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 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. The immersive, intensive, widescreen electronic works could sit comfortably as a masterful and stellar contribution to the space/sci-fi/synth soundtrack genre, owing to their overall sound palette and oceanic scope. But this is ultimately deeper, grittier, earthier stuff – pulsing with terrestrial granularity, charting subterranean geographies of the heart and soul.
Listen to “Everything Is Waiting For You” and watch the video – the first instalment in an accompanying visual album created by experimental filmmaker Guillaume Vallée. The Turning Centre Of A Still World is out 27 August 2021 on Deluxe 180gLP/CD/DL with album artwork & art prints by celebrated filmmaker Daïchi Saïto.
This music was developed and composed with the use of a customised 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.
In live performance, tempos and other signal-processed components of the music are different each time, directly conditioned by my visceral and emotional presence. My physicality is inherently patched into all aspects of these electroacoustic séances: concentration, vulnerability, emotion, meditation – all are at work in the performance of the music, including at a formal/structural level through biofeedback of constituent sonic materials. As synthesized sound elements shift according to fluctuations in the signal path sourced from my pulse, the performance accommodates and manipulates these responsive variables, continually re-synthesizing the synthesis. These works are always and fundamentally unique to each performed instantiation, in a connective way that encompasses audience, machine and me. – Jason Sharp, Montréal, May 2021
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 with organic waves of glistening synthesis, pink noise and digitalia on The Turning Centre Of A Still World. 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 by breath, inescapably yearning for and returning to ground again and again. Sharp’s heartbeat literally courses through these compositions – while only occasionally surfacing as a clearly audible pulse or rhythm, it physically feeds into a spectrum of generative synthetic processes that help constitute and conduct the music.
Sharp chose an unsparing time to commit to a rigorously solo practice: pandemic lockdown occurred just as the first studio sessions with sound engineer Radwan Moumneh (Jerusalem In My Heart, Matana Roberts, Suuns) were scheduled to begin. While much of the central architecture and several themes had already been constructed, Sharp found his isolation music marinating in a socially-distanced anxiety soup beyond all imagining, yielding some profoundly deeper flavours and 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.
Deluxe vinyl includes four 12”x12” art prints of analog film stills by renowned experimental filmmaker Daïchi Saïto (for whom Sharp has scored two previous experimental films). The Turning Centre Of A Still World will also be released as a visual album, in a new collaboration with award-winning abstract experimental filmmaker Guillaume Vallée.
The Turning Centre Of A Still World
CST154 180gLP / CD / DL
Release date: 27 August 2021
Velocity Of Being
Humility Of Pain
Everything Is Waiting For You
FULL ALBUM INFO & PREORDER: cstrecords.com/cst154
Genre: Electronic, Experimental, Electroacoustic, Post-Jazz
RIYL: Fennesz, Tim Hecker, Gas, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Ben Frost