Nathaniel Braddock is best known as an electric guitarist in the African styles band the Occidental Brothers Dance Band Int’l and Trio Mokili, in numerous rock bands including Ancientgreeks (Flameshovel), The Zincs (Thrill Jockey), Australian band Songs (Pop Frenzy), and Edith Frost (Drag City), and in the avant-garde chamber metal group the Butcher Shop Quartet. In addition to recording and performing, he is a touring music lecturer and was a ten-year faculty member at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music. At the OTSFM Braddock began specializing in acoustic guitar styles and taught classes in the music of John Fahey, Bert Jansch, Davy Graham, Nick Drake, Lena Hughes, African Palm Wine highlife, Desert Blues, and electric African guitar. Braddock has collaborated in teaching and performance with Ma- lians Moussa Diakate, Sidi Toure, and Abdallah ag Alhousseini (Tinariwen), Ghanaians Koo Nimo and Anthony Akablay, Congolese Samba Mapangala, and Zambian Mathew Tembo. He has performed at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Montreal Jazz Fest, Vancouver Jazz Fest, Chicago Jazz Fest, Pitchfork Festival, the Whitney Biennial, TEDx Cambridge, and many other venues and festivals.
After many years of teaching American and British folk guitar, Braddock was struck by how the core rhythms in his ngerstyle playing had changed from the 7/8’s and 5/4’s of his earlier music into the steady driving 4/4 bass of early American folk guitar. Braddock began actively composing for solo acoustic guitar in an attempt to both synthesize the in uence of the roots music he’d been teaching and to reawaken his personal language of rhythms and post-bop harmony. In 2014, Braddock moved from Chicago to Sydney, Australia, and far from his bands and collaborators he began writing in earnest, performing regular solo instrumental guitar and mandolin sets.
The new album Quadrille & Collapse, recorded in Melbourne, is the culmination of that work. It begins with “New Prague, Spring”—a Copeland-esque nod to the quiet of the American Mid- west, and ows into “The Desert Within”—Braddock’s emulation and extension of the rhythms and modes of the West African Sahel. The song “Quadrille & Collapse” takes the 19th century American open G tuning, and both plays within the idiom and extends its harmony into a world of dark chamber folk. The autobiographical “Regression To The Mean” fully embraces the driving ngerstyle rhythms that Braddock had ingested while teaching American folk, but here they move through processes and a harmonic world more informed by the American Minimalist composers. “Kodjo Odo Fowaa (Monday-born, you are beloved)” is a tribute to his son, written in the Ghanaian sikyi style. “Silvering Ghosts” is in 7/4, and inspired by the music of Steve Reich. “Doesn’t Remember” is a lengthy exploration in partial capoing and meter, and is a threnody for a departed friend. “In Alden Oak” takes the rhythm of folk guitar through a harmonic exploration closer to Wayne Shorter than Merle Travis. “Tiger Bucket” is a menac- ing stomp through dissonance in the open C tuning, equal parts Leo Kotke, Mark Ribot, and Hamza el Din.
In November of 2015, Braddock relocated to Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Pressed on gorgeous split-colored vinyl. Recorded in Melbourne by Casey Rice.
"[A]n exquisite display of fingerstyle playing that connects what John Fahey called American Primitive guitar with the traditional palm-wine style of Sierra Leone, with many detours in between.” - Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader
New Prague, Spring
The Desert Within
Quadrille & Collapse
Regression To The Mean
Kodjo Odo Fowaa
In Alden Oak
Released by Invertebrata Records