Nathaniel Braddock — Quadrille & Collapse (Invertebrata)
Some musicians will show you a few things, but others can really school you. Nathaniel Braddock is one of the latter. He put in over 10 years teaching at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music, where he led classes in American, African and English fingerpicking styles on the one hand, and a class that performed songs by SST bands on the other. The catch with being a versatile teacher is that you can’t necessarily foreground your own style when you’re helping a student find theirs, and in Braddock’s case this was compounded by attaining a measure of success with his African-themed Occidental Brothers Dance Band International. When Braddock moved from Chicago to Australia a few years ago, the new-ish dad on a new continent was housebound and free to reflect on which parts of what he’d learned meant something to him. What he found, as documented on Quadrille & Collapse, is a synthesis of the aforementioned folk styles, some of the tricky stuff he used to play in the late 90s with The Ancient Greeks, and a bit of minimalist repetition. “Doesn’t Remember,” for example, interrupts Philip Glass-like repetition with intricate bridging phrases, while “Silvering Ghosts” sounds like Steve Reich adapted to West African and Caribbean picking techniques. Braddock doesn’t seem to be putting as much time into teaching these days; he hasn’t updated his private lesson page to reflect that fact that he now lives in Massachusetts. But there’s still plenty to learn as well as enjoy in his integrations of disparate styles.