Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Matt Krieg reviews Elliot Sharp

Elliott Sharp: ‘The Velocity of Hue’ solo acoustic guitar

Emanem 4098 New Music / Free Improvisation

Elliott Sharp is a polymath musician who wields the guitar, saxophone, written score and conduction baton with equal integrity and commitment. He has been busily mapping out his own very individual musical path for forty+ years and has a wealth of diverse music on offer, from the overdriven avant skronk rock of his group Carbon, to process-based compositions, to opera and of course plenty of improv, much of it on rather loud and blues drenched electric guitar. Here, though, is an intimate close-up of Sharp and just one unamplified guitar, a slightly modified Godin steel string acoustic, offering a level of exposure and insight into his music-making that shows up yet another gleaming facet of his diamond edge sound world. Although recorded and released in 2003 it’s as fresh, immediate and ear-grabbing as the day it was made. One man and a guitar, freely improvising, recorded with needle point clarity: Delta blues bent through the prism of fractal intelligence; echoing sonorities of the Asian string family; drone murmurs and sliding moans of unknown nomads; slow motion bird displays and eight-legged spider crawl hyper-hammer-on expositions that take melody and your ear in several directions at once. Elliott Sharp covers a lot of musical ground on his exquisitely resonant guitar, with a steady flow of melodic and rhythmic ideas that unfold over an hour or so. No clichés, no pretensions, but a vivid and magnetic soul search with wood, steel and space. Judicious uses of e-bow along with a plethora of techniques are always employed at the service of the music. ‘Velocity’ immediately stood out in the Emanem catalogue as an American’s take on improvisation amidst a stableful of mainly British improvising musicians and was instantly a welcome addition to the fold. Marc Ribot, another ubiquitous NYC denizen of guitar, pens a pithy and celebratory liner note, and I wholeheartedly concur with him: ‘It’s a beautiful record’. One for the whole family, to be enjoyed time and again.
Contact: www.emanemdisc.com / md@emanemdisc.com / www.elliottsharp.com



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