Published by
Project 440

Tyondai Braxton

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Platinum Rows part I

Performed by the Wordless Music Orchestra


Platinum Rows is a large-scale work for orchestra with guitars, electronics and extended percussion. It blends different musical interests into one succinct mission statement. Reconciling my interest in modern music with an unhealthy, romanticized vision of 20th Century composition, I wanted to create a vacuum where they could coexist aesthetically and environmentally. Moreover, the goal was to blur the line where one ends and the other begins. The piece is an homage to the likes of Stravinsky and Bernstein just as much as it is to Autechre and Black Dice.

Based on the process I use as a solo performer, I created the piece using voice, guitar and a series of effects pedals. It was composed section by section with loops created in real time. Each layer would be simulate an acoustic instrument by molding the instruments with guitar effects pedals—turning a guitar into, say, a horn 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 so I could see how it should be performed and to test our sound combinations in a way that seems more natural than composing strictly with midi. In the end, I ended up fashioning the piece from what I thought would be placeholders for the real instruments. The whisting, beatboxing and kazoo (which was supposed to be a trumpet or horn) ended up defining the nature of the piece more than I had originally intended.

Platinum Rows part II

Performed by the Wordless Music Orchestra

I might say that Platinum Rows is unapologetically grandiose to the point of parody if I didn’t happen to know that it was born from a genuine love of music.

The piece is scored for four male voices, four kazoos, two synthesizers, piano, six guitars, two basses, electronics, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, piccolo, two trumpets, two horns, xylophone, glockenspiel, harp, drums/percussion, and strings.