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.