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2 x Brady, 20 x 1

Andrew Hurlbut, Musicworks, no. 87, October 1, 2003

For Twenty Quarter lnch Jacks, Brady reclaims his guitarist hat with a joyful vengeance. (The composer cap is still on his head, but noticeably askew.) The title selection is an eight-movement homage to the six-stringed beast, or rather, twenty of the things (see article Twenty Quarter Inch Jacks in Musicworks 85). Originally composed for and performed by a group of student guitarists, this version has Brady supplying all of the voices himself through the wonders of multi-track recording. His own physical voice provides occasional commentary and intones an alphabetical honour roll of guitar greats. The music pays homage to Steve Reich’s seminal 1987 work, Electric Counterpoint, yet is uniquely and compellingly Brady. Musk Box Bell Curves, (Hello Paris…), and Sauchiehall Street are scored for guitar and tape, and Brady manipulates the elements of each piece into a seamless whole. The former offers moments of transcendental beauty amid studied washes of sonic colour, although I find occasional vocal injections (Hello Paris…) to be intrusive at best. More eloquent is Sauchiehall Street, which captures Brady doing what he does best: creating vivid, imaginative soundscapes into which his own fluent guitarisms blend effortlessly.

Fans of Tim Brady’s guitar work may enjoy Twenty Quarter Inch Jacks, but others might be wise to start with his earlier Justin Time releases Scenarios, Imaginary Guitars, and Strange Attractors.