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Elliot Sharp at the Vortex, April 2014

Elliott Sharp’s Foliage
(Vortex, 4 April 2014, night one of 2-night residency; review and drawing by Geoff Winston)

Leading light of New York’s downtown music milieu, Elliott Sharp, covered a host of bases in two intense sets at the Vortex, in a keenly anticipated visit to London after appearing at the Frontiers Festival in Birmingham.

In his virtuosic and dramatic opening solo guitar piece, Phosphenes, he tripped through a layered, metallic crush of spikey rock/minimalism spiced with slide guitar barrages that, in contrast to its morphing density, had a surprisingly airy quality. Avoiding clichés, he used the vocabularies of the genres as his own starting points, setting up subtle backgrounding electronics and samples, switched on and off with canny judgement, to add depth to the overlays which he built up on his custom, transparent-bodied guitar. For any guitar aficionado, it was worth it just to hear this spot… Click here to read the rest