Elliott Sharp


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Hara (february 1978 - Zoar, 1978) * with guitarist and flutist David Fulton
Resonance (Zoar, 1979) *
Rhythms And Blues (Zoar, 1980) **
Ism (Zoar, 1982) ***
Ism: Nots (Glass, 1982) *
Ism: R (Zoar 11, 1983) **
There (Zoar, 1983) **
Carbon (Zoar, 1984) ***
Marco Polo's Argali (Dossier, 1985) **
Semantics (Rift, 1985) ***
Fractal (Dossier, 1986) **
Tessalation Row (SST, 1986) ***
Virtual Stance (Dossier, 1987) **
In The Land Of The Yahoos (SST, 1987) **
Semantics: Bone Of Contention (SST, 1987) **
Larynx (SST, 1987) ****
Carbon: Monster Curve (SST, 1988) anthology
Looppool (Ear Rational, 1988), 6/10
Sili/Contemp/Tation (Dossier, 1989) anthology
Hammer/Anvil/Stirrup (Dossier, 1990) anthology
Bootstrappers (New Alliance, 1989), 5/10
Bootstrappers: Bootstrappers (New Alliance, 1989), 5/10
Bootstrappers: Gi=Go (Atonal, 1992), 6/10
Carbon: Datacide (Enemy, 1990), 6.5/10
Carbon: Tocsin (Enemy, 1991), 7/10
K!L!A!V! (Newport Classic, 1990), 6/10
Twistmap (Ear-Rational, 1991), 6/10
Beneath The Valley of The Ultra-Yahoos (Sulphur/Silent, 1992), 5/10
Orchestra Carbon: Abstract Repressionism - 1990-99 (Victo, 1993), 6/10
Carbon: Truthtable (Homestead, 1993), 5/10
Carbon: Amusia (Spectrum, 1994), 5/10
Interference (Atavistic, 1995), 6/10
Cryptid Fragments (Extreme, 1993), 6/10
Westwerk (Ear-Rational, 1993), 5/10
Psycho-Acoustic: Psycho-Acoustic (Victo, 1994), 6/10
Psycho-Acoustic: Blackburst (Victo, 1996), 6/10
Terraplane (Homestead, 1994), 4/10
Dyners Club (Intakt, 1994), 5/10
Boodlers: Boodlers (Cavity Search, 1995), 6.5/10
Boodlers: Counter Fit (Tim/Kerr, 1997), 5.5/10
Philorene (organico, 1995), 4/10
Chipfarm (God Mountain, 1995), 4/10
Tectonics: Tectonics (Atonal, 1995), 6.5/10
Hoosegow's Mighty (Homestead, 1996), 4/10
Xenocodex (Tzadik, 1996), 5/10
Sferics (Atonal, 1996), 4/10
Figure Ground (Tzadik, 1997), 4/10
Spring & Neap (Zoar, 1997), 4/10
Tectonics: Field And Stream (Atonal, 1997), 5/10
Revenge of The Stuttering Child (Tzadik, 1997), 4/10
Improvisations (JDK, 1998), 4/10
SyndaKit (Neos, 2008), 6/10
Downtown Lullaby (Depth Of Field, 1998), 5/10
Rwong Territory (Cavity Search, 1998), 4/10
GTR OBLQ (Knitting Factory, 1998), 5/10
Tectonics: Errata (Knitting Factory, 1999), 5/10
Blues For Next (Knitting Factory, 2000), 5/10
Acoustiphobia Vol 1 (Sublingual, 2001), 4/10
Anostalgia (Gross, 2002), 4/10
Prisoner's Dilemma (Gross, 2003), 4/10
String Quartets - 1986-1996 (Tzadik, 2003), 8/10 (anthology)
The Velocity of Hue (2004), 5/10
Terraplane: Secret Life (2007), 5/10
War Zones (2007), 5/10
Abstraction Distraction (2008), 6/10
Binibon (2010), 4/10
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Hyper-active New York-based guitarist Elliott Sharp (1951) was perhaps the most incoherent experimentalist of his age, almost adopting a different technique for each recording, but his wildly multiform activity came to symbolize the ultimate synthesis of dissonance, repetition and improvisation, the three cardinal points of the classical, rock and jazz avantgarde. Sharp emerged from the sociomusical revolution of the new wave of rock music and entered a jazz world that was still recovering from the destructive process of the creative improvisers. His early groups, such as the ones documented on ISM (october 1981), with cornetist Olu Dara, trombonist Art Baron, bassist Bill Laswell and drummer Charles Noyes, Carbon (july 1984), with Lesli Dalaba on trumpet and Charles Noyes on percussion, and Semantics (july 1985), with Sam Bennett on drums and Ned Rothenberg on saxophone, applied cacophony and deconstruction to funk, blues and rock. His atonal guitar style was looking for patterns, not melody.
Soon he was transcending free-jazz in the the savage sonic assault of Sili/Contemp/Tation (april 1985) for quintet (Sharp on reeds and guitars, two trombones, bassist David Hofstra, Previte), and pioneering the computer and the sampler in Virtual Stance, off Virtual Stance (may 1987), a collaboration with drummer Bobby Previte, later re-recorded on Looppool (august 1987) in a purely digital version for computer, sampler and drum machine (all operated by Sharp himself).
Last but not least, Sharp was abusing Mathematics, notably in two pieces for guitar, trombones and percussions, the tribal Marco Polo's Argali, off Six Songs (february 1985), and the dissonant ballet suite Not Yet Time off Fractal (march 1986), but also in the string quartet Tessalation Row (1986), all chamber works with tunings, counterpoint and dynamics based on the Fibonacci series, fractal geometry and chaos theory. His musico-mathematical studies culminated in the 40-minute pseudo-ethnic six-movement suite Larynx (october 1987) for a geometrically-organized 13-piece ensemble (Sharp on sax, clarinet, guitar and sampler, four brass players such as trumpeter Lesli Dalaba and three trombones, the four stringed instruments of the classical string quartet and four drummers including Previte, Bennett and Noyes), inspired by the overtones of Tibetan chanting. His "digital" adventures, instead, peaked with the structured improvisation Twenty Below for keyboard sextet (Anthony Coleman on toy piano and organ, Wayne Horvitz and Zeena Parkins on electronic keyboards, a reed organ and two musicians on samplers) off K!L!A!V! (august 1989).
Carbon remained his "rock'n'roll" alter-ego, that indulged in brief, frantic bursts of sound running the gamut from punk-jazz to funk-blues, as documented on vibrant, eclectic, acrobatic and reckless albums such as Datacide (march 1989), featuring Zeena Parkins on harp and two drummers, and Tocsin (september 1991), with Parkins and Sharp complemented by bass, percussion and sampler.
At the same time, he continued to score wildly dissonant works for chamber ensembles such as: Ferrous for "pantars" and "violinoid" (both homemade instruments), off Twistmap (june 1991); the atonal and very rhytmic chamber "orchestral" suite Abstract Repressionism - 1990-99 (april 1992) for guitar, string quartet and percussion, something halfway between Anthony Braxton, Iannis Xenakis and Glenn Branca; the electroacoustic piece Intifada (composed in 1992) with Sharp processing (via real-time MIDI control) the sound of his own guitar and clarinet and of a string quartet, off Xenocodex (1996); Cryptid Fragments (january 1993) for cello, violin and computer (Sharp himself), off Cryptid Fragments; Zappin' the Pram for Sharp's guitar improvisations over the music he composed for a guitar trio, off Dyners Club (december 1993); the guitar-harp duet Peregrine, off the Parkins-Sharp collaboration Blackburst (august 1995); Spring & Neap (october 1996) for Zeena Parkins on harp, Makoto Nomura on piano, Michiyo Yagi on koto, Yumiko Tanaka on shamisen, Yoshiko Fujio on shamisen, Tamiki Sawa and Mio Abe on violins, Hiromichi Sakamoto and Kota Miki on cellos, Hiroaki Mizutani and Masaaki Kikuchi on contrabasses, Guam Kumada and Kenji Ito on percussions.
Tectonics was yet another project, this time in the realm of dance music: Tectonics (february 1994), Field And Stream (december 1996) and Errata (september 1998) were solo albums for guitar, sax and massive electronic/digital processing that crafted a futuristic, groove-based fusion of jazz, drum'n'bass and glitch music.
As a guitar improviser, Sharp penned the guitar solos of Sferics (november 1995), The Velocity of Hue (june 2003) and Quadrature (june 2005), that are dictionaries of incorrect guitar techniques. Suspension Of Disbelief (recorded between July 1998 and July 2000) was a solo album on which Sharp played guitar, clarinet, saxophone, zither, bass, synthesizer and computers.
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Elliott Sharp (Cleveland, 1951) venne alla musica come chitarrista e sassofonista di un complesso blues di Ithaca, presso New York, un gruppo (che si sarebbe poi evoluto nei Mofungo) e, nonostante avesse studiato clarinetto, la chitarra rimase il suo strumento preferito. Influenzato dall'avanguardia elettronica e dal free jazz, sperimento' ogni sorta di mutazione dello strumento a sei corde. Inizio' a comporre nel 1974 (Attica Brothers, per quartetto di archi elettrici e tre percussioni), ma divenne un punto di riferimento del Village, soprattutto quando, nel 1981, fondo' Ism, con Bill Laswell al basso e Charles Noyes alle percussioni.

Percussion is the only constant on Ism (october 1981 - Zoar, 1982). Each of the tracks offers a different line-up and a different take on improvisation/composition. Sharp plays against Art Baron's trombone and Olu Dara's cornet in Carbon and Irreversibility; but then duets with Bill Laswell's bass in Surdification and with Art Baron's trombone in Transient; Filter is a trio with Laswell on bass and Charles Noyes on percussion, but Just Like Here is a band piece with all of them (Baron, Dara, Laswell, Noyes).

Ism (Zoar, 1982) e' una delle pietre miliari del movimento. Orchestrato per chitarra, basso, cornetta, trombone e una moltitudine di percussioni, eccelle nei brani (come Carbon) che esibiscono appunto una percussivita` tribale trapunta di riverberi elettronici e di metalliche cacofonie. E' una musica che vive di un battito ossessivo e unanime, a cui partecipano tanto i fiati come i tamburi, immersi tutti a loro volta in una folla di percussioni africane, e sul quale si tendono le urla e i versi grotteschi della strumentazione elettrica. Il suo referente piu' immediato e' la danza primitiva o la fanfara delle bande di paese. La composizione piu' ipnotica e incalzante e' Transient, sui cui tappeti follemente poliritmici si librano a turno i fiati in frasi minimaliste e improvvisazioni di free jazz, per culminare in un crescendo epilettico; sorta di Sister Ray a perdifiato della foresta equatoriale. Le piece piu' disarticolate sono invece Filter e Nots, saggi di cacofonia surreale.

In quegli anni Sharp era aperto a tutte le esperienze: danza etnica nell'EP Free World, funk militante in History, esperimenti acustici negli album solisti Resonance (december 1978) e Rhythms And Blues (february 1980), improvvisazioni libere e cacofoniche nella parte live di There (may 1983), in particolare Effector la piu' anarchica, Rinse Cycle la piu' incalzante, duetti per chitarra atonale e giradischi (Christian Marclay) negli ultimi due brani di There, soprattutto History, l'opera performance in Innosense (inedita), e persino una forma di hard-rock d'avanguardia nel disco in coppia con Michael Brown, I/S/M:R.

Rhythms And Blues (february 1980 - Zoar, 1980) collects ten solos on ten different instruments, from bass clarinet to soprano sax, each titled with the name of the instrument, a rare feat of eclecticism. Anthony Braxton's influence is strong on Bass Clarinet, but Soprano Sax abandons structure in search for an almost weeping feeling. The intricate shrill metallic passages of Acoustic Guitar sound like country music from another universe, and Electric 12-string could be a very twisted tribute to Jimi Hendrix. But Fretless and other pieces are just too chaotic for the sake of being chaotic.

Nots (Glass Records, 1982) is an anthology of Ism that collects rare and unreleased material.

Degna prosecuzione del programma degli Ism fu il trio formato l'anno dopo con Lesli Dalaba alla tromba e Charles Noyes alle percussioni e dedito a minuscoli frammenti di un surreale bebop cacofonico (otto dei quali sono riportati su (T)here). Sono micro-concerti da camera in cui i suoni piu' estremi della chitarra e delle percussioni si mescolano ai suggestivi fraseggi della tromba per dare origine ad armonie oniricamente disgregate (Calibrate) e provocatoriamente stridenti (Cold Facts), non insensibili alla tradizione jazz (Body Barn, Crash Course), nelle quali rimangono tracce del tribalismo degli Ism (Rumble Strips, Calldump).

Da quell'esperienza nacque il gruppo aperto Carbon, impostato sullo stesso trio piu' percussionisti saltuari che si alternano a vari strumenti. Carbon (july 1984), la prima prova, vive nel segno del caos piu' disarticolato. Ogni brano e' una nebulosa di suoni discreti che acquista personalita' grazie a una tipica progressione minimalista (la fanfara sbilenca di Iso) o a un percussionismo capace di livelli sinistri e abominevoli di violenza: la danza primitiva, grottesca e dirompente di Whose News (loro insuperato capolavoro), la cadenza di palude e il pulviscolo di rumori di Helicopters, la sarabanda di stecche chitarristiche di Geometry, il ritualismo horror di Inverse Proportions con la tromba-sirena di Lesli Dalaba in moto perpetuo. Carbon decreta la nascita di un nuovo genere musicale, una sorta di free jazz etno-indutriale di cui e' esemplare dimostrazione il tribalismo ipnotico di As Diversity Appears, con la tromba mimetica di Dalaba e truci crescendo esasperati da arrangiamenti non meno barbari e demenziali. Negli anni successivi il repertorio dell'ensemble si arricchira' di altre sarabande caotiche di ritmi industriali e fanfare free jazz (CIA Pope) e di altre litanie orientali con scordature funky a ritmo frenetico (Intervention), di balbettii armonici violentemente sconnessi (Squig su Fractal), di mantra orrendamente deturpati (Dusts su Fractal) e di una lunga suite dissonante per il balletto (Not Yet Time su Fractal (march 1986), con Bobby Previte alla batteria e James Staley al trombone).

Le opere successive esplorano invece il rapporto fra musica e matematica: la suite Marco Polo's Argali (february 1985 - Dossier, 1985), che consiste di fatto in un incalzante e gratuito "pestare" di grancassa, tromboni e chitarre intercalato con lamenti dissonanti dei tromboni, il tutto portato a livelli di babelica confusione attraverso una successione inebriante di crescendo: gli aforismi per chitarra iper-distorta come Diffractal (su Fractal); le fanfare alla In C come Alveoli; i duetti fra la sua chitarra e la batteria (Previte) di Virtual Stance (may 1987), in particolare la lunga title-track per un balletto, uno dei suoi primi esperimenti al computer e al sampler; la fantasia Sili/ Contemp/ Tation (1986), ancor piu' veemente e sconclusionata nel suo disordinato assalto percussivo, lacerata da fendenti violentissimi di chitarra scordata e da ogni sorta di rumori fiatistici; e altre cacofonie in progressione del periodo come Self-squared Dragon, sono valanghe sonore senza controllo che si situano a meta' strada fra i muri sonori di Branca e le jam di free jazz. Sono opere che si propongono di fungere da ponte fra caos (l'improvvisazione) e ordine (la geometria dei frattali, la serie di Fibonacci, eccetera). La maniera chitarristica di Sharp, che produce armoniche selvagge e poliritmi sconnessi, e' sostenuta dal drumming ossessivo di Robert Previte.

Viene alla luce anche la faccia piu' accessibile della sua sperimentazione sull'album Semantics, in trio con il batterista Sam Bennett e il sassofonista Ned Rothenberg. Il disco rivela tendenze etnico-ritualiste (Hole In The Pocket) nell'ambito di un primitivismo "beefheartiano" (Vliet's Van), mentre il suo seguito Bone Of Contention e' un orgiastico heavy-metal jazz fondato su riff demenziali (R-Byte Mock Fry), grottesche cadenze funk (Shredded) e catalessi da blues primordiale (Addressee Unknown, Big Sleep).

Ma in parallelo Sharp persegue i suoi rituali occulti: Tessalation Row, quartetto di un'intensita' sonora estrema, violentemente atonale, e' un altro dotto compendio dei suoi esperimenti cannibaleschi sugli strumenti a corde e sui suoni deformati dai microfoni. Tessalation Row e' in realta' la versione per quartetto d'archi (Sharp non vi suona) di una suite piu' vasta, Re/Iterations, che applica il metodo compositivo basato sulla serie di Fibonacci all'orchestra d'archi mentre due percussionisti (Bobby Previte e Charles Noyes) e un basso (Sharp stesso) improvvisano liberamente in sintonia con la musica cosi' prodotta.

Piu' accessibile risulta il satirico In The Land Of The Yahoos, ancora succube delle suggestioni africane: Free Society e' un free jazz aggiornato al tribalismo primitivo, alle distorsioni psichedeliche, alle fratture armoniche del rap; Gulagogo un semplice balletto percussivo; Ratnap un piu' ossessivo bozzetto ritmico; Fundamentia un lamento orientale su poliritmi frenetici ed assordanti. Anche gli esperimenti piu' ardui, totalmente inintellegibili, come la sonata per nastri di L-L-Love (Marclay al giradischi), le dissonanze espressioniste di Ras/Ten, le voci trattate elettronicamente (Shelley Hirsh) di Ornament And Crime, esibiscono la misura consisa e l'unita' armonica della forma-canzone.

Il capolavoro del periodo e' forse Larynx (SST, 1987 - Neos, 2008), una suite in sei parti (Sharp, Previte, Bennett, Noyes, un quartetto d'archi, David Fulton al trombone, Lesli Dalaba alla tromba, e un trio di tromboni) ispirata alla musica vocale degli esquimesi e della Mongolia. Si apre e chiude con due uragani percussivi (quattro i batteristi) e annovera uno dei piu' grotteschi pezzi di jazz dissonante (il secondo movimento, per sassofoni ubriachi, risate di tromba, borboglii di chitarra e colpi del tutto casuali di batteria) e una delle piu' suggestive slapstick cacofoniche (il quarto movimento, con la tromba minimale di Dalaba e le stecche criminali di Sharp nel convulso rumorismo di Noyes e Previte).

Nel 1988 viene data la prima di un altro suo lavoro "serio", il quartetto d'archi Hammer, Anvil, Stirrup in cui i musicisti devono usare una melodia e un ritmo di base per una certa serie di operazioni, fra cui alcune improvvisazioni libere.

Hammer, Anvil, Stirrup (SST, 1989) combina Tessalation Row e due versioni di Hammer, Anvil, Stirrup.

Sharp, che nel frattempo ha continuato a produrre ed arrangiare i dischi dei Mofungo, e' un tipico esponente della civilta' delle soffitte di Manhattan. Cresciuto al suono del free jazz, del minimalismo e delle musiche etniche, ha tentanto di amalgamare quel poderoso corpus di influenze in una nuova musica d'avanguardia. Cosi' facendo si e' reso conto di dover amalgamare ordine e disordine, e da questa antinomia ha avuto origine uno dei programmi di ricerca piu' schizofrenici dell'epoca. In pratica non esiste un solo Sharp, ma almeno due Sharp: l'arduo sperimentatore post-seriale e il solista creativo dedito a jam post-moderne.

Monster Curve (SST, 1988) is an anthology of Fractal, Marco Polo's Argali and Carbon. Sili/Contemp/Tation (Dossier, 1989) is another anthology of the same albums, focusing on the longer tracks: Marco Polo's Argali and Sili/Contemp/Tation.

Free improviser, minimalist composer, noise sculptor, new-wave guitarist and prog-rocker, Elliott Sharp entered the last decade of the century at the peak of his multi-faceted talent.

Looppool (august 1987 - Ear Rational, 1988) was an ambitious solo album. Sharp opted for computer, sampler and drum machine, but his music did not change all that much. It includes a 20-minute version of Virtual Stance.

Bootstrappers (New Alliance, 1989) was a trio with George Hurley on drums and Mike Watt on bass (basically Sharp and the Minutemen's rhythm section). The Bootstrappers' second album, Gi=Go (Atonal, 1992), mainly devoted to the suite Garbage In = Garbage Out, had replaced the rhythm section with Jan Kotik and Thom Kotik.

Sharp reformed Carbon with Samm Bennett on percussion and samples, David Linton on drums, and Zeena Parkins on harp and keyboard to record Datacide (march 1989 - Enemy, 1990), an album that, abandoning the cacophonous aesthetic of the 1980s, bordered on industrial music and on death-metal. Even better, Tocsin (september 1991 - Enemy, 1991) retained Parkins, but the rest of the line-up was new (bassist Marc Sloan, percussionist Joseph Trump, David Weinstein on sampler) and the program was only instrumental. Carbon remained his "rock'n'roll" alter-ego, that indulged in brief, frantic vignettes running the gamut from punk-jazz to funk-blues. Both records are vibrant, eclectic, acrobatic and reckless.

K!L!A!V! (Newport Classic, 1990) was an eccentric recording, entirely devoted to keyboard instruments: the 22-minute keyboards orgy Twenty Below for keyboard sextet (Anthony Coleman on toy piano and organ, Wayne Horvitz and Zeena Parkins on electronic keyboards, a reed organ and two musicians on samplers), the six-part suite K!L!A!V! for computer and sampler (both operated by Sharp himself), and the 21-minute piano solo Mapping.

Twistmap (june 1991) contains two pieces for string quartet (the 11-minute Twistmap and the 8-minute Shapeshifters), the 19-minute Ferrous for percussions and "violinoid", and the 10-minute String Of Strings for samples.

Beneath The Valley of The Ultra-Yahoos (Sulphur/Silent, 1992), another satire on the USA lifestyle, features Sharp leading on different instruments (on guitar, bass, sampler, voice, saxophone, computer, drum machine, and even mandolin) in different combinations with drummer Bennett, Anthony Coleman's organ and various vocalists. Just like its predecessor In The Land Of The Yahoos, this is pop music compared with his most "scientific" work.

Orchestra Carbon's Abstract Repressionism 1990-99 (april 1992 - Victor, 1993) is an atonal chamber orchestra suite including three lengthy compositions (Adventures In The Skintrade, X-Tactic, Dystopia Exit) as well as shorter pieces. This "orchestral" work is a very rhythmic mix of jazz, classical and minimalism, something halfway between Anthony Braxton, Iannis Xenakis and Glenn Branca.

Carbon's Truthtable (september 1992 - Homestead, 1993) was Parkins, Trump, Marc Sloan on bass, David Weinstein on sampler and Sharp on sampler, computer, guitars. Sharp's distorted vocals were the album's main drawback, making it sound like a cheap imitation of industrial metal. Carbon's Amusia (Spectrum, 1994) was divided between solo Sharp tracks and group tracks Parkins, Sloan, Trump, Weinstein). Both albums sounded transitional and insecure: not as terrifying as the early ones, and not fully "something else" yet. Dispensing with the annoying vocals, the same quintet recorded the all-instrumental Interference (Atavistic, 1995), which finally moved towards a more abstract and dilated sound (Onyx, Jungle Freeze, the eleven-minute Thermal) despite the usual fits of neurosis (Slag).

Cryptid Fragments (Extreme, 1993) contains two wildly dissonant suites (Shapeshifters, Twistmap) performed by the Soldier String Quartet, the four-part Cryptid Fragments for cello, violin and computer (the computer distorting the timbres of the instruments and completely rearranging the sequencing), and Umbra for cello and sampler (the sampler producing a wealth of instrumental voices that storm the cello lines).

Westwerk (Ear-Rational, 1993) documented a solo (and relatively subdued, by his standards) concert by Sharp, performing the 14-minute Temblor, the 14-minute Rods And Cones, the 35-minute Histogram (on doubleneck guitarbass, soprano, voice).

Psycho-Acoustic (Victo, 1994) and especially Blackburst (august 1995 - Victo, 1996), that contains the 25-minute Peregrine, were duos with Parkins.

Terraplane (Homestead, 1994) was his tribute to classic blues.

Dyners Club (december 1993 - Intakt, 1994) contains Sharp's guitar improvisations over the composed music of a guitar trio.

Boodlers (Cavity Search, 1995) was a live performance with bassist Fred Chalenor and drummer Henry Franzoni, delivering terrific playing and inspired lengthy counterpoint (Acid-Jazz Payback, Buckshot, Cambionics, Boodlerama). The trio would deliver a less inspired follow-up, Counter Fit (Tim/Kerr, 1997).

A number of minor works followed. Philorene (organico, 1995) was a collaboration with David Barratt on sampler. Chipfarm (God Mountain, 1995) was a collaboration among Optical-8 (a Japanese quartet led by Hoppy Kamiyama on electronics and samples, and Otomo Yoshihide on guitar and turntables), Japanese rockers Melt Banana, and Zeena Parkins. Hoosegow's Mighty (Homestead, 1996) was a collaboration with vocalist Queen Esther, and, de facto, another tribute to the blues. Xenocodex (Tzadik, 1996) was a collaboration between Sharp (on guitar and clarinet) and the Soldier String Quartet on two of Sharp's electroacoustic compositions, the 19-minute X-Topia and the 29-minute Intifada, both obtained by processing in real-time the sound of the instruments. Figure Ground (Tzadik, 1997) collects soundtracks for films and installations: The Salt Mines (1988), Dreaming out Loud (1990), Daddy and the Muscle Academy (1991), Prey (1996). Spring & Neap (october 1996 - Zoar, 1997) documents a live performance of a Sharp composition performed by Zeena Parkins on harp, Makoto Nomura on piano, Michiyo Yagi on koto, Yumiko Tanaka on shamisen, Yoshiko Fujio on shamisen, Tamiki Sawa and Mio Abe on violins, Hiromichi Sakamoto and Kota Miki on cellos, Hiroaki Mizutani and Masaaki Kikuchi on contrabasses, Guam Kumada and Kenji Ito on percussions. Revenge of The Stuttering Child (Tzadik, 1997) is a collaboration with narrator Ronny Someck. Improvisations (JDK, 1998) is a collaboration with cellist Frances-Marie Uitti. Downtown Lullaby (Depth Of Field, 1998) is a collaboration with Wayne Horvitz, John Zorn and Bobby Previte, Rwong Territory (april 1998 - Cavity Search, 1998) documents a live performance with DJ Soulslinger. GTR OBLQ (Knitting Factory, 1998) was a guitar trio with Living Colors' Vernon Reid and David Torn.

Tectonics (february 1994 - Atonal, 1995) was mostly solo experiments, with an increased role for electronics and electronic grooves: it ended up sounding like the fusion between jazz and drum'n'bass that disc-jockeys around the world were pursuing, but from the perspective of the free improviser. It became a stand-alone project (Tectonics) on Field And Stream (december 1996 - Atonal, 1997), with compositions ever more futuristic and syncopated (Glimpse Of Field Effect, Fzarp, Anatomic Dub, etc), and Errata (september 1998 - Knitting Factory, 1999 - Neos, 2008).

Sferics (november 1985 - Atonal, 1996) delivered five solo guitar tracks (Source Taproot, Event Horizon, Oscuro, Teak, Clarify) and shorter pieces in the vein of Sonny Sharrock.

Arc 1, Arc 2 and Arc 3 (Atavistic, 1998) are career retrospectives.

Other compositions of this period include: the interactive audio installations Tag (1997) and Chromatine (2001), and Fluvial (2002).

SyndaKit (Neos, 2008), composed in 1998 for the Orchestra Carbon (Sharp on guitar, Judith Insell on viola, Rea Mochiach on percussion, Zeena Parkins on electric harp, Jim Pugliese on percussion, Ted Reichman on accordion, Marc Sloan on electric bass, Tim Smith on bass clarinet, David Soldier on violin, Evan Spritzer on bass clarinet, Joseph Trump on percussion, David Weinstein on synthesizer and sampler), is a 66-minute game-driven composition: "a transformative organism consisting of 144 composed cores on 12 sheets divided among the 12 players with a set of simple rules for their use through processes of imitation, addition, recombination, transposition, and mutation... based on the activities of flocking birds, African drum choirs, cellular automata, hunting packs, and recombinant amino acids".

Blues For Next (Knitting Factory, 2000) and Do The Don't (2004) continued the blues experiment of Terraplane.

Acoustiphobia Vol 1 (Sublingual, 2001) is a live improvisation among Ikue Mori, Christian Marclay and Elliott Sharp.

Anostalgia (Gross, 2002) and Feuchtify (2006) were collaborations with pianist Reinhold Friedl.

Prisoner's Dilemma (Gross, 2003) was a collaboration with Previte.

String Quartets - 1986-1996 (Tzadik, 2003) collects all the music for string quartet, including Digital (1986), Tessalation Row (1986), Hammer/Anvil/Stirrup (1988), Lumen (1996).

Suspension Of Disbelief (recorded between july 1998 and july 2000) was a solo album on which Sharp played guitar, clarinet, saxophone, zither, bass, synthesizer and computers.

Beyond (2000) was a live collaboration with Italian guitarist Roberto Zorzi and drummer Joey Baron.

Radio Hyper-Yahoo (2004) was another satire of the American way of life.

The Velocity of Hue (Emanem, 2004) is a solo acoustic guitar album, a wild excursion through the sounds of blues, heavy-metal, post-rock, free-jazz and Ry Cooder. The experimented was continued on Quadrature - Solo Electroacoustic Guitar (2005).

Tongue (All Questions, 2004), a collaboration between John Duncan and Elliott Sharp, is musique concrete with a soul, as the two manipulate and reprocess sounds produced by their mouths (hard to describe them as merely "human voice").

Tranz (2005) was a collaboration with Merzbow.

Terraplane (Alex Harding on baritone saxophone, Curtis Fowlkes on trombone, David Hofstra on bass, Lance Carter on drums) became the name of his horns-driven blues band, the blues equivalent of Carbon. They debuted with Secret Life (Intuition, 2007), that mixed roadhouse sound with guitar dissonance. Its follow-up, Forgery (Intuition, 2007), featured vocalist Eric Mingus, poet Tracy Morris, trombonist Curtis Fowlkes, bassist Dave Hofstra and drummer Tony Lewis on a set of songs that often celebrate contemporary events such as the Iraqi war and the Katrina hurricane. The horns steal the show in the drunk marching-band anthem Juke.

Sharp returned to the acoustic guitar for an interpretation of of Thelonious Monk tunes on Sharp? Monk? Sharp! Monk! (2006).

Pi:k (september 2005) collects duets with viola player Charlotte Hug.

Concert in Dachau (may 2007) documents solo performances for guitar and/or laptop.

Octal - The Book One (august 2007 - Clean Feed) collects works for eight-string electroacustic guitarbass. Base (recorded in 2008) collects guitar duets with Antoine Berthiaume. Protoplastic (september 2008) collects duets with Boris Savoldelli (on vocals and electronics).

War Zones (october 2007) features Nevada Diggs (on vocals), Philip Jeck (on turntables), Hans Koch (on reeds), Fredy Studer (on drums) and Bernhard Lang (on keyboards and electronics) performing Paranoia, an excerpt of his theatre work Der Alte vom Berge, and Ripples from the Bang, mostly improvised with pre-prepared electronic sound files.

Sharp played eight-string guitarbass, guitar and soprano sax on Carbon's Void Coordinates (july 2009 - Intakt, 2010), recorded live with Zeena Parkins (electric harp), Marc Sloan (electric and prepared bass), Joseph Trump (drums) and David Weinstein (sampler and synthesizer).

Abstraction Distraction (august 2008) contained pieces for soprano and tenor saxes processed via analog and digital electronics, with drum programming and computer processing by Joseph Trump, Sim Cain and Tony Lewis.

About Us (2010) is a science-fiction opera for teenage performers.

Binibon (Henceforth, 2010) is an "opera" with a libretto by Jack Womack about a murder. The album is too "spoken" to qualify as a work of art. Sharp's music basically plays the role of a soundtrack. His occasional incursions in free jazz (The Scene), acid-rock (Susie and Johnny) and musique concrete <(i>Murder and) are merely commentaries.

Reflexions (Idiolect, 2010) was a collaboration with Michiyo Yagi. Octal Book Two (Clean Feed, 2010) collected more works for eight-string electroacustic guitarbass. Electric Willie (Yellowbird, 2010) was a tribute to Willie Dixon. Snowplow (march 2010) documents a collaboration between Andrea Centazzo and guitarist Elliott Sharp. Canephora (Nuun, 2011) was a collaboration with bass clarinetist Gareth Davis.

Sharp' Orchestra Carbon, featuring Ned Rothenberg (reeds), Steve Swell (trombone), Zeena Parkins, David Weinstein and Jim Pugliese (samplers), released the live Radiolaria (march 2001). Terraplane released Yellowman: A Play (january 2011) for the theater, and then Sky Road Songs (november 2011), on which the leader played mandocello, guitar & electronics flanked by Joe Mardin (vocals, drums, bass & chank guitar), Tracie Morris & Eric Mingus (vocals), Curtis Fowlkes (trombone), Alex Harding (baritone sax), Dave Hofstra (bass), Don McKenzie (drums) and 80-year old electric guitarist and blues legend Hubert Sumlin.

Cut with Occam's Razor (2012) collects Boreal (2009) for string quartet, Oligosono for solo piano (2004) and the double quartet Occam's Razor.

Aggregat (july 2011 - Clean Feed, 2012) collects various minor vignettes for trio (with bassist Brad Jones and drummer Ches Smith) in which Sharp mostly plays saxophones.

Open The Door (Public Eyesore) documents a 1999 collaboration between guitarists Nels Cline and Elliott Sharp (plus a live recording of 2007). Duo Milano (april 2006) documents more guitar duets between Cline and Sharp.

Payton Peter Elliott (2012) collects improvisations by Peter Evans, Payton MacDonald and Elliott Sharp.

Momentum Anomaly (New Atlantis, 2012), originally premiered in may 2007, was a 60-minute acoustic guitar solo performed using an e-bow, the follow-up to Velocity of Hue and Quadrature.

Crossing the Waters (Intakt, 2013) documents the first studio recording (march 2012) by the trio of Elliott Sharp (guitar), Melvin Gibbs (bass) and Lucas Niggli (drums).

Haptikon (Long Song, 2013) collects computer-enhanced pieces for electric-guitar pieces.

Aggregat came back with Quintet (2013), on which Sharp played tenor and soprano saxes and bass clarinet along with Nate Wooley (trumpet), Terry Green (trombone), Brad Jones (bass) and Ches Smith (drums). Sharp's Incident collects music for cinema and theater.

The eleven-part suite In The Pelagic Zone (Jazzwerkstatt, 2013), recorded in november 2011, was composed for a a 14-piece chamber group consisting of a string quartet, brass, reeds, two percussionists, piano, guitar, contrabass, and electronics.

Ostryepolya (Not Two, 2013) documents two live performances by the acoustic guitar duo of Elliott Sharp and Scott Fields (may 2009 and march 2010).

Momentum Anomaly (august 2012) contains five solo acoustic e-bow guitar compositions, a follow-up of sorts to Velocity Of Hue and Quadrature.

This prolific stage of his career also yielded the algorithmic score Flexagons (2011), Storm Of The Eye (2012) for solo violin, Turing Test (2012), Oneirika (2012), Persistence of Vision (2012), the suite Tribute MLK Berlin '64 (2014), the opera Port Bou (2014), and the string quartets Tranzience (2013), Mare Undarum (2013) and Akheron (2014).

Akra Kampo (july 2014) contains duets with fellow guitarist Scott Fields.

Tranzience (New World, 2016) collects four compositions recorded in different years: the 28-minute Tranzience (2013), which is another string quartet; the ten-minute Approaching The Arches Of Corti (1997), which is a sax quartet; the nine-minute Homage Leroy Jenkins (2008) for clarinet, violin and piano; and the 12-minute Venus & Jupiter (2012) for chamber ensemble.

Aggregat's Dialectrical (february 2016), again featuring Sharp on saxes and clarinets, boasted the new lineup of Taylor Ho Bynum (trumpet), Brad Jones (bass), Terry Green (trombone) and Barry Altschul (drums).

Boreal (Starkland, 2016) collects solo, chamber and orchestral music. The four-movement Boreal (2009) is scored for string quartet equipped with custom bows swings between clownish whining and perverted jarring noise with sudden minimalist orgasms, and achieves its peak of pathos with the whispered pizzicato of the fourth movement. Oligosono (2004) for solo prepared piano exhibits a swinging geometry as well as metronomic riffing and driving crescendoes that create the effect of endless mirror reflections (especially the second movement, which is a sort of allegro). Proof of Erdos (2006) for orchestra is yet another excursion by Sharp in the world of number theory and nonetheless capable of yielding emotional moments such as the gentle cacophony of the first movement and the twisted waltz of the second. On Corlear's Hook (2007) for orchestra is the rare pictorial composition in Sharp's canon. The tense chirping morphs into the massive dramatic suspenseful drones of the second with its thundering crescendo, and the breezy harp-like fluttering of the third movement flows into the loud ferociously grotesque disorder of the fourth one.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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