June 19, 2024

Jason Sharp – ‘The Turning Centre Of A Still World’ – “deeply atmospheric jazz meditation”


A solo album from an electro-acoustic composer and saxophonist from Montreal, this is warm and atmospheric, full of character and incident whilst still washing round the body like a gentle tropic sea.

This dreaming collage of noise sees synths and sax and drone conjure up another world of sound. We hear rapid cycles of sax atop a wash of synths, we hear a track brood and shift imperceptibly to percussive brightness. Booming sounds and fluttering sax accompanies a simple brass figure that approaches Phillip Glass in tone. Elsewhere, dark shapes underpin spirals of sax or we hear a distant and distressed horn in a gloomy pre-storm sky. The texture and feel of this album is palpable and there is a lot of pleasure in feeling the sounds on the skin, closing your eyes, and seeing the sounds.

Sharp has built the set himelf from bass pedals, saxophones and his own pulse (via a heart monitor), triggering synths and samples. The result is surprisingly organic in feel. Inspiration came from a set of eight film stills by Daïchi Saïto – inspiring the music and providing the sleeve artwork. Jason explains: “This music was developed and composed with the use of a customized electroacoustic interface in which I wear a heart monitor that sends signal to an array of modular synthesizers. All electronic rhythmic elements stem from my real-time human pulse, establishing a fluctuating centre that continually channels and responds to the physicality of the performance. The entire compositional process is given essential shape and colour through biofeedback; the electronics are humanized. The music is orchestrated with my bass and baritone saxophone playing, along with other methods of intentional breathing and heart-rate manipulation, to influence and interact with my electronic/synthetic materials to fulfill the arc of each composition.”

The result is fully human; a deep meditative jazz dream, creating a semi-lucid state in the listener, full of signs, portents and colours.

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