Tyondai Braxton: HIVE1 (Nonesuch) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, January 17th, 2021  

Tyondai Braxton



May 13, 2015 Issue #53 - April/May 2015 - Tame Impala Bookmark and Share

Experimental music of the sort Tyondai Braxton makes is hugely interpretive: what you get out of it depends on what you put into it. In the case of HIVE1, Braxton's new work, it also helps to know some of its context. The eight tracks collected here were all part of a performance that debuted in 2013 at New York City's Guggenheim Museum, where Braxton and his collaborators performed atop various architectural and lighting installations. Braxton has explained in interviews the concept behind this project's name, sound, and performance: he speaks of a "social aspect" to it, and of a connection among the performers and audience. The music on HIVE1 appropriately matches all this evidence, as the glitchy, detailed little electronic arrangements sound like the inside of an insect colony.

Braxton's memorable band-leading turn on Battles' debut album is still probably his best known material, and fans of that project will be befuddled by the internal, glittery compositions here. It's very different in aesthetic, but the creative mind behind it is no less evident, especially in the trippy, but focused, insect concept. "Gracka" begins with arbitrary chirping before gradually a structure begins to unfold. "Amlochley" features a chorus of digital crickets over nocturnal Burial-esque beats. Each track seems to showcase a refined, organic approach to build and decay. Overall, while HIVE1 may not satisfy those hungry for melody and immediacy, it provides a rich and rewarding experience for those patient enough to listen attentively.


Author rating: 6.5/10

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