James Ilgenfritz sits down with composer and guitarist Elliott Sharp to talk about his work and a number of other things.
Multi-instrumentalist and composer Elliott Sharp discusses recent projects that represent the latest developments in the disparate threads that run through his decades-long career, from solo performance to avant-techno to
lush film scores. Sharp is most known in the United States as an innovative maverick guitarist, though as a composer he has been experimenting for decades with graphic notation and unusual improvisational structures, often taking inspiration from Benoît Mandelbrot’s book on fractal geometry, as well as flexagons and other mathematical or geometrical constructs. Excerpts from recent releases illustrate some of his theories, including the CDs Octal 2, Abstraction Distraction, and The Spectropia Suite, Sharp’s soundtrack for Toni Dove‘s interactive multimedia project titled Spectropia.
Notorious New York composer, conceptualist, and multi-instrumentalist Elliott Sharp has maintained a diverse creative output throughout his career. Since his arrival in New York in the late 1970s, he has been operating in unusual settings, releasing music by his avant-rock project Carbon on the seminal 1980s punk label SST, then on various labels associated with the Downtown scene in New York. His work includes decades of innovative re-grooving of the rock format, visionary new classical music for string quartet, orchestra, and opera, completely unorthodox electronic dance music (TECTONICS), Delta blues meets free-rock (TERRAPLANE), and many improvisational encounters with the most diverse musicians of the world, from Nusrat Fateh Ali-Khan to Michiyo Yagi, from Frances-Marie Uitti to DJ Soulslinger, and finally, loving interpretations of Thelonious Monk without the clichés.
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