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Brady, Tim: Actions Speak Louder

The COVID-19 lockdown prompted veteran Canadian guitarist Tim Brady -- whom Guitar Player magazine touted as one of the 30 most important guitarists for the future of the instrument -- to create three interconnected records. The result is Actions Speak Louder, a three-CD box set (with each disc also sold separately), that explores the "fundamental idea of a single musical continuum with three different approaches, but always with the idea of making connections through musical actions, rather than creating divisions through technical discourse,” according to Brady’s liner notes inside each of the digipak sleeves.

The first CD in this collection, titled “Solos and a Quartet: Simple Loops in Complex Times” delivers three new pieces for solo guitar with electronics. Two of them contain multiple movements and rely heavily on digital and analog effects and a phrase looper for ambience, while a quartet ensemble makes “Uncertain Impact” lively, varied and compelling.

The second CD, “v-Orchestra,” attempts to “re-imagine the orchestral experience in the 21st century within the limits of the lockdown and using the myriad possibilities of technology,” according to Brady. The “v” in the disc’s title represents “virtual,” and the three musicians featured (including Brady) ended up improvising harmonies, melodies and rhythms -- recording in their own home studios before the music was edited and mixed to create a 40-minute, four-movement “virtual triple concerto.”

The third disc, “Voices,” features two song cycles that veer into operatic territory. “Revolutionary Songs,” from 1993, is newly remastered and based on personal and historical stories of revolutions around the world, while “As It Happened” combines a live recording from 2000 with a new multi-channel studio production to create what Brady calls a “hybrid musical experience.”

As Scottish critic Brian Morton writes in an otherwise overblown essay that accompanies the box set, the three-part piece “relates to appalling psychological experiments conducted in Montreal in the 1960s, CIA-backed drug and shock therapy used to destroy individuals’ memories, with a view to reprogramming them. The piece takes a twenty-year-old live recording and subjects it to the most thoroughgoing and ambitious studio production Brady has attempted yet. Would such a thing have happened in the hurly burly of a non-COVID world?”

Actions Speak Louder likely will appeal to only a small portion of SoT’s listeners, but this collection is proof that for guitarists like Brady, “the act of making music, the passion of composing, the happiness of playing guitar” -- as he writes in the liner notes -- "have always been for me a single continuum of ideas and possibilities, never a series of discrete styles and rules.”

With Actions Speak Louder, Brady has buried the rules.

Track Listing:
Act 1: Solos and a Quartet: Simple Loops in Complex Times
1. Simple Loops in Complex Times - mvt. 1
2. Simple Loops in Complex Times - mvt. 2
3. Simple Loops in Complex Times - mvt. 3
4. At Sergio’s Request
5. 60% (just water)
6. The Virtuosity of Time - mvt. 1
7. The Virtuosity of Time - mvt. 2
8. The Virtuosity of Time - mvt. 3
9. The Virtuosity of Time - mvt. 4
10. Uncertain Impact (Quartet)

Act 2: v-Orchestra: Triple Concerto: Because Everything Has Changed
Mvt. 1
Mvt. 2
Mvt. 3
Mvt. 4

Act 3: Voices: Revolutionary Songs/As It Happened
1. The Twelve
2. When I Return
3> Chuchotements
4. Le Nom de Frere
5. Manana
6. Luces
7. Action
8. Reaction
9. Radio Landscape

Added: January 10th 2022
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Tim Brady Website
Hits: 69
Language: english

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