November 20, 2009 – 1:07 pm

Jazz pioneer Anthony Braxton improvises with his laptop.

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Diamond Curtain Wall Trio play Frankfurt [no label, 1CD]

Live at 40th Deutsches Jazzfestival, hr-Sendesaal, Frankfurt, Germany, October 30, 2009. Ex FM stereo.

Iron Curtain. To describe the communist wall in Europe, hard, cold, inhuman. Bamboo Curtain. To describe the communist wall in China, traditional, old-fashioned xenophobes. The Diamond Curtain Wall? Oh, that’s Anthony Braxton’s new jazz trio with pals multi-instrumentalist Taylor Ho Bynum and unique guitarist Mary Halvorson.

There’s a fourth member, the Super Collider, a “real time audio synthesis programming language”. Hard to describe what it actually does so we’ll leave it to wiki: “As a versatile dynamic programming language, SuperCollider can be used for live coding, i.e. performances which involve the performer modifying and executing code on-the-fly. A specific kind of proxies serve as high level placeholders for synthesis objects which can be swapped in and out or modified at runtime. Environments allow sharing and modification of objects and process declarations over networks. Various extension libraries support different abstraction and access to sound objects, e.g. dewdrop_lib allows for the live creation and modification of pseudo-classes and -objects.”

The tech-minded can learn more here

This version of the Diamond Curtain Wall Trio assembled in 2007 and recorded one live album, Victoriaville. They are currently finishing their European tour. The trio is a side-project outside of his large-sized 12+1tet. I think the trio is a personal, more manageable space for Braxton to think in.

From what I’ve read and listened, the SuperCollider acts as a signpost to signal tempo changes or different pathways to explore. It’s inside his laptop, on stage. Both Braxton and Ho Bynum surround themselves with an array of instruments. Braxton has six different types of saxophones onstage and Ho Bynum has just as many different horns from trumpet, cornet to trombone and a wide selection of mutes. When played, the different instruments suggest an opening, with other voices coming on stage.

The trio start when Braxton places an hour glass in the upright position on the table. The show is over when the sand runs out. All performances are precise yet different. I think each performance is an attempt by the trio to lift the Diamond Curtain Wall. Every night, they’ll use different instruments and approaches. They’ll wail in unison, solo a beautiful melody or “skronk” sadly on horns at the futility of lifting the veil.

There is no drummer to keep time. Instead Canadian Mary Halvorson has the task of keeping it all together with her hollow-body electric guitar making scraping sounds, distortion and a structure for all the soloing to take place in.

For folks who prefer form and melody, this is experimental hell. There’s nothing familiar here to grab hold of. This is music without a language. Think of it as communication before language was born.

Diamond Curtain. The Diamond Curtain is probably Braxton’s way of suggesting the hardest wall to break is the human heart. But he’s trying.

The source of this recording is a satellite radio broadcast, shared on Dime by boldsouls who has provided some mighty fine shows to the community. “abcdef” provided the artwork. Big thanks.
- Professor Red

Note: Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 192 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

01. Track: Untitled (Composition No. 323c?)
Part 01 (6.1MB)
Click here if you reside in the United States
Click here if you reside outside the United States
Part 02 (12.8MB)
Part 03 (7.8MB)
Part 04 (6.6MB)
Part 05 (10.5MB)
Part 06 (11.4MB)
Part 07 (8.7MB)
Part 08 (19.9MB)
Part 09 (4.3MB)

TT: 63:23m

Anthony Braxton - alto-, soprano-, sopranino-sax, electronics
Taylor Ho Bynum - cornet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet, bass trumpet, trumpbone, mutes, shells
Mary Halvorson - guitar

Braxton’s Diamond Curtain Wall Trio released their third album, Victoriaville, in 2007. It contained one track about an hour in length. The lineup on the 2007 album mirrors the trio on this 2009 performance. You can buy it here.

  1. 6 Responses to “THE IMPENETRABLE”

  2. hey bigo, thanks!!! just got all 9 tracks. comp 323c sounds good to me. i will put that. i’ll play this walking. need to fix tags first.

    now you’re talking again! braxton rules! if i hear from mary, i’ll give her this link.

    first comment!


    By Ed Saad on Nov 20, 2009

  3. Thanks very much, I love Braxtons’ stuff and this is brilliant.

    By Paul Moller on Nov 21, 2009

  4. i think satellite radio did not gain so much popularity these days.”`-

    By Kyle Bailey on May 21, 2010

  5. Satellite Radio did not gain so much popularity as expected, maybe because of the reason that it is expensive.,*.

    By Anthony Wilson on Jul 28, 2010

  6. Excellent post!! Thank you

    By Lobo on Sep 10, 2011

  7. you’re a little late, lobo. i got this one two years ago. it’s good and one my ipod now. mary rules, taylor’s friendly. get braxton’s 65th b-day show. it’s great too. it was offered in january this year. i think, i got every braxton bigo offered. there’s another one from san sebastian and one from london 1993. i think, that’s all of them. oh yeah, there’s one from italy too. now i think that’s all of them.


    By Ed Saad on Sep 10, 2011

Post a Comment