Video taken from the album ‘The Turning Centre Of A Still World’, forthcoming on Constellation Records…
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 each 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 Of A Still World is a singular sonic exploration of human/machine calibration, interaction, expression and biofeedback.
Sharp chose an unsparing time to commit himself to a rigorously solo practice: the pandemic lockdown occurred just as the first formal studio sessions with sound engineer Radwan Moumneh (Jerusalem In My Heart, Matana Roberts, Suuns) were scheduled to begin channeling this music. While much of the central architecture and several themes had already been constructed, Sharp’s already groundswelling isolation music marinated in the collectively-distanced soup of anxiety for several more months, taking on some additionally profound and deeply felt 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.
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 The Turning Centre Of A Still World 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 inescapably by breath, inevitably yearning for and returning to ground again and again. Sharp’s heartbeat is always at the core of these compositions – while only occasionally surfacing as a clearly recognizable pulse or rhythm, it is patched in and activating the work at all times, literally feeding and regulating synthetic processes throughout every piece.
The music on The Turning Centre Of A Still World could sit comfortably as a stellar contribution to the space/sci-fi/synth soundtrack genre, owing to its general sound palette and oceanic scope. But this is ultimately deeper, grittier, earthier stuff – pulsing with the granularity of humanity and charting subterranean geographies of the soul.
Composed, arranged, and performed by Jason Sharp
Amplified heartbeat & breath, baritone & bass saxophone, modular synthesizer, Lyra 8, Theravox, Moog bass, acoustic preparations)
The fluctuating centre of these electroacoustic solo pieces is created by a customized heart monitor acting as the master clock for modular synthesizers and influenced by breath and saxophone performance.
Recorded and mixed by Radwan Ghazi Moumneh at the Hotel2Tango, Montreal QC
Mastered by Harris Newman at Greymarket
Artwork by Daïchi Saïto