Review of Playing Guitar: Symphony #1 by Tim Brady (2004, Ambiances Magnétiques AM 125 CD)
Timothy Wesley John Brady (born July 11, 1956 in Montréal) is a Canadian composer and guitarist, mainly working in contemporary and experimental music (though his name is in the Penguin Jazz Guide), and in his compositions uses a variety of styles ranging from serialism to minimalism, often incorporating modern instruments used in popular music such as electric guitars and synthesizers or electronic sampling, mediating everything with a strong personal expression.
A perfect example of his style is this album called Playing Guitar: Symphony # 1, initially conceived as a concert and then turned into a symphony where the (electric) guitar and the orchestra communicate with each other in an integrated and unambiguous way, without seeing a separation between parts: guitar is the orchestra and the orchestra is the guitar. This is a work in five movements, each of which takes its fundamental character from the act of “playing the guitar” while the sound of the trumpet, the flute, the violin and the piano are modified by electronics in order to create a sort of bridge, a link between the acoustic sound of the Modern Nouvel Ensemble and the electric – electronic sound coming out of guitar and samplers.
I have found very interesting the role of the various electronic samplers used to multiply the guitar sound by overlaying a choreographic work by creating a kind of electric sound aura that plays in contrast to the sound of the Ensemble, generating real tonal extinctions and real sound textures. Electronic and sampling plays a key role also in the piece that closes the record, “Frame 1 – Resonance”, a piano – electric guitar duo where the guitar behaves like a sort of big electronic resonator for the piano playing, becoming a sort of a large, sustained electro-acoustic pedal. An interesting insight.
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