a guitarist who is not afraid to take risks — Foxy Digitalis, USA
It’s an album that I instantly liked. — Vital, Netherlands
While Brady’s three previous Ambiances Magnétiques releases were all focused more on his work as a composer, GO [Guitar Obsession] brings the guitar back to centre stage, making it clear why Guitar Player Magazine has named the Montréal-based composer and musician “one of the 30 most important guitarists for the future of the instrument”.
The goal of the CD was to create a recording focused primarily on Brady’s guitar playing and composing, rather than on complex studio technology. Overdubbing, looping and computer processing were part of the production process, but they always take a back seat to the sound and texture of a solo guitar performance.
The first three pieces on the CD are updated versions of pieces which Brady composed over 20 years ago. GO [Guitar Obsession] is a fast, jazz-tinged loop piece; Yellow, Add Green is a deconstructed blues with overdubs and While Softly Sounds is a beautiful solo guitar ballad. Frame 22: Switch is a new work, for guitar and live electronics, moving from rock-tinged clusters to abstract electronics to a haunting, melismatic melody.
The work of four other composers is also an important part of this recording, underscoring Brady’s strong commitment to developing his vision of the electric guitar as a solo instrument in collaboration with other artists. Le Chants des baleines by Jean-François Laporte and unplugged by Alexander Burton where both commissioned by Brady, while Vampyr!, by French Tristan Murail, is a work dating from 1986. The CD ends with the quiet, reflective work Bobby J, by British composer Laurence Crane.
CD (AM 156)
- Label: Ambiances Magnétiques
- AM 156 / 2006
- UCC 771028115624
- Total duration: 65:54
- Sympathique case
- 126 mm × 126 mm × 5 mm
- 45 g
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In the press
Montréal’s Ambiances Magnétiques has released some 169 records since 1984 with a pretty remarkable batting record. The original members of the collective (including Jean Derome, René Lussier, Martin Tétreault and Danielle Palardy Roger) have for the most part continued to do challenging work, while younger musicians have been brought into the fold.
Tim Brady is a talented guitarist with a rockish sensibility and plenty of jazz chops. He loves his instrument the way Jasper Johns loves paint: thick and apparent. His 2002 release Twenty Quarter-Inch Jacks was, in that sense, wholly satisfying. As is, in a certain way, his new offering, GO. It’s diverse, it’s raw, it’s pretty, it’s precise. Four compositions of his own and four by others, all strong but as a whole uneven. The disc feels as if Brady is trying to show off many approaches and styles he can pull off. And pull them off he does, so well that it sounds as if it could be a compilation album.
Likewise pianist Gianni Lenoci’s wandering sextet record Sextant. At center, the group is a traditional enough line-up of keyboards, guitar, bass, drum and two saxophones, although the keyboards and guitars are sometimes electronically augmented. Two tracks not penned by Lenoci are Eric Dolphy’s Miss Ann and Morton Feldman’s Intermission VI. Lenoci’s pieces seem to follow the two worlds, skipping between minimalist and jazzy pieces, generally strong tracks, but ultimately seeming to be more a display of diversity than creating a unified feeling.
The same charge could be leveled against clarinetist Lori Freedman’s new CD, culled from three nights of live performances with different trios. The difference here is that the record is exceptional regardless of her motives. A set with guitarist Lussier and turntablist Tétreault is a fascinating, warm rumble. A matchup with saxophonist Derome and guitarist/percussionist Rainer Wiens is strangely moody with touches of spaghetti western. And with percussionist Roger and bassist Nicolas Caloia she explores quiet, extended-improv techniques and jazzier explorations. Despite the different sources, the album holds together surprisingly well.
A different sort of project is presented on the guitar duet by Arthur Bull and Daniel Heïkalo. It’s the sort of bashing-of-minds improv one would expect to find, at this point, in clubs and cafés around the world — busy, sometimes riotously so, and introspective, as if some personal space is being invaded simply by listening. Whereas the other discs ask to be listened to, Bull and Heïkalo seem forever to be changing the subject because a listener walked in.
While Brady’s three previous Ambiances Magnétiques releases were all focused more on his work as a composer, GO [Guitar Obsession] brings the guitar back to centre stage, making it clear why Guitar Player Magazine has named the Montréal-based composer and musician “one of the 30 most important guitarists for the future of the instrument”. The goal of the CD was to create a recording focused primarily on Brady’s guitar playing and composing, rather than on complex studio technology. Overdubbing, looping and computer processing were part of the production process, but they always take a back seat to the sound and texture of a solo guitar performance.
Montréal-based guitarist and composer Brady has been getting a lot of hype in guitar and improv circles, and this release is meant as a showcase for his varied fretwork. GO, short for “Guitar Obsession” is chock full of variety, from jazz-rock tinged tunes, to loops, some odd blues. There is even a suite, Frame 22: Switch, which incorporates most of the styles into an electronic guitar workout that manages to be rocking and moving at the same time.
As couple of the songs, GO, Yellow, Add Green, and As Softly Sounds were constructed slowly, between 1984 and this year. Oddly, these are the most striaght-forward of the tunes, making one wonder why they took so long to build. The final four tracks are compositions by others, including Jean-François Laporte, Laurence Crane, Tristan Murail, and a beautiful solo ballad by Alexandre Burton. While Brady may not be one of the great hopes for the future of the guitar, as has been hyped in a few quarters, he certainly shows himself to be a guitarist who is not afraid to take risks, and who has an ear open for the instruments possibilities in many forums. (8/10)
Il curriculum di Brady è nutrito e degno d’interesse. E forse in un contesto storico-biografico acquista senso Go, album compilativo, raccolta di exempla delle tecniche per chitarra e di approcci stilistico-tecnologici. L’unità poetica se ne va a gambe all’aria e il tutto appare adatto ad un corso di musicologia più che ad una fruizione appagante. Brady, certo, è un chitarrista extra-colto completo e fantasioso, senza preclusioni di genere (ora jazz, ora rock, ora heavy, ora minimal), peraltro propenso ad architetture sonore ben strutturate più che ad impeti impro. Ma, siano i simil contrappunti per strumento e loops o tracce preregistrate (Go, un tema confidenziale), siano le operazioni di decostruzione che portano il timbro dello strumento dal metal al blues (Yellow, Add Green), sia il duetto stocastico con il programma MAX/MSP che modifica in tempo reale gli input percussivi della cassa di una chitarra (Unplugged), si resta, nello spazio-tempo di questo cd, ad un livello di eccellenza interpretativa che purtroppo non vince la stucchevolezza didascalica. Può interessare parecchio ma emoziona assai poco.
For his fourth release on Montréal’s Dame label, composer and guitarist Tim Brady has created an album solely focused on the guitar — hence the not so subtle title Go [guitar obsession]. While his previous works were conceived with more compositional intent, this decadent 12-track effort marks a substantial directional shift that allows Brady to offer a rather dizzying display of his range. Filled with obsession and guitar addiction, GC [guitar crack] could easily have been a suitable secondary album title.
Don’t look for me to dissect this contemporary guitar oeuvre, Brady’s first solo guitar release in six years, because quite frankly GO is nearly impossible to classify (and of a very rare futuristic breed). From jazzy abstract noodling to more (further) deconstructed avant-garde improvisation, it offers numerous artistic pursuits you should listen to with a clean open-minded slate.
While the selections are mixed between studio and live recordings, most of the tracks are of the electric solo kind (and easily the most appealing of the lot); while others are guitar excursions with live electronics, built around the rapid jump from one sound to another. Brady does utilize a few tools (such as multi-tracking, looping and digital enhancements), but it leaves a resolutely secondary impact to the album’s overriding guitar-first philosophy. Not once was I ever confused enough to believe I was listening to something OTHER than a radical de-tuned guru and his guitar.
Oddly enough, my favorite pieces are light years away from each other— as in the first and last selections. Go is an updated piece dating back some 20 years which offers solos and loops “based around the note B, with chromatic scales in contrary motion, and a hint of a minor blues” - to quote the artist himself. A lovely late repetitive twist offers a feverish Steve Reich impression and a few jazz sprinkles. While my other favorite, the album closer Bobby J, offers simple elegant chords through a volume pedal and delay, performed with resonance and depth (not to mention a world of wonder).
PS - If you don’t believe me about his talent, you’ll be pleased to find out that Brady and Marjan Mozetich just won the 2006 Jan V Matejcek Prize for concert music, awarded by SOCAN on November 21 and 22, 2006.
A great album for lovers of the electric guitar. It should appeal for instance to fans of mister Fripp. There are already out a great many records from canadian Tim Brady. Most of them cover Brady as a composer. Go is his first solo-album and focuses on Brady as a guitar player. It’s an album that I instantly liked. We hear rich and multi-layered patterns, all generated by the guitars and electronic devices of Tim Brady. The feeling of blues, (hard) rock, jazz is always nearby, but most of the compositions are situated on a higher abstract level. The compositions range from quiet soundscaping like in Le Chant des baleines, to very loud heavy metal like excursions like in Vampyr!. All is done very intelligently and with great affection. The first four compositions are by Brady himself, and reworkings of pieces he composed in the 80s. The other four are works by four different composers: Jean-François Laporte, Alexandre Burton, Tristan Murail, Laurence Crane. 3 tracks were recorded live, the others in the studio. But the sound quality is very homogeneous. Brady leads us through a variety of atmospheres and musical idioms, ending up in Bobby J, a pastoral and elegant finale to this very enjoyable CD.
Given its full title, Guitar Obsession, leading Montréal-based new music guitarist and composer Tim Brady’s new CD covers much of the musical ground the electric guitar has travelled in the past three generations. In fact much of the zeitgeist of our popular culture has been saturated with this mighty instrument. In guises as different as serving in a Big Band rhythm section, to Stairway to Heaven, to the African Guitar Summit, this essentially quiet acoustic plucked string instrument has become through the mediation of electronic amplification a global musical juggernaut.
GO is really two CDs in one. While featuring the virtuoso cutting-edge guitar playing of Brady throughout, the first eight tracks are Brady originals, while the balance of compositions on the album are by others. Most notable of the other composers perhaps is the French Tristan Murail, known primarily for his “spectral” works. He is represented here in Brady’s ominous, ‘heavy metal’-sounding rendition of Vampyr! (1986), recorded live in a New York performance.
For me the outstanding track is GO. Here, Brady shows himself to be a musical quick change artist. In places jazzy, bluesy, and jaggedly new music-y, his guitar and composer chops effortlessly merge in a happy marriage. As a composer, he avoids solo guitar monotony by multi-tracking and thus layering his guitar lines, and varies GO with a rich palette of solo lines, solo with accompaniment and ensemble textures. He pays close attention to structure, variety of densities, tension and release, lyrical melodies as well as bell-like string harmonics.
If your personal musical obsessions include the extended electric guitar, then Tim Brady’s GO can certainly help scratch that itch.
Tim Brady est un des compositeurs et guitaristes les plus excitants que l’on puisse entendre aujourd’hui. Le magazine Guitar Player l’a classé parmi les 30 guitaristes les plus importants pour l’avenir de l’instrument. C’est donc avec un plaisir non dissimulé que nous accueillons son nouvel album, GO [Guitar Obsession]. Centré sur le jeu de guitare et sur l’écriture de Brady, il comprend huit pièces époustouflantes pour guitare électrique solo, électronique en direct, bande et ordinateur. Malgré l’attirail électronique, les sons et les textures, les accents jazz et blues, sont rendus avec clarté.
After a number of ensemble projects for the Ambiances Magnétiques label, GO (the letters stand for Guitar Obsession) reasserts Tim Brady’s stature as a guitarist. The album is split into two halves. First, we have four pieces by Brady, among which the title track is the highlight. A multitracked piece with criss-crossing loops and a feverish pace, it has all the structural complexity and immediate virtuosity Brady has gotten us used to. Yellow, Add Green is also noteworthy for its unusual devolution from trashy pyrotechnics to soulful blues licks. Frame 22: Switch, for guitar and live electronics is less striking and surely not unique, despite some inspired passages. The second half of the album features guitar pieces written for Brady. Jean-François Laporte’s Le Chant des baleines calls for an electric guitar with metal extension and resonator, played with a bow, and accompanied by an electroacoustic tape part. It is a haunting piece, although it remains somewhat cold. Ironically, Alexandre Burton’s Unplugged is another story. In this piece, Brady plays a de-tuned, unplugged electric guitar linked to a computer running Max/MSP. The human component of the piece draws from all the possibilities left by the unamplified instrument, including its percussive potential, while the computer manipulates and multiplies his efforts, with surprising results. Laurence Crane’s Bobby J is a quiet, reflexive resonant piece, strongly reminiscent of Chas Smith’s works. For anyone who may have missed Tristan Murail’s Vampyr! (already recorded by Brady for 10 Collaborations), here it is again, recorded live, a flashy metalesque piece of serious music. GO is Brady’s first guitar-centric album since 20 Quarter-Inch Jacks and, just for that reason, deserves investigation.
L’émérite compositeur montréalais récidive avec un album solo de guitare électrique. Ces cinq dernières années, Tim Brady a fait paraître sur l’étiquette Ambainces Magnétiques, cinq disques qui vont de compositions pour petits ensembles à l’opéra. Ici, outre ses propres compositions, le musicien nous propose celles de Jean-François Laporte, d’Alexandre Burton, de Laurence Crane et de Tristan Murail. La musique y est largement écrite et le traitement de la guitare va du son épuré à la très virile distorsion. Avec cet opus, Brady nous démontre encore une fois que sa polyvalence le propulse au-delà de toute convention. (3,5/5)