Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Sonny Sharrock: Guitar.
The celebration that is Black History Month continues at HurdAudio with a listen to Guitar by Sonny Sharrock circa 1986.
Guitar is a beautiful disc composed of shades of electric guitar in the hands of master improviser Sonny Sharrock. Each of these compositions rests on a solid melodic, thematic foundation from which sheets of sonic materials are spun in controlled bursts of noise and energy tinged with the blues. This is a great balance between gentle melodic lines and aggressive timbral soundscapes.
"Blind Willie" opens this experience with a snaking, flanging drone that slithers beneath the melody of this great Sharrock composition. This melody develops and segues into improvisation that steadily builds upward in intensity against the gravity of the persistent pedal point of the drone that eventually pulls the melody back.
"Broken Toys" is a high point for me on this disc. The layering of the overdubed parts form a nice dialogue between the melodic and harmonic parts of this piece. It takes on the sound of a quiet conversation between the different sides of Sonny Sharrock.
Electricity courses through this soundscape the way one is conscious of breath and air on a solo sax recording. And with this guitarist electricity takes on the human quality of breathing. Sharrock isn't afraid to let these pieces rock as groove and volume collide into an irresistible force. Yet all this electric amplification doesn't overwhelm the quiet voice of a single performer utilizing a full range of human expressions. The shifting hues running in parallel between the melodic lines, harmony and sonic coloring of this single instrument form a cohesive, balanced sound with many focal points.