Friday, March 16, 2007

Let "Loose" // Ton of Brax // THB on J@LC

it's been too long a week for my liking and now comes the sleet...

anyway, last night, after we had stalled on a Jacques Cousteau doc about the search for Atlantis that was cool in theory but ultimately too slow, Laal finally convinced me to check out "Loose Change," a full-length 9/11-was-an-inside-job flick viewable on Google Video.

i was skeptical about this for probably the same reasons everyone else is. conspiracy theories are tiresome in general and i was sick of being handed fanatical pamphlets on the street and whatnot, not that i had ever really investigated this stuff. but this movie lays it out for you pretty clearly. in fact, it's incredibly convincing. not to mention terrifying.

if you believe the claims made in this film--and i have to admit, it's hard not to be seriously skeptical after watching it--the evidence against 9/11 having gone down the way we've been told it did is overwhelming. some of the more glaring info on offer here:

1) if the WTC towers and WTC 7 collapsed because of a fire caused by the airplane crashes, they would've been the first skyscrapers in history to do so. tons of experts and eyewitnesses say that there were multiple auxiliary explosions--clearly visible on video of the incident--and that there's no way the towers would have collapsed so thoroughly without additional firepower.

2) in the months leading up to 9/11, the owner of the WTC negotiated a gigantic insurance policy to protect the buildings against terrorist attacks, and tons of people took out "put options"--basically a speculation that a stock will fail--on the stocks of the airlines in question.

3) the wreckage of all the plane crashes is highly suspect. the film shows how no bodies or significant airplane debris was found at either the Pentagon site or the Flight 93 crash site. tons of experts say that both "crashes"--as well as the ones on the towers--were likely staged missile attacks, with no commercial airplanes involved.

4) there is basically no way that any of the cell-phone calls we've all heard about could have actually happened; as we all know, cell calls can't be made from 32,000 feet.

anyway, it goes on and on. there's an incredible quote at the beginning from this conservative think-tank (including Rumsfeld, Cheney, Jeb Bush and others) which reads, "...the process of revolutionary change is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event--like a new Pearl Harbor."

i'm not really sure what to think or what to do from here, but i'm extremely glad i saw this and it's definitely worth taking a peek. it will draw you in immediately. the narrator is annoyingly glib at times and the trip-hop in the background is pretty cheesy, but the onslaught of facts from reliable sources and the methodical intelligence of the argument are hard to deny. i'm not going to say i'm 100% onboard with the film's claims, but my suspicions and fears are certainly aroused.


Braxton interview went very well, thank you. more on that project later.

for now, i am still immersed in his universe. let me say that my favorite of the Ghost Trance documents is the recent "Quintet (London) 2004." for reasons that will be obvious to some, i feel odd gushing too much about this one, but let me just say that i think it's the fullest realization i've heard on record of the freedom Ghost Trance offers. inspired playing throughout, but i've got to nod to Satoshi Takeishi, an incredibly deep and subtle percussionist. kind of like the next step after Tony Oxley or something. anyway, get this one.

was very surprised to hear "First Species" Ghost Trance for the first time in the form of the Istanbul sextet concert from '96. Braxton was working with an incredibly minimal concept at that time, and though it can be numbing, the sheer focus of the concept is remarkable.

the "Willisau" box set from '91 (thanks, Steve Smith) rules in a very intense way. sooo much information on that thing. it's really a landmark document. the live stuff contains some of the most ferocious Braxton playing i've heard; some of the stuff even sounds like conventional "fire music" free jazz at times. the variety of the compositions is amazing and the "sidemen" are absolutely inspired. wish that set wasn't so damn o.o.p.

here's a little snippet. i do not wish to do a disservice to the music by chopping it up, but i wanted to draw attention to the laserlike wizardry of one particularly Braxton outburst. he sounds like a fucking irate dolphin here. check it out:

excerpt from "No. 23N (+ 112 + 108A + 33)"
6.2.91, Willisau, Switzerland
Braxton, Marilyn Crispell (p), Mark Dresser (b), Gerry Hemingway (d)


lastly, i wanted to link up to this excellent blog post by Taylor Ho Bynum (incidentally, the trumpeter on the aforementioned Braxton London set) where he zeroes in on the "J@LC" problem better than anyone i've ever heard, not to mention offers several brilliant ideas for edgier projects that could be presented up there. now THB called out Ben Ratliff's review of Taylor/Zorn, but he could've just as easily called out mine, since both of us implied that avant-jazzers don't really need J@LC's facilities. Taylor makes the excellent point that while the avant-garde isn't going to wither without uptown support, J@LC's massive financial resources certainly wouldn't hurt an artist like Anthony Braxton or Sam Rivers. it really made me think about how the uptown/downtown divide is about way more than just scene politics.

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