"if you can take the pain, then the profits are all yours"
Tyondai Braxton - Central Market

With Battles still working their way through the mountains of algebras that will make up their inevitably brain-bending second full album, 'vocalist' Ty Braxton sat back down on his magic carpet of guitar pedals and set to work on his next record.

This time around, the layers and loops were not the product itself but merely the building blocks, as the former composition student used the approach to map out a score for the celebrated Wordless Musical Orchestra. Consequently, 'Central Market' is some of kind of mutant, voiceless opera; pastoral innocence and post-industrial decay playing together and not always gently. Battles Unplugged it is not; but it's still a world away from the Stravinsky ballet 'Petrushka', which he has revealed as a major influence.

The first four pieces swell with mischief (this is the man, let's not forget, who decided to pitch up his voice to the frequency of a crying dog on 'Atlas'), before arriving at the epicentre of his creation, the epic 'Platinum Rows', a shifting bed of orchestral movements that jolt recklessly as our conductor waves his charged baton. As the record progresses, we enter more familiar territory, the Eno-esque 'Unfurling' leading us into colder, dystopic worlds, reflective of the crises affecting the biggest central markets of all.

The grinding, detuned guitars of 'J.City', the only actual 'song' on the album, are sure to please fans of Braxton's solo and Battles work, while 'Dead Strings' hurtles along like Squarepusher soundtracking a car chase scene in some lost 1960s espionage movie. 'Central Market' is not always a pleasant place to do business - but, if you can take the pain, then the profits are all yours.

8/10

Words by Neil Condron
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