Samuel Sharp: Consequential
Out on twenty third June 2023
Pre-order from Bandcamp
Revolutionary London-based saxophonist and composer Samuel Sharp returns along with his second solo album, Consequential. His vivid storytelling and distinctive melodies will enchant you as they loop and construct into intoxicating soundscapes. Louder Than Struggle’s Gordon Rutherford opinions.
Since time immemorial, one of many largest challenges going through artists who produce instrumental-only music is how you can inform the story. How do you convey the narrative with out the usage of phrases? On Consequential, his second solo album, the London-based saxophonist and composer, Samuel Sharp, masters this adroitly, with every certainly one of his 9 compositions telling the story exactly. That’s a uncommon expertise, significantly as he manages to color vividly florid photos within the thoughts of his listeners with absolutely the minimal of instrumentation.
The tales that he tells aren’t about legendary beasts or incredible voyages. They’re homespun and easy and really private. Consequently, the sensation you get once you immerse your self in Sharp’s work is certainly one of heat and contentment. Those that acquired misplaced within the tessellations of his 2021debut, Patterns Varied, will immediately really feel comforted the second the needle hits the metaphorical file on this observe up. It’s like bumping into an previous good friend.
Sharp’s distinctive (and I don’t use that descriptor calmly) sound that he revealed to the world on Patterns Varied is recapped on Consequential. For these unfamiliar, it’s the sonic equal of the writing of Thomas Hardy. There’s something pastoral about it; a attribute that conjures up photos of rural England in days passed by. Nowhere is that this exemplified greater than on the album’s opening monitor, Lanty’s Tarn. It has a superbly nostalgic really feel, evoking photos of rolling meadows, babbling brooks and sleepy spires shimmering within the haze of mid-summer. You wouldn’t essentially guess that Sharp is a Hackney boy.
The inspiration behind his significantly bucolic items, of which Lanty’s Tarn is one, is his childhood summer time holidays spent in Wordsworth nation, the Lake District. While his tales don’t at all times dwell within the flowery dell of the countryside, they’re all simply as private. Take Canal Crash, for instance. You would guess the title simply by listening to the music. Staccato bursts of Sharp’s saxophone gently prod you. There’s something barely comedic concerning the composition and when his sax imitates the trombone so memorably heard on the level of slapstick within the previous time motion pictures, you simply know that we’re on the cusp of a Laurel and Hardy second. The inevitable happens seconds later with the distinctive splash of water. My solely criticism of this totally participating piece is that it goes on slightly longer than it’d. The comedy might maybe be heightened by closing down the monitor with the splash. Irrespective of. Each the music and the images it paints in a single’s thoughts are excellent.
Equally vivid is the bewitching and melancholic Suffolk Moon. The monitor was impressed by a view of the moon in all its splendour as he walked via the nation lanes of Southwold one night. So a lot of Sharp’s compositions are sprightly, typically with a touch of mischief. Suffolk Moon, nonetheless, is extra reflective and it’s beautiful to listen to this aspect of his persona.
Earlier, I referred to Sharp’s music as being distinctive. Certainly, I’ve beforehand referred to as him one of many nice sax innovators of our time and Consequential reinforces that view. What makes his music distinctive is his set-up. In fact, there’s the saxophone. However, as he performs, he loops his hypnotic melodies via a set of harmoniser and delay pedals. The top result’s a group of fascinating soundscapes which are part-jazz, part-classical and a bit digital.
An excellent instance of this method, and his prowess, comes on the album’s closing, and best, monitor. Prepare Throughout The Meadow got here to him while sitting in his common spot on Walthamstow Marshes, clearing his head and counting the carriages of distant trains. Musically, it echoes the artist’s contemplation completely as these melodies circumnavigate, pirouetting round each other flirtatiously.
There’s one remaining factor to name out about Consequential. I’m a little bit of a design freak and I like it when the packaging of an album is as robust because the music therein. It demonstrates that the artist genuinely cares and has totally thought of how you can actually optimise the client’s expertise. Consequential’s packaging is magnificent. Not solely is Tommy Perman’s album paintings fairly gorgeous, a restricted variety of early copies bought shall be accompanied by a ravishing set of numbered Perman-designed postcards, one for every monitor, which carry Sharp’s signature. Having seen them, I’ve to doff my cap to Sharp for making the hassle to create one thing that’s visually particular in addition to sonically great.
At occasions, Consequential is playful and honeyed; at different occasions reflective and contemplative. However no matter story Sharp is telling, he tells it vibrantly and with a lucidity that few instrumental artists can handle. The music itself is hypnotic and fascinating all through and is genuinely distinctive. I’d wager that you’d battle to listen to one other album fairly like Consequential this yr.
All phrases by Gordon Rutherford. Extra writing by Gordon may be present in his archive.
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