to materialize philosophical and cosmological influences, ranging from trans-African and European traditions to jazz and contemporary music. A unique opportunity to see this ensemble, joining Braxton with Susana Santos Silva on the trumpet and Adam Matlock on the accordion.

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