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Elliott Sharp/Mary Halvorson/Marc Ribot — Err Guitar (May 19, 2017)

Elliott Sharp/Mary Halvorson/Marc Ribot — Err Guitar (May 19, 2017)

 Elliott Sharp/Mary Halvorson/Marc Ribot — Err Guitar   Elliott Sharp/Mary Halvorson/Marc Ribot — Err Guitar (May 19, 2017)♠    Last summer in Elliott Sharp’s recording studio in Manhattan, New York guitarist Sharp spent a day with guitar colleague Mary Halvorson and another with Marc Ribot, legendary guitarist of Tom Waits, The Lounge Lizards and Marianne Faithful. The result was a series of recordings that could only be created by friends. They represent the great art of guitar playing by three exceptional musicians looking for new sonic adventures in search of the sound of our time. “I hear in their playing both a step into an unknown future and wild growth from a deep past,” says Elliott Sharp. “The contradiction is resolved in improvisation — the transcendent sonic path of the now.”
Born: Mar 1, 1951
Location: Cleveland, OH
Genre: Contemporary Jazz  
Album release: May 19, 2017
Record Label: Intakt Records
01. Blindspot     7:22
02. The Ship I Am On     2:46
03. Wobbly     7:14
04. Shredding Light     6:59
05. Sinistre     3:47
06. I’m Gonna Party Like It’s 1988     2:40
07. Sequola Pt. 1     4:22
08. Sequola Pt. 2     2:59
09. Oronym     9:07
10. Sea Buzz     5:03
11. Nektone     3:02
12. Kernel Panic     10:12
℗ 2017 Intakt Records
♠    Elliott Sharp: Guitar
♠    Mary Halvorson: Guitar
♠    Marc Ribot: Guitar
Derek Taylor, June 29, 2017
→↔   Elliott Sharp doesn’t inspire persistence in fence~sitters. His guitar antics and antagonisms are cataloged at length thanks mainly to an emphasis on output largely unperturbed by market saturation. He’s also admirably open~minded toward collaboration, willing to team his strings with receptive partners of virtually any artistic stripe as long as improvisation is agreed upon as a shared idiomatic priority. All the activity has also led to a sometimes vocal contingent of detractors, but Sharp hardly seems to care, carrying on at his prolific pace without missing a step or a gig. Credence to stock placed in him by the other side of the divide, Err Guitar teams him with two other iconoclastic string benders who continue to stay enviably active while weathering the blowback from hype machines beyond their own creation.
→↔   Marc Ribot’s been a professional guitar provocateur for going on four decades (his Jewish agitprop album Yo! I Killed Your God still has the ability to arch uninitiated eyebrows). Mary Halvorson is younger in years, but a friendly rival in terms of prolific activity and the diversity of the projects with which she aligns. Summoned at separate times to a Manhattan studio in the summer of last year, they join Sharp in bringing a loose folio of pieces to life together in duo pairings, solos and several after~the~fact trios. Neither Ribot nor Halvorson are FX~averse, although their own work tends to use amplified ornamentations sparingly rather than avenues to excess. “Blindspot” fires the first ensemble salvo with a three~way tangle of brittle, recalcitrant and resonant strings, by turns garbled and luminous riffs spilling out in Doppler~tapered arcs. Who’s doing exactly what quickly becomes secondary to servicing the slideshow of transitory, transistorized manipulations.
→↔   Halvorson’s “The Ship I Am On” and Ribot’s “I’m Gonna Party Like It’s 1988” are the only pieces credited to a single composer other than the two Sharp tracks that close the set. All, but the finale “Kernel Panic”, which works off a graphic score for temporally~displaced trio, appear to be solo, but given the original parameters of the project it’s sometimes difficult to tell. What becomes abundantly apparent when contrasting each are the strong personalities of each of the musicians. Ribot attacks his strings with minimal amplification, sounding almost acoustic in his caustic, sharply angled picking. Halvorson goes with a bit more juice and adds loops to create an ouroboros~like rondo of riffs. Sharp’s “Nektone” revels in acid~dipped string treatments, tonality bending and morphing with a constancy that almost seems like overkill by comparison to the restraints exercised by his colleagues.
→↔   Duos make up the bulk of the disc though, and there’s some fine interplay along these lines. “Wobbly” contains jagged acoustic jousting between Sharp and Ribot, each player eking out ghostly string harmonics amidst hardscrabble plucking and scraping. →↔   The two~part pitch~bending “Sequoia” felled in concert with Halvorson offers a spare, vertical forest of staggered drones and pointed picking given heft and girth by the natural acoustics of the studio space. Intimations of the late Derek Bailey are rife in the at times frenetic back and forth of ricocheting strums and fractured arpeggios. “Sea Buzz” trades in aqueous variations of the same with each player adding a gloss of electricity to the squiggling, rippling thicket of bent and twisted tones. Sharp was definitely on to something in his choice of partners, preferring as always to explode the aforementioned fence rather than dutifully paint it. →↔   http://dustedmagazine.tumblr.com/
Bandcamp: https://intaktrec.bandcamp.com/album/err-guitar
About Elliott Sharp
→↔   A major figure in New York City’s avant~garde music community since the ‘70s, Elliott Sharp is a composer and instrumentalist whose body of work runs the gamut from experimental and contemporary classical pieces to blues, noise rock, and electronic music. Sharp was born in Cleveland, Ohio on March 1, 1951, and displayed a talent for music at an early age. He insists he began learning the piano when he was six years old, and started performing in public when he was eight. Sharp then took up the clarinet, and later the guitar. Sharp was also passionately interested in science and electronics, and after turning his attention to the electric guitar, he began designing and building his own effects boxes. A self~described “science geek,” Sharp studied at Carnegie Mellon University while still in high school under a grant from the National Science Foundation, and his music has been informed by such disparate disciplines as chaos theory, Fibonacci sequences, fractal geometry, algorithms, and genetic metaphors. In 1969, Sharp entered Cornell University, where his studies focused on anthropology, music, and electronics. Sharp later transferred to Bard College, where he studied improvisation and ethnomusicology with noted free jazz artist Roswell Rudd, and composition with Benjamin Boretz. (Sharp’s classmates at Bard included brothers John Lurie and Evan Lurie, who would go one to form the “fake jazz” ensemble the Lounge Lizards.) After getting his B.A. at Bard, Sharp did graduate work at the University of Buffalo, where he studied with Morton Feldman and Lejaren Hiller. Sharp completed his studies in 1977, and in 1979 he settled in New York City, where he launched a career in which he has produced a prolific and diverse variety of work.
→↔   Sharp released his first album in 1977, a collaboration with David Fulton called Hara, and between then and 2014, he issued over 85 albums, either as a solo artist or with his many collaborative projects, including Carbon, Semantics, Terraplane, and Bootstrappers. Sharp’s collaborations have seen him work with an impressive range of artists, including the Kronos Quartet, pop singer Debbie Harry, iconic qawwali vocalist Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, blues legend Hubert Sumlin, turntable artist Christian Marclay, influential jazz guitarist Sonny Sharrock, and contemporary art music group Ensemble Modern. In addition to composing for various instruments and performing on guitar and clarinet, Sharp was an early advocate of electronic music; in the ‘80s, he began performing on~stage with computers in his Virtual Stance project, and in addition to recording several techno pieces, he regularly performs under the moniker Tectonics, in which he combines eight~string bass with material and manipulations from his laptop. →↔   In addition, Sharp has composed and performed scores for a number of documentaries and independent films, including Speaking for Myself (2010), Commune (2005), What Sebastian Dreamt (2004), and Daddy and the Muscle Academy (1991). (He was also the subject of a 2008 documentary, Elliott Sharp: Doin’ the Don’t.) Sharp has created sound designs for interstitial “bumpers” used on MTV, the Sundance Channel, and Bravo. And Sharp was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2014, as well as another from the Parson’s Center for Transformative Media that same year. ~ Mark Deming

Elliott Sharp/Mary Halvorson/Marc Ribot — Err Guitar (May 19, 2017)


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