If you can't get enough of Colin Stetson then try Jason Sharp. He also plays the saxophone and uses it to make immersive and layered electro-acoustic music. Following the phenomenal and Norman-loved A Boat Upon Its Blood, he produces four ten minute pieces which he says is an abstracted survey of organic nature. It's synth elements also fit in nicely with the latest vogue for synth composition influenced by John Carpenter, Tangerine Dream et al.
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Jason Sharp made one of my absolute favourite records of its year in ‘A Boat Upon its Blood’, an epic tone poem of great harshness and gentility that swayed like disgruntled ripples in water. His approach to electro-acoustic music, as well as jazz and post-rock, informed a record evocative even by Constellation’s heavy-hearted standards. He returns with ‘Stand Above the Streams’, a four-part song that once again sees him perform with a ‘heart amplifier’ that keeps the record’s noisy, estranged arrangements close to the most personal pulsations of all.
Somehow more dramatic than his debut, this record sees Sharp’s horn playing dominate proceedings -- augmented with gorgeous strings, dub techno beats and ambient texture, he plays his bass and baritone saxes as harsh snippets or as unrelenting sheets. On the record’s first part, notes of the horn are pushed through with a chord-like feeling, cloudy and resonant like they’re passing phases of a Stars of the Lid track. Elsewhere, he uses circular breathing to create a constantly replenishing soundscape, at first leading me to believe I was listening to a collaboration with labelmate Colin Stetson. The speed in which Sharp changes lanes on this record, developing his ideas both passionately and haphazardly, means that the listener is caught within a storm before being pushed out of its flurry.
There’s so much going on in this record it’s hard to know what to highlight -- sounds rise up like condensing steam against modular electronic mutations that couldn’t be any less their opposite. The rasping sound of the heart amplifier wrestles with feedback; a romantic, differently narrative violin performance from Jesse Zubot meets free improvisation, contact mic’d saxophone and jazz drumming. As always, it meets in the most remarkable of intersections, between Sharp’s doomy, devastated playing and his warm, hopeful heart. Another triumph.
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- Stand Above The Streams by Jason Sharp
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