Anthony Braxton: Ghost Trance Music (selected works)
Rather than have a composition that goes from “Mary had a little lamb” and then it’s finished, it’s like “Mary had …” and then there’s a lot of different things she could have had.
THE GHOST TRANCE PROJECT
by Kobe Van Cauwenberghe
Balancing between notation and improvisation, Anthony Braxton’s “Ghost Trance Music” represent a unique body of “open works” that challenges traditional roles of composer, score and performer. In “Ghost Trance Music” Braxton’s entire fascinating musical universe comes together. You step into a ritual, guided by a melody without beginning or end, a stream of consciousness that serves as the central track leading you into the unknown. Originally inspired by the Native American practice of the Ghost Dance ritual, where surviving members of Native American tribes would attempt to communicate with their ancestors through transcendental ghost dances, the Ghost Trance Music pieces are specifically designed to function as pathways between Braxton’s different musical systems, between notation and improvisation, between past, present and future. It allows for a plurality of musical practices to join forces, transcending traditional genre boundaries. It creates an arena in which Braxton helps curate intuitive experiences for both performers and listeners.
Ghost Trance Project is the result of a research project dedicated to performing and exploring the different interpretational possibilities of Anthony Braxton’s Ghost Trance Music (GTM) in both solo as group contexts.
To explore the unique communal and universal aspect of Braxton’s GTM compositions, how GTM allows for a diverse group of musicians to join forces (trans-idiomatic) and intuitively connect in an intense musical interplay (multi-hierarchic), I have formed the Ghost Trance Septet, a mixed group of musicians coming from different backgrounds, looking for common ground (or not) in performing Braxton’s GTM.