For Elliott Sharp, musical experimentation was inspired by shortwave radio

In the past, we’ve noted several artists and musicians who were inspired by the audible characteristics and sonic texture of shortwave radio (check out the Besnard Lakes and Radius, for example).

Guitarist, Elliot Sharp, was inspired not only by the sonic qualities of shortwave radio, but also the mechanical qualities:

(Source: the Star Tribune)

Elliott Sharp does not believe in categories or conventions. It’s not that he’s trying to be rebellious. He’s just very curious — the kind of tinkerer who built a short-wave radio as a kid — and smart enough not to be deterred by artificial distinctions.

…[H]e’s worked with a ridiculous array of musicians, ranging from such rockers as Sonic Youth and singer Debbie Harry, to jazz greats such as Jack DeJohnette, to the legendary Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and classical music’s groundbreaking Kronos Quartet.

[…]Then there is the scientific side of Sharp’s brain. He grew up in Cleveland, where his father designed speakers and microphones. Already grounded in music from studying classical piano at age 6, he built a short-wave receiver at 11 and began experimenting with layers of noise.

Later he would link music and mathematics. Some compositions, he said, use algorithmic approaches “derived from the workings of recombinant RNA and the dynamics of bird flocking and wolf packs.”

He was also among the first musicians to deploy computers. The last of his three solo sets at the Walker will include “additional electronics and more free-ranging improvisation,” he said.

For more on Elliot Sharp, check out the full Star Tribune article quoted above, or visit Sharp’s website.

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1 thought on “For Elliott Sharp, musical experimentation was inspired by shortwave radio

  1. Pingback: Shortwave and the Art of Music: An interview with musician James Davies | The SWLing Post

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