Divided Time by sound designer and composer, Jonathan Sharp is a collection of pieces inspired and written for a collection of photographs he found that were taken between 1970 and 1977. Using piano and gentle electronic sounds, Sharp attempts to relive the photo in sound. Fans of Virginia Astley and Mark Peters will find this to be a joy.
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'Jonathan Sharp is a child of the 70’s', states the press release for 'Divided Time', the new project from Jonathan Sharp based around and inspired by a cache of photos he found that were taken during holidays spent in London. The photos, polaroids, are much like the album, hazy, undefined, without much form or definable composition.
This notion of time defining you, 'a child of the 70s', is one that you can hear in 'Divided Time'. Some of the sounds are alien, in that they were not made by instruments, but are always strangely familiar. The percussion could be a train going along tracks, someone's hand tapping a bannister, TV static. The thing I don't really get on with is a few of the synth sounds. They sound oppressively clean and processed, like MIDI straight out of the box. They almost tarnish what really is a great album.
The album is best when there everything is shifting and changing, not clutching onto any rhythm or form. Take the start of 'Cherry Woods, 1975', for instance. Four or five pretty different sounding instruments are introduced within half-seconds of each other. It's unsettling but still enjoyable. 'Hyde Park, 1975' (possibly my favourite from this record) has so much going on but it just about achieves a sense of wholeness. There are whirring synth textures, clicks so defined it feels like they're being imprinted directly into your myringa, and distant crashes like reedy thunder.
I enjoyed 'Divided Time', and it's a really interesting concept with some beautiful moments but my god those synth sounds...
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