Elliott Sharp

K!L!A!V!

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The uniquely titled K!L!A!V! (presumably a reference to the klavier) consists of three of Sharp's works for a variety of keyboard instruments. "Twenty Below" is scored for a sextet of keyboardists, ranging from synthesizers to reed organs to toy pianos, engaging in "structured" improvisations, wherein each musician is given a certain set of instructions (altering rhythms, employing specific extended techniques, etc.). For the listener, the result sounds a bit like some hitherto unknown, especially warped Sun Ra session from the late '60s. The sonic territory covered is enormous and, without benefit of any obvious meter, much less melodic content, it just about holds together tautly enough to sustain interest. The title track is much more in line with the work of player piano maverick Conlon Nancarrow, Sharp sampling various piano sounds and reproducing them in a manner physically impossible for a human pianist to perform. The music itself, though skitterish and intense, is actually quite a bit more melodic than your typical Nancarrow and is enjoyably accessible. "Mapping" is for purely solo piano (Sharp at the keys), concentrating on repeated hammering at the lower end of the instrument's range with the sustain pedal held down. This moves him into marginally Charlemagne Palestine-related areas, but Sharp, showing a finely concentrated interest in an ostensibly narrow sonic range, manages to draw out some fascinating music that's deep, rich, and agitated. Fans more familiar with his rock-oriented work may come away baffled, but serious devotees will want to hear this often-compelling disc.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
22:09
2
17:12
3
20:55
blue highlight denotes track pick