My 20th Century

Tim Brady / Bradyworks, Quatuor Molinari

Tim Brady embrasse un champ temporel plus vaste, non circonscrit exclusivement à la musique, en se focalisant toutefois sur quelques images bien précises, parfois anecdotiques. Revue & Corrigée, France

… they are engaging and enjoyable. Signal to Noise, USA

Prix Opus 2009-10: Disque de l’année — Finaliste

My 20th Century CD and DVD is a multimedia extravaganza from composer/guitarist Tim Brady in collaboration with video artists Martin Messier and Oana Suteu. Linking the history and the music of the 20th century in a single music/video narrative, the four strikingly original compositions are paired with four spectacular videos to create a new and intensified musical experience in this new Ambiances Magnétiques release.

Strumming is for multiple guitars, and uses a single musical gesture (strumming) and a single video image (the hand of a person strumming a guitar) to slowly build up a trance-like series of chords, melodies and visual textures.

Traces is a strongly jazz-inflected work for guitar, piano, percussion, saxophone and sampler which pays hommage to jazz guitarist Charlie Christian, and which combines with Martin Messier’s extraordinary video creation, based on the 2 million letters in the DNA source code.

Hommage à Rosa Luxemburg (Casino Adagio) is a slow, haunting work for string quartet and electronic soundscape, played beautifully by Montréal’s Quatuor Molinari, and placed in counterpoint to Oana Suteu’s evocative images of Île-aux-Coudres and the Casino du Lac-Leamy.

Double Quartet is the most ambitious piece on the CD, a 3-movement work reflecting on the life of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, and his home town of St. Petersburgh. Combined with archival footage, and impressive and unexpected images of present-day St. Petersburgh, this 30-minute work speaks not only of the tragic history of the city, but also of the strength and determination which it has shown in the past. —Tim Brady, July 2009

CD + DVD-Video (AM 189)



  • Label: Ambiances Magnétiques
  • AM 189
  • 2009
  • UCC 771028118922
  • Total duration: 70:59
  • Sympathique case
  • 126 mm × 126 mm × 5 mm
  • 70 g

On the web

Some recommended items
In the press


Dionisio Capuano, Blow Up, no. 143, May 1, 2010

Avant Prog

Vincenzo Giorgio, Wonderous Stories, no. 17, April 1, 2010

[…] Mi riferisco alla nuova opera del chitarrista/compositore Tim Brady che con My 20th Century ci regala la sua personalissima sintesi del secolo appena concluso. Dapprima è la narrazione per chitarra sola di Strumming (curiosamente dedicata a John Lennon), una sorta di crocevia tra il Fripp più estremo e una sorta di Mike Oldfield in formato lisergico. Poi tocca al post-serialismo di Traces, composizione molto ardita per quintetto semi-acustico che, successivamente, lascia il campo ai quasi venti minuti di Hommage à Rosa Luxemburg. Anche qui siamo proiettati nel cuore delle avanguardie del primo novecento dove un lacerante paesaggio elettronico ospita lunghi fraseggi per quartetto d’archi, situazione che - sebbene con una dose di ulteriore drammaticità - viene riproposta in Double Quartet (Hommage à Dmitri Chostakovich) articolata in tre movimenti: Impossible Pizzicato Machine, An Infinity of Four e Hockey Canon, Fugue che vede nell’armonizzazione introspettiva del movimento centrale il suo momento migliore. L’uscita è completata da un dvd che ripropone le medesime composizioni abbinandole ad un percorso visivo.


Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no. 83, March 1, 2010
Tim Brady embrasse un champ temporel plus vaste, non circonscrit exclusivement à la musique, en se focalisant toutefois sur quelques images bien précises, parfois anecdotiques.


Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 710, December 28, 2009

The name of Tim Brady regularly appears in the columns of Vital Weekly. This time with his multimedia project My 20th Century, subtitled as a ‘music/video/theatre narrative in 4 works’. CD and DVD contain the same compositions in the identical performance. The dvd has as an extra the beautiful videos from artists Martin Messier and Oana Suteu that were shown during performance. To exclude any misunderstanding, the dvd contains no pictures of the performance. Usually I feel very ambiguous about multimedia-projects. Personally I don’t need pictures if the music satisfies me, nor the other way around. But with each dvd-release like this one, I try to put my prejudices aside. And in this case I have to reconsider my views on this point. Music and the videos are very worthwhile, and I felt no urge to put one of them down. On the other hand, whether the combination of these two media produce something that is bigger then their sum, is still a question for me. BradyBrady started this project in 2003 when the first work was composed. The others followed in 2005. The works are performed by his own ensemble Bradyworks and Quator Molinari. Strumming (for John Lennon) is the most accessible of all four works. It is written for multiple guitars and built from limited musical material. Simple riffs and repeated and alternately textured. Because repetition is a key element is this composition it has a hypnotizing effect. This is underlined by the video that is constructed from pictures of a hand of a person strumming a guitar. Traces is a work for guitar, piano, percussion, saxophone and sampler and brings tribute to another guitarist, namely jazz musician Charlie Christian. Brady deconstructed a guitar solo by Christian hat he played in concert with Bennie Goodman in 1941. By doing this BradyBrady abstracted from jazz and choose a pulsating, tight and severe sounding new music jacket as we know from earlier works by BradyBrady. Hommage à Rosa Luxemburg (Casino Adagio) is written for string quartet plus electronics. The electronic environment is ever changing and full of detail. For this work BradyBrady took inspiration from a painting by Jean-Paul Riopelle, “a work obsessed with ghostly images of birds and nature”. The CD closes with Double Quartet, divided in three sections this ambitious work reflects on the life of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich. It features a “virtual string quartet” plus piano, saxophone, percussion and electric guitar. How the collaboration between BradyBrady and video artists Martin Messier and Oana Suteu came about I don’t know. From the pictures I suppose that they were chosen and created in function of the compositions by Brady. Oana Suteu did the video for Hommage à Rosa Luxemburg. Martin Messier made the other three ones. Martin Messier is a composer and performer as well, and the fascination for the relation between sound and images, unites his talents. Oana Suteu is from Romania, where she studied at the Film and Theatre Academy in Bucharest.


M, Where’d All My Friends Go?, November 11, 2009

Bradyworks & Quatuor Molinari together constitute the audio half of a compelling new multimedia project, My 20th Century, by Montréal-based guitarist/composer Tim Brady. The two compositions align many styles Brady has previously employed but, right off, seems best suited to the voluminous chamber. With a film by videographers Martin Messier (also a renowned French-Canadian musician) and Oanu Suteu exhibited alongside four guitar-led narratives, Brady eloquently melds important artistic and social developments of the 20th century. Together, through abstraction and recognizable archetypes, it’s all very moving, at times even overwhelming. An interesting project, but Brady’s half of the deal is what I’ll casually return to.

it’s all very moving, at times even overwhelming.


Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, October 30, 2009

Tim Brady is perhaps the most ambitious guitarist and composer to emerge from Canada over the past couple of decades. He rarely seems to be tied to any one category like jazz, classical or progressive rock, although his music involves all of those and more. This double disc (CD+DVD) set is Tim’s most ambitious work yet. My 20th Century features two ensembles: Bradyworks (el. guitar, piano, saxes, sampler & percussion) and the Quatuor Molinari (string quartet) plus video. This work is broken into four parts, each one an homage to an certain artist. Strumming (for John Lennon)> is first and it was inspired by the John Kennedy assassination, the arrival of the Beatles and the way TV brought the world together for these monumental events. The piece features multiple electric guitars and a looped video image. I dig the way a melody and then some guitar noise is trying to break through the multiple layers of strumming. Each of the various layers of guitar parts evokes different ways the electric guitar effects our lives. Traces (for Charlie Christian) was inspired by a famous early jazz guitar solo (Solo Flight from 1941), in which Mr. Christian joined Benny Goodman on stage at Carnegie Hall, thus breaking down racial barriers. This piece features Bradyworks, Tim’s working quintet, and it is a deconstruction of Mr. Christian’s solo. I like the way that this work turns the original melody inside out, so we hear it in different ways, speeding it up and slowing it down in places. Hommage à Rosa Luxemburg was inspired by a painting by Jean-Paul Riopelle, “a work obsessed with ghostly images of birds and nature”. This piece features the Quatuor Molinari string quartet and samples of the casino where the painting was hung. It is long and consistently fascinating with slowly swirling layers of strings punctuated by selective samples. The final piece is called Double Quartet and it does indeed feature both groups. It is dedicated to the composer Dmitri Shostakovich and was inspired by the composers’s long life in Russia under various regimes and the great music that he composed. This piece is the most ambitious yet and is about 30 minutes long, broken into three sections. As I listen to this piece for the third time in 2 days, I am still amazed by the many things involved: Zappa-like quirky writing, tight inter-connected lines moving together and around one another like with the precision of a successful train schedule (not NJ Transit). The video DVD provides another source of stimulation to be dealt with and again it takes time to absorb the many different ideas involved. A great deal of preparation and work obviously went into wonderful double disc set, so please take the time seriously study this grand work. It will be well worth it, I can assure you.

Tim Brady is perhaps the most ambitious guitarist and composer to emerge from Canada over the past couple of decades.


François Couture, Monsieur Délire, September 25, 2009

It took a few years (Hommage à Rosa Luxembourg goes back to 2005), but here it is, finally on record, Tim Brady’s My 20th Century. The idea was to use various century historical or anecdotal events of 20th century to tie together four of Brady’s works into a performace of music, video, and narrative. The narrative aspect is somewhat weak, but musically, this is Brady’s strongest work with Bradyworks since… Revolutionary Songs, perhaps? Four pieces (10-30 minutes each) bringing together contemporary chamber music and electric guitar. Strumming is a jewel of single-minded madness, very intense. And the Shostakovitch tribute Double Quartet is some great Brady: complex, systematic, elegant, sitting right on the fence between genres. This is album is out as a CD+DVD set — the DVD includes the same studio recordings, supported by the Martin Messier and Oana Suteu videos shown in live performances of the works. It’s not a live recording and you don’t get to see the musicians.

… musically, this is Brady’s strongest work with Bradyworks since… Revolutionary Songs.

Guide Disques

Réjean Beaucage, Voir, September 24, 2009

Avec ce CD/DVD, le guitariste Tim Brady frappe un grand coup. Il célèbre le 20e anniversaire de son ensemble, Bradyworks, et invite le Quatuor Molinari, mais c’est nous qui avons le cadeau: un excellent CD et de superbes vidéos (pas très genre MusiquePlus). Il prouve encore une fois qu’il est l’un des compositeurs québécois contemporains les plus intéressants. Grâce à cet alliage de musiques contemporaine, électroacoustique et «pop» (plutôt en sous-texte), il démontre qu’il a vu passer le 20e siècle et qu’il en a assimilé les enseignements. Pour rendre hommage dans une même pièce à John Lennon, Charlie Christian, Rosa Luxemburg et Dmitri Chostakovitch, il faut de l’imagination.

Il prouve encore une fois qu’il est l’un des compositeurs québécois contemporains les plus intéressants.