Tim Brady Topology: Scat

Tim Brady’s ever-expanding skills as a composer are displayed to spectacular effect on his tough new disc. His compositions are always a seatbelt-fastening experience; they are wild, precise orchestrations that, in basketball parlance, distribute the ball with efficiency. On this disc, the Australian quintet Topology bring these challenging works to life, along with Brady, who dispenses with his guitar entirely in favour of samples. The melodies un-spool amongst all five players; the narrative is always maintained, but produced by always-recombinant instrumental voices. Brady’s sample technique can lapse into clumsy, Synclavier-like rigidity, but elsewhere the effect is almost seamless as he folds compositions in on themselves in a digital style. The three long form pieces are too complex to sum up in a few sentences but all are rich landscapes of activity and evocative slower sections. The final track features Christa Powell’s frenzied viola engaging with sample orchestration in a fiery Plunderphonic showdown. This is yet another superb, ambitious Brady work. (Ambiances Magnétiques)