A mainstay of Montreal’s avant-jazz, experimental and improv music community for many years, Jason Sharp is a saxophonist and electro-acoustic composer whose increasing focus on solo work since 2015 has yielded a unique corpus of music that fuses technology and the human body. Sharp blends a mastery of extended saxophone technique with customized microphones and electronics that translate his horn, breath and physical pulse into an array of triggers, samples and modular synthesis – resulting in formidable, visceral, highly evocative, and unfailingly musical works of electroacoustic biofeedback. Across three albums for iconic experimental music label Constellation, Sharp has been charting a singular soundworld embedded in his unique compositional processes, which rely on a combination of exceptional instrumental performance on baritone and bass saxophones, prefiguration/configuration of bespoke technology, discipline/control of corporeal bloodflow, and responsiveness to the stochastic variability of each performative iteration.
Sharp released A Boat Upon Its Blood, his first album under his own name, on Constellation in 2016 – featuring a suite of pieces written for trio, with Sharp joined by violin and a pedal steel guitar. His second album, Stand Above The Streams, was shaped in part by a collaboration with Sobey Award-nominated sound installation artist Adam Basanta, alongside further development and customisation of Sharp’s own live synthesis rig. Critical acclaim for these two albums has included descriptions like: “captivating, cohesive, idiosyncratic perfection” (Exclaim); “mesmerising – resembles Stars Of The Lid pursuing the Sun Ra Arkestra into an electricity substation” (Electronic Sound); “a distinctive electroacoustic music of artful sampling, crystalline processed sound, microscopic detail and alien timbres” (The Wire); “boils down the detritus of fragmented abstraction to its molten essence” (Jazzwise); and “fundamentally narrative music that never gives way to pastiche…evocative fluidity and ambiguous intensity filtered through the new school of electronic music exemplified by Tim Hecker and Ben Frost, into something like the classical modes of the suite or tone poem” (MusicWorks).
Alongside his ongoing pursuit of advanced scuba diving certification, 2018 and 2019 were notably jam-packed years for Jason Sharp: out-jazz/big-band collaborations and album releases with Roscoe Mitchell, Ratchet Orchestra, and Sam Shalabi’s Land Of Kush; composition and performance with Griffin Poetry Award winner and Giller Prize nominee Kaie Kellough; sessions for the posthumous Leonard Cohen album Thanks For The Dance and the Polaris Prize shortlisted The Ballad Of The Runaway Girl by Inuk songwriter Elisapie; scoring the motion picture soundtrack for Netflix production Jusqu’au Déclin (The Decline) and for award-winning experimental filmmaker Daïchi Saïto’s earthearthearth; and continuing to work with local signal hackers on expanding and fine-tuning the electronic rig that anchors his solo electroacoustic music practice.
Jason Sharp released his first purely solo work – and third album to date – in August 2021. The Turning Centre Of A Still World is sourced in its entirety by Sharp’s saxophone performance and personalised synthesis apparatuses, and was recorded with sound engineer Radwan Ghazi Moumneh (Matana Roberts, Suuns, Jerusalem In My Heart) during pandemic fall/winter 2020 in Montréal. This apotheotic new work was also released as a visual album, in collaboration with award-winning abstract experimental filmmaker Guillaume Vallée.
In addition to his eponymous and above-mentioned projects, over the past decade Sharp has performed and/or recorded with Matana Roberts, Nadah El Shazly, Thee Silver Mt. Zion, Grøenland, Lori Freedman, Malcom Goldstein, and Jean Derome, to name just a few.