In 1973, Anthony Braxton began to compose his TRI-AXIUM WRITINGS. It is my belief after much thought over time that Trio X is named in relation to these writings. Quoting from Graham Lock’s book, BLUTOPIA, which dedicates one of four parts to an in depth look at Anthony Braxton, I want to present a context for writing about JOURNEY.
"TRI-AXIUM WRITINGS, a text at the junction of real and meta-real,is also a dance at the crossroads of time. Braxton defines "Tri-axium" as "having to do with an attempt to gather axium tenets from the past and present---to get to the future" ....... In particular, an appreciation of the vibrational dimension of creativity is very important. Creativity, says Braxton, " has to do with ‘doing’ as a means to celebrate and ‘affirm’ the vibrational forms that dictate ‘living’. Thus, music is not about music: "rather music ...(is) connected to ‘cosmic zones’ ", so, form and elements of form such as harmony and rhythm are linked to cosmic correspondences and what Braxton calls the "higher forces"."
JOURNEY begins with a reference to the passage of time, a reference perhaps to the experiences of the world and the experiences of each member of the band, and where the time that has passed has taken everyone in both a universal sense and a spiritual sense. The music itself reflects tortuous moments and the most exacting calm and meditation. The range of the musicians is truly tapped and spoken. There is no mistaking the voice of any of the three.
Touched on is the gentleness of the fingering of the bass strings in a form of lengthy abstract melody into which is introduced a similarly gentle set of abstractions with the drums into which is introduced the extenuations of the alto. This form of the music layers the body of the recording into a piece called AUTOGRAPH, a hinge for the journey in and out of the past and the future, the pain and sorrow. The piece evokes the beauty that denotes the often bittersweet aspects of the meeting with the true nature of the inner spirit, which is parallel and perhaps linked to what Braxton calls the "cosmic zones".
Contrasting with any of the tenderness of the music is the brash, dissonant, double-toned, triple-noted, screaming tendency of the alto or tenor pitted, itself, against highly rhythmic bass and drum lines. The drums have a flavor all their own. The multi-toned bells that ring out occasionally are accents to take the step to the next snare/cymbal/tom combinations and act as the premonitions of heaven. Reminders that we are within the vision of the angels. The angels that heed our direction. And help to render our destinies inexplicable, yet set in the great picture that is the life to lead.
The bass reminds us of centering. Back to earth. Where is mandated the maintenance of our beings until we evaporate into cosmic dust. However, is the swinging of the alto the same reminder of the centering into the dance of life. However, is the alto an administrator to the round-up of consequence and demise, of value and misfortune. However, is the alto the executor of the density of the healing force of the universe, with the backdrop of tiny taps of fingers on the snare and damped pizzicato on the bass strings.
Trio X has made a journey that has swung with the pendulum of time. Trio X has found a place for its voice to sing. Whence the beginning is the end in the quadruple chorus & two variations on the theme of Amazing Grace. Such is a solemn prayer that can mark for us all the closure we need to continue in creativity, daily life, the next breath, another journey.