Tim Brady’s Instruments of Happiness Remote Performance

Tim Brady is one of the premier composers of might be called the new classical canon for electric guitar. He largely does ensemble work ranging from quartets to groups of 200. Last year I went to his home of Montreal to write about him for Guitar Player and garnered enough additional material for a two part Guitar Moderne interview here and here.

As is typical during this lockdown, Brady and his group, Instruments of Happiness, are offering a remote performance of one of his pieces. He also answered some questions about the process.

“Click tracks and post-production sync are everybody’s secret weapon for Zoom-style videos.  It does not suit freer-styles of music very well, but for stuff with traditional metric organization, it is perfect.

I sent everybody an MP3 with a very detailed click track—all the beats, but also all the bar numbers, so we are all totally ‘on the same page.’ Plus everyone had a detailed part and score and an MP3 of the sampled version of the piece, so they had a rough idea of what it should sound like. No improv, as you can tell.

We then recorded each part separately, at each home; there was no live sync.  We added an 8-beat ‘sync cue’ to the start of the piece so it could all be synced in post-production.  These are not state secrets; it’s what everyone is doing, basically just overdubbing.  Some guys used earbuds, some used monitors, it depends on their home set-up.

Everyone recorded direct to a DAW—not with a phone mic—so we could get something approaching a decent guitar sound.  I also used the full range of EQ, compressors, limiters, delay reverb and a few subtle mod FX to give it that studio sound.”

Most of my solo CDs in the ’90s used heavy overdubbing and click-tracks, so it was like coming back to a technique I already knew, but had not used for 20 years. It has its uses.”





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