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JASON SHARP

Jason Sharp

The Turning Centre Of A Still World

    Montréal saxophonist and electroacoustic composer Jason Sharp presents his third album on Constellation. The Turning Centre Of A Still World is Sharp’s first purely solo record and his most lucid, poignant, integral work to date. Following two acclaimed albums composed around particular collaborators and guest players, Sharp conceived his third as an interplay strictly bounded by his own body, his acoustic instrument, and his evolving bespoke electronic system. The Turning Centre... is a singular sonic exploration of human machine calibration, interaction, expression and biofeedback.

    Using saxophones, foot-controlled bass pedals, and his own pulse – patched through a heart monitor routed to variegated signal paths that trigger modular synthesizers and samplers. Sharp paints with organic waves of glistening synthesis, pink noise and digitalia. Melodic strokes and harmonic shapes ripple and crest across ever-shifting seas, through an inclement cycle from dawn to dusk. The album’s six main movements navigate a world where placid surfaces are always roiled and disquieted by a deeper inexorable gyre: the gravitational pull and tidal perpetuity of our bodies made of water, buffeted by terrestrial atmospheric pressures, wrung out by emotions, coursing with blood, sustained by breath, inescapably yearning for and returning to ground again and again. Sharp’s heartbeat literally courses through these compositions – while only occasionally surfacing as a clearly audible pulse or rhythm, it physically feeds into a spectrum of generative synthetic processes that help constitute and conduct the music.
    The immersive, intensive, widescreen electronic works on The Turning Centre… could sit comfortably as a masterful and stellar contribution to the space/sci-fi/synth soundtrack genre, owing to their overall sound palette and oceanic scope. But this is ultimately deeper, grittier, earthier stuff – pulsing with terrestrial granularity, charting subterranean geographies of the heart and soul.

    Sharp chose an unsparing time to commit to a rigorously solo practice: pandemic lockdown occurred just as the first studio sessions with sound engineer Radwan Moumneh (Jerusalem In My Heart, Matana Roberts, Suuns) were scheduled to begin. While much of the central architecture and several themes had already been constructed, Sharp found his isolation music marinating in a socially-distanced anxiety soup beyond all imagining, yielding some profoundly deeper flavours and hues. As the album attests: he more than stuck with it. With sessions rescheduled under covid protocols in Fall 2020, Moumneh captured Sharp at a peak of technical, technological, and intangibly expressive power.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: There are few releases on Constellation Records I don't like, so this was really either going to be something I liked or something I loved. Turns out it's the latter, and i'm pretty sure the thing that swung it was the modular synths. A huge all-encompassing wall of electronic drones and intricate, crystalline sound sculptures. It's towering but fragile, beautifully warm and overwhelming.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Intro
    2. Unwinding Surrender
    3. Velocity Of Being
    4. Blossoming Rest
    5. Upwelling Hope
    6. Humility Of Pain
    7. Everything Is Waiting For You
    8. Outro

    Jason Sharp

    Stand Above The Streams

      Jason Sharp has emerged as one of Canada’s most fascinating new music composers in recent years. From his roots as a saxophonist in Montréal’s fertile jazz and improv scene, Sharp developed as a soloist with drone-based durational music, circular breathing, and an increasing exploration of the body and technology. His impressive 2016 debut A Boat Upon Its Blood is a roiling and musically diverse work of modern composition inspired by a Robert Creeley poem, distinguished by Sharp’s use of a heart monitor and amplified breath to trigger various rhythmic and textural electronic elements –alongside his own saxophone playing and contributions from guest players on violin and lap steel guitar.

      Stand Above The Streams expands on this approach, with Sharp having further developed his custom Midi and synthesis apparatuses, and most notably collaborating on these compositions with Adam Basanta, whose renowned practice in sound art, sound installation and autonomous sound systems makes for impressively immersive, layered and complex new work.

      All sound sources on Stand Above The Streams originate with Sharp (with the exception of violin from the album’s co-producer and mixing engineer Jesse Zubot on one song): bass and baritone saxophones, heartbeat, pulse, and breathing are played/processed in real time through Sharp’s own signal-bending synthesis rig and through Basanta’s bespoke ‘controlled feedback’ amplification system. The album’s rhythms are generated wholly from Sharp’s similarly controlled breathing and heart rate. The results are utterly gripping, with melodic and micro-tonal elements flowing amidst waves of atmospheric pink and brown noise, low-end modulation and calibrated distortion.

      Through four parts each running in the 10-minute range, Stand Above The Streams conjures an evocative, abstracted survey of organic nature, perhaps from on high, like a satellite scanning and processing data across diverse and slowly changing landscapes. The album also sits very comfortably alongside the recent resurgence in synth-based soundtrack music (John Carpenter, Tangerine Dream et al) – though as alien as it can sometimes sound, there is an unmistakable human element and underlying warmth that courses through the tensile strength of this music, electrifying it with the viscera of the body

      TRACK LISTING

      01 Stand Above The Streams Pt. 1
      02 Stand Above The Streams Pt. 2
      03 Stand Above The Streams Pt. 3
      04 Stand Above The Streams Pt. 4

      Off World, Automatisme, Jason Sharp

      Constellation Fall 2016 Bundle

        Three new releases vinyl albums bundled together at one very special price!!

        Off World - 1
        Automatisme - Momentform Accumulations
        Jason Sharp - A Boat Upon Its Blood

        Jason Sharp has been a fixture of Montréal's experimental/improv scene for many years, chiefly as a saxophonist exploring drone and durational music, while also collaborating in a wide variety of jazz, avant and contemporary music ensembles. His work as a composer, conductor and band leader in his own right is now featured on A Boat Upon Its Blood, the first album-length recording to be released under his own name: a bracingly meditative multi-movement instrumental work that charts a highly compelling arc of shifting energies and intensities. Using custom-built equipment to translate breath and heart rate into variegated sonic triggers, along with other modes of signal processing and in tandem with traditional instrumentation, the album features Sharp's own reed playing with contributions from a few guest musicians on pedal steel guitar, violin and various percussion. Recorded by Thierry Amar (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Vic Chesnutt) at the Hotel2Tango in Montréal and mixed and mastered by Jesse Zubot (Tanya Tagaq, Drip Audio Records), A Boat Upon Its Blood is a genre-defying album with a highly immersive and satisfying sound palette that impels deep listening and demands to be taken in as a whole. Constellation is thrilled to present Jason Sharp as a unique and invigorating new voice in modern-contemporary music. 

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: Terse repeated patterns, droning chamber-classical strings and metallic reverbs are thrust together with waveshaped synth lines, visceral evolving patterns and crackly field recordings. Electronic loops are woody and hollow, topped off with industrial hits and melancholic swirls. Absorbing, and demanding of your attention, this is one to get stuck into when no-one else is around. Disarmingly real, and alarmingly deep.

        TRACK LISTING

        01 A Boat Upon Its Blood Pt. 1
        02 A Boat Upon Its Blood Pt. 2
        03 A Boat Upon Its Blood Pt. 3
        04 In The Construction Of The Chest, There Is A Heart
        05 A Blast At Best
        06 Still I Sit, With You Inside Me Pt. 1
        07 Still I Sit, With You Inside Me Pt. 2 


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