While putting the finishing touches on "Mirrored" -- the 2007 debut of post-rock collective Battles -- frontman Tyondai Braxton began intermittently writing new songs for his next solo project. He'd already spent a decade crafting experimental music based around pinpoint sonic loops, but Braxton decided to expand his sound.
"It started hitting me that I was in love with orchestral music, so I decided to try my hand at it," says Braxton, who is the son of famous multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton. Recording in Rhode Island and in Brooklyn with a full orchestra during the end of 2008, he set out to put what he calls his "wildest ideas" to record.
On "Central Market," out Sept. 15 on Warp Records, Braxton's ambitions are presented as grandiose arrangements sprinkled with sweeping strings, jittery guitars and various found sounds. "Uffe's Workshop" uses whirling synthesizers and kazoo jabs, while the just-leaked "Platinum Rows" builds into a dizzying frenzy over the course of 10 minutes.
Although "Central Market" recalls Battles' surprisingly successful brand of cracked math rock, it squarely sticks with Braxton's unique vision -- a point Warp is emphasizing with the disc's rollout. "There's no doubt Battles fans will be paying more attention to this release, but we are trying to market it as a standalone," says Warp label manager Priya Dewan.
Because "Central Market" features compositions too difficult to present onstage, Warp plans to promote the album by highlighting its fusion of indie rock and classical music and reaching a diverse list of press outlets accordingly. "We're going to reach beyond Pitchfork and Fader and hit NPR and WNYC," says Dewan. "There's definitely a potential for overlap between genres."
Braxton, who listened to Russian composer Igor Stravinsky while recording, echoes the album's recognition of classical music but is careful not to color it as a huge departure. "It's a challenging record," he says, "but it's not meant to be any less inviting than pop radio music."
While Battles' much-anticipated followup to "Mirrored" is still in its early stages, Braxton is relishing the opportunity to display his solo techniques to a larger audience. "The great thing with Battles is that it's not just about me, so I have more downtime," he says. "But with this, everything's from me, so it's more intense. It's a good balance to have something that's collaborative and something that's my solo vision."