Mathematics and the various sciences are just ordered ways of looking at and analyzing all of the raw data supplied by the universe. It's all about mappings and correspondences. At the same time, my work often takes a speculative and irrational/intuitive approach. It includes both the ordered and rational, the intuitive and irrational, and the acoustics of the ear. - Elliott Sharp
These pieces demonstrate an overwhelming potency, emerging from their respectively huge contrasts, where minute pitches become assimilated into grinding, juddering walls of near-chaotic overload, where clean cycles of rhythm become overlaid and superimposed into dense strata of complex polyphony. ...Sharp’s (b. 1951) music can be radiant, ethereal, alluring and overwhelming. A magnificent disc.
Elliott Sharp is one of New York downtown scene's more notorious affiliates, primarily heralded for his avant-garde guitar work, spanning jazz improvisation, jazz-rock, and blues-rock. He's also an accomplished reedman, evidenced on Quintet and previous ventures into the free-jazz space. Sharp once again aligns with like- minded New York-based artists, some of whom are leaders, and busy session artists.
Pieces by nine very different composers make up this fascinating collection of works for string quartet entitled Short Stories, performed by the Kronos Quartet. Elliott Sharp's Digital (1986) is a hard-edged rhythmic study using the instrument bodies as drums, with objects inserted in the strings to create rattling, shaker, and tambourine-like sounds. Steve Mackey's arrangement (1989) of the classic Chicago blues tune "Spoonful" (1960), by the prolific Willie Dixon, exaggerates the gestures of the song and employs complex harmonies and modernistic devices like string crunches, etc. John Oswald's Spectre (1990) opens with the naive sound of the quartet tuning up.