Album, Single and EP Reviews


  Momentum Anomaly by Elliott Sharp

Momentum Anomaly cover art

Artist: Elliott Sharp
Title: Momentum Anomaly
Catalogue Number: New Atlantis
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2012

Creativity is such a wonderful thing; so wonderful that it’s no surprise that worldwide governments have tried to stifle or prevent it. Occasionally, even musicians are creative. Elliott Smith hails from downtown New York. Momentum Anomaly suggests that downtown New York does weird things to the creative mind.

*Contagion,” in all its fast-picked, electro-acoustic D Bb D' Eb' Bb' D' tuning, sounds like a suitable accompaniment to the ramblings of a modern-day beatnik. It may also be, barring some unusual musical dexterity, the sound of a young child strumming their first guitar. Each listener can draw their own conclusion.
“GevSong” is the sort of song you might play to your broken toaster on the premise that both the song and the toaster, broken in their own ways (deliberate or otherwise) might come together in glorious synchronicity. It’s better than taking a fork to it, anyway.

Getting the idea yet? This is a very strange album. One man, an internal microphone and a condenser microphone – or something like that – can cause some strange sounds. It’s too metallic to be from a silent-era film, and it’s not metallic enough to be stolen from that godforsaken Lou Reed album.

That being said, “Chiral* comes a little closer to conventional in sound, although even Beefheart at his weirdest was never this pattern-free. At almost eight-and-a-half minutes in length, this is one trip that you’ll do well to recall in its entirety.

Unless electro-acoustic noise music is for you, *Permutator* might be too much for you. Twenty-one minutes of sheer experimentation. It sounds lovely in some places and horrible in others. Although it is (probably) impossible to transpose the brainwaves of a bipolar individual for the purposes of guitar music, this song is probably an idea of what results of such a acoustico-scientific (I made that hybrid word up) experiment would show.

Just as with chemistry, there are plenty of things in music that I don’t quite understand. Momentum Anomaly goes far beyond my understanding of acoustic guitar formula. It’s also true that I don’t understand the appeal of an entire album of inventively-tuned noise but I can at least appreciate – and hear - the effort put into this album.

Review Date: May 1, 2013