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.
— Anthony Braxton

Anthony Braxton’s Ghost Trance Music

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.

One can think of GTM as a musical super-highway […] designed to put the player in the driver’s seat, drawing his or her intentions into the navigation of the performance.”
— Erica Dicker, SA16 The Braxton Issue
Composition No. 358

Composition No. 358

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 Collective, a mixed group of musicians coming from different backgrounds, looking for common ground (or not) in performing Braxton’s GTM.

It’s not about one person being in charge, but more like a field of activities. [...] It’s about ways of sharing and being together and having fun.
— Anthony Braxton

Ghost Trance Solo’s explores the full extend of Braxton’s GTM compositions in the context of a solo performance. In order to generate what Braxton refers to as a field of activities in a solo-context, I developed an intuitive set-up using loops and live-electronics to have several layers of musical material develop simultaneously and spontaneously.


Kobe Van Cauwenberghe, guitar and live electronics



Kobe Van Cauwenberghe, guitar

Teun Verbruggen, drums

Steven Delannoye, sax

Elisa Medinila, piano

Anna Jalving, violin

Niels Van Heertum, tuba

For more info and bookings just drop me aline here.

For more info on Ghost Trance Music, check out Erica Dicker’s article for Sound American 16, The Braxton issue. Or go to the Tri-Centric Foundation website.