Michael C. Sharp, "Never Enough Time"

Sunday, 22 October 2017 19:22 Creaig Dunton Reviews - Albums and Singles
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cover imageMichael C. Sharp is no stranger to the world of electronic music, being a member of Austin’s psych heavy Sungod.  His previous experience, however, has been that of a drummer, which does not at all come through on Never Enough Time.  While the five songs on this tape are built largely upon interlocking loops, there is nary a drum sound to be found.  Instead it is a rich suite of synth excursions, with a bit of tasteful guitar thrown in for good measure, culminating in an elegant and powerful record.

Holodeck Records

Most of the more overtly rhythmic moments come in the form of synthesizer arpeggios and repeating sequences.  For "Tape Delay Dichotomy 1" it is initially a pulsating bit of synthesizer that underscores the layered keyboards that later appear.  Glistening electronics lead the way, but everything is enshrouded in a pleasant hissy analog haze.  In its later moments some echoing percussive bits are introduced, but never does it seem the focus.

On "Pique Pouring Over," sputtering, harsher electronics are the focus, building to a jerky, rhythmic delay that scatters from the overall cavernous mix.  Compared to the remainder of  the tape though, it is far more raw and harsh, making for a nice shadowy alternative to the otherwise polished, gleaming sounds.  "Never Enough Time", which precedes it, is the perfect antithesis:  melodic, sequenced synthesizers, with a complex and layered mix, at times resemble a lullaby with some distinctly prog tendencies.  Complex, yet pleasantly sleepy in nature, it is a beautiful song.

The two pieces that bookend the tape, however, are the ones I found to be the strongest.  "Well-Being" is built from interlocking, pulsating sequences that make for the foundation that Sharp builds upon.  Guitar is added on top, a nice and dynamic contrast to the otherwise rhythmic backing track.  The two play off of each other well, each one taking the forefront to then retreat throughout.  Towards the end the mood shifts a bit darker, and the synthesizers smooth out into more gliding notes, drifting off in a beautiful, tremolo-laden haze.

The concluding "Tape Delay Dichotomy 2" has a more up-front 1980s throwback sound, with echoing, somber keyboards all throughout.  Layered, diverse sequences are nicely blended with the dourer synth pads.  Again Sharp throws in a bit of guitar, making for a chaotic counterpart to the more motorik electronic sounds and enriching the song very effectively.  Eventually the synthesizers build and become the main focus, before swallowing up the entire mix to then fade off in the closing moments.

Michael C. Sharp's first solo excursion is an extremely strong one.  I particularly found the subtle use of rhythm an asset, rather than just heavily featuring vintage drum machine beats, resulting in a more unique sound from beginning to end.  At times Sharp nudges Never Enough Time toward some new age-y sections, but reins it in before it ever becomes a problem.  It is a very well balanced record, with a nice bit of darkness sandwiched within the otherwise glimmering synthesizers, bookended by two complex and diverse pieces.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 22 October 2017 21:56