Elliott Sharp - Fractal !
Elliott Sharp - Fractal
Dossier Records (GER) Lp 1986
Recorded and mixed at B.C. Studio.
Drums - Robert Previte, Charles K. Noyes (tracks: A2, A3)
Engineer - Martin Bisi
Guitar, Voice, Performer [Slab, Pantar, Violinoid, Tubinets, Reeds], Composed By, Producer - Elliott Sharp
Performer - Carbon
Performer [Pantar, Slab] - Katie O'Looney
Performer [Slab] - Jim Mussen
Saw - Charles K. Noyes
Trombone - Ken Heer
Trombone, Trombone [Bass] - James Staley
The album Monster Curve (SST, 1988) is an anthology of Fractal, Marco Polo's Argali and Carbon.
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.
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.
Album review by Brian Olewnick at AllMusic:
Fractal contains some of Elliott Sharp's music at its best, which is to say, brutal.
"Singularity," which opens the album, virtually sums up the Sharp aesthetic: a fusillade of dense, almost barbaric percussion overlaid with the leader's splintered guitar sounding as though it's ricocheting off the interior walls of a dark, dangerous underground lair.
The bottom-heavy ensemble -- including two drummers, two trombonists, and two musicians wielding instruments of Sharp's own design (the pantar and the slab) -- is well attuned to this primeval course, insistently avoiding any hint of virtuosity or glibness.
And the remainder of the record stays on that same bitter course, relentlessly pounding out rough-hewn rhythms, gnarled enough that Sharp's solo lines don't so much ride over them as encrust them.
Crucially, he refuses to take a breather, driving the band through the closing 15-minute "Not-Yet-Time" (a dance score!), resolutely harsh and unbowed.
Unlike many subsequent albums where Sharp nodded in this musical direction or that (punk, Captain Beefheart, dub, etc.) or over-accentuated his mathematical tendencies, he's in his own unique world here and Fractal, with the possible exception of the magnificent Larynx, stands as his most powerful, singular statement. Highly recommended.
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