Ambition? Insanity? The answer is yes.The Sharp Things
started simple — a reaction to the dead-end of indie rock. A means to realize the spiraling shapes in my head. It has since become an entity that, yes, we sometimes have trouble controlling, as we repeatedly and compulsively pose the question: “What would it sound like if we...?”.
Answering that question has put us, the 11 individuals who currently comprise this institutional confusion known as The Sharp Things — as well as the 30-odd musicians who’ve come and gone over a decade’s time — into the most weird and wonderful situations, under the most surreal, and sometimes cruel, conditions.
The story is told in our music. It started back in 1995 as Plaintive, slipped into Pastoral by the New Millennium and ultimately plunged headlong into unabashed Pomp, festooning itself with musicians like ornaments on a Christmas tree.
True to the band’s raison d’etre, our third and newest album, A Moveable Feast
, is a reaction. In an era of reluctant musicians who fear their own muses, we wear our hearts on our sleeves. We risk palpable melodrama for a sound that’s usually just heartfelt. We love you, but we won’t apologize if we make you slightly uncomfortable.
Songs about people as weather systems, acidic or wistful little ditties about love affairs gone bad, stalking, trains, planes, automobiles, poverty, and redemption, not to mention our affection for our home, New York City.
We have no friends to sing about. We have no one to please and/or blame but ourselves, so we do what we like. We belong to no scene. We enjoy the company of many, but trust very few. And we’ve stumbled upon a sound that, for better or for worse, only vaguely sounds like those we’ve been compared to.
Soundmen curse us. Stages are seldom large enough to accommodate us. The industry hasn’t a clue what to do with us — and we can’t blame them.
Like Hemingway’s memoir of the same title, A Moveable Feast evokes a lost era, an artistic journey with a host of colorful characters. But this recording is really about mobility and indulgence.
Most of the album was recorded on a laptop under the watchful eye of our co- producer, Prince Polo. We traversed the streets of Greater NYC with a milk crate overflowing with hardware and gnarled and infuriating cords, capturing sounds in kitchens, living rooms, basements and rehearsal studios — not to mention the massive concert hall where we recorded the New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble under the direction of conductor Sybille Werner. We took our time, arranging the songs as we went along, letting the Feast slowly reveal itself.
And when we’d tracked it all, our intrepid hard drive took one last trek, to Headgear Recording, where Polo and mixmaster Alex Lipsen wrestled the mess into something resembling music.
On June 26, 2007, Bar/None Records will release A Moveable Feast upon the world and a new chapter in The Sharp Things saga will unfold. What once was simple is now far from it — and we like it that way.