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.
A new Torn record is always a cause for celebration, but FUR/TORN is a bonanza for fans of the artist’s guitar playing. Performed solo, with no overdubs, it is distilled Torn—a reduction of pure tone, technique and ideas. He performs with his Ronin “Supastah” set clean and through a variety of hairy fuzz pedals (FUR?). We talked about the vagaries of the virus, what he looks for in a fuzz, our mutual admiration of the late John Abercrombie, and much more. The video and sound came out pristine, and given that we all have more time on our hands, I thought I would offer Guitar Moderne fans a chance to sit in on our unedited conversation. Enjoy and subscribe for more like this.
When Jessica Ackerley performs with her clean Strat plugged straight into her amp, the accuracy and authority of her rapid-fire right hand is a thing of beauty. Her record A New Kind of Water [Bandcamp] made Guitar Moderne Record Picks XVIII based on her warm tones, advanced sense of space, and musical interaction. On the other side are the unique sounds she gets through her pedal board when performing in her noise-pop duo ESSi. The combination made talking to her a must.
One day, I came across Keisuke Matsuno on Don Mount’s YouTube channel. Suddenly it was going, “Who is this guy? This is a kind of guitar I love: exactly the way he does what he does, in the context in which he does it.” Certainly, there are other guitar players playing modern guitar sounds within the context of already outside, noisy, or fully electronic music, like Matsuno’s work with Hans Tammen. Rarer is the ability to inject these elements into a largely consonant context, like Nels Cline with Wilco, Ethan Ballinger’s work with country star Lee Ann Womack, or the subversive playing Matsuno himself does in saxophonist Timo Vollbrecht’s Fly Magic ensemble.