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GO [Guitar Obsession] Tim Brady

Tandis que les trois disques précédents de Tim Brady pour Ambiances Magnétiques étaient axés sur le compositeur, GO [Guitar Obsession] ramène son instrument de prédilection à l’avant-plan, illustrant clairement pourquoi le magazine Guitar Player a classé le montréalais «parmi les 30 guitaristes les plus importants pour l’avenir de l’instrument».

L’objectif pour ce disque consistait à créer un enregistrement centré d’abord et avant tout sur le jeu de guitare et l’écriture de Brady, plutôt que sur les prouesses technologiques du studio. Multipistage, mises en boucle et traitements informatiques ont servi à la réalisation de l’album, sans jamais masquer le son et la texture du jeu de guitare.

Les trois premiers morceaux du disque sont des mises à jour d’œuvres écrites il y a plus de 20 ans. GO [Guitar Obsession] est une pièce en boucle rapide, aux accents jazzés; Yellow, Add Green est un blues déconstruit avec surimpressions; alors que While Softly Sounds est une superbe ballade à la guitare solo. Frame 22: Switch, une nouvelle pièce pour guitare et électroniques en direct, passe de grappes plutôt rock à des électroniques abstraites, puis à une mélodie mélismatique obsédante.

Au cœur de cet enregistrement, on trouve aussi la contribution de quatre autres compositeurs, soulignant ainsi l’engagement de Brady à élaborer sa conception de la guitare électrique en tant qu’instrument soliste en collaboration avec d’autres artistes. Le Chant des baleines de Jean-François Laporte et unplugged d’Alexandre Burton sont des commandes de Brady; Vampyr!, du Français Tristan Murail, date de 1986. L’album se termine avec Bobby J, une œuvre douce et introspective du compositeur britannique Laurence Crane.

GO [Guitar Obsession]

Tim Brady

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Review

BLG, Downtown Music Gallery, 1 juin 2007

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.

CDs

Kurt Gottschalk, Signal to Noise, no 46, 1 juin 2007

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.

Review

Mike Wood, Foxy Digitalis, 3 janvier 2007

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)

a guitarist who is not afraid to take risks

Altrisuoni

Dionisio Capuano, Blow Up, no 104, 1 janvier 2007

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.

Adventurous contemporary guitar pieces (like you’ve rarely heard before).

Jay Jay Erickson, Panpot, 19 décembre 2006

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.

Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, no 555, 7 décembre 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.

It’s an album that I instantly liked.

Discoveries / Pot Pourri

Andrew Timar, The WholeNote, no 12:4, 1 décembre 2006

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.

If your personal musical obsessions include the extended electric guitar, then Tim Brady’s GO can certainly help scratch that itch.

Review

François Couture, AllMusic, 1 décembre 2006

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.

Critique

Gilles Boisclair, SOCAN, Paroles & Musique, no 13:4, 1 décembre 2006

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.

… un des compositeurs et guitaristes les plus excitants que l’on puisse entendre aujourd’hui.

Sélection CD

François Nadon, Ici Montréal, 26 octobre 2006

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)

Avec cet opus, Brady nous démontre encore une fois que sa polyvalence le propulse au-delà de toute convention.

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