Actions Speak Louder. Music is better than cheap talks (Redshift Records 2021) on #neuguitars #blog
We already met composer and guitarist Tim Brady some time ago, here on Neuguitars blog.
Brady is a somewhat atypical figure, poised between the image of the classically trained composer and the electric guitar interpreter linked to forms of popular music. A sort of medium between these two cultural forms, a semiotic interpreter of a form of collective subconscious expressed by music lovers who move between different cultural forms, allergic to strict definitions of gender. I have read reviews defining him as ‘engaged in the complicated role of rehabilitating an instrument often confined to popular music, especially rock, and making it a legitimate source of inspiration for so-called’ serious ‘compositions’. I don’t think so. First, I do not see what there is to rehabilitate in the electric guitar since this instrument has managed to reach a very high level of quality both in the most popular music such as rock and jazz, and in its more experimental forms such as free jazz, free improvisation, the most extreme ambient and noise forms. Second, I believe that the musical forms linked to classically trained composers are parallel evolutionary structures, linked more to the expressive possibilities offered to composers by the electric instrument than to the desire to “free” an instrument that is already very free in itself.
The thing that, in my opinion, most distinguishes Brady is his ability to use techniques and forms changed by jazz rock and progressive rock in new contexts, hybridizing them with other forms of classical and contemporary derivation. His musical structures are interesting because they are based more on a form of translation, of ‘shifting’, which leads the electric guitar to explore new territories, without however ever alternating the bases.
Like many other musicians, Tim Brady also had to review his business, adapting to the pause for reflection imposed by the pandemic. Unlike his other colleagues, Brady wasted no time in preferring action to chat. He has profitably used this suspended time to make a sum of three albums grouped under the title “Actions Speak Louder”, bringing back the essence of making music, which should always take precedence over theory or analysis.
“Act One: Solos and a Quartet” centers on Brady’s solo guitar work. The three movements “Simple Loops in Complex Time” are very marked by the iconic sound of the electric guitar, with Brady extending repeated patterns through ever-changing temporal variations. The four movements “The Virtuosity of Time” tend, on the other hand, towards more purely electronic masses of sound. The last piece of the album is “Uncertain Impact” for guitar quartet, a vigorously hammered work with a complex rhythmic counterpoint, performed here by Instruments of Happiness (Brady together with Jonathan Barriault, Simone Duchesne and Francis Burnet-Turcotte).
“Act 2: v-Orchestra: Triple Concerto: Because Everything Has Changed” contains a four-movement concerto for electric guitar, violin (played by Helmut Lipsky), tabla and percussion (Shawn Mativetsky) and virtual orchestra. The latter creates a supporting sound base based on the manipulation of dynamics and density to create a dramatic backdrop for the movements of the three soloists. All three play with a sense of urgency, a compressed energy adequate to the emotional tensions that expand and contract during the forty minutes of the piece.
“Act 3: Voices: Revolutionary Songs / As It Happened”: voices are in the spotlight. Brady here reviews a recording of his “Revolutionary Songs” cycle, composed in 1993. Performed by soprano Nathalie Poulin, André Leroux on saxophones, Gordon Cleland on cello, Louise-Andrée Baril on piano and Marie-Josée Simard on percussion, this work is imbued with the minimalist style and influence of György Ligeti. The second piece, “As it Happen” combines samples taken from an interview along with choir, guitar and percussion in a conceptual work based on the secret drug abuse experiments conducted by the CIA in Montreal in the 1960s.
This latest album is certainly the most accessible of the three. It will appeal to newbies or the curious who want to venture into the world of contemporary music. In itself it is an impressive work: three CDs assembled in a box. It is not something we see every day.