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Community Matters - Elliott Sharp

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E# (Ben Knabe)

“The people that I connect with online come from all over the musical world, from contemporary composition, from blues, from free jazz, from rock music, from noise… To me it’s just all music. I’ve never felt those barriers were hard and fast — they were imposed by someone else.”

Elliott Sharp has been one of the key figures in the avant-garde and experimental scenes in New York City since the late 1970s. With close to 100 releases spanning jazz, noise, orchestral, no wave, contemporary classical, and electronic music, his career can really only be described as prolific. He studied with icons like Morton Feldman, Roswell Rudd, and Robert Moog. His compositions have been performed by renowned ensembles like the Kronos and FLUX quartets. He’s released music for the alt rock SST label alongside bands like Sonic Youth and Hüsker Dü. He’s collaborated with everyone from jazz legend Jack DeJohnette to Blondie’s Debbie Harry to Wilco’s Nels Cline to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the Pakistani Qawwali singer regarded as having one of the most impressive voices ever recorded.

We chatted about the halcyon ’60s when people thought of all kinds of music as simply music, when genrification didn’t reallystratify how we think about what we hear. We also spoke of the evolution of community alongside the emergence of online platforms, and the importance of resonance when it comes to making music and finding others to make it with. And for budding experimental artists, Elliott offered some wisdom into how they can find their people and work toward making a living.

Listen on SoundCloud below or Spotify here.

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