Usui Yasuhiro / Elliott Sharp – VOLCANIC ISLAND


Strangely enough for the slinger that he is, the things I like least in Sharp’s oeuvre are his efforts with other guitarists – I still remember a double whammy of disappointment from the GTR OBLQ trio with David Torn and Vernon Reid, firstly on the CD and then in concert. Unfortunately, Volcanic Island confirms this theory with a series of electric duets (not too well recorded either, with an unpleasantly muffled / distorted sound) that consist of little more than tentative accumulations of tension which never seem to find a target to explode on. The excessive stereo separation between the instrumentalists accents the lack of coherent interplay, as if each player was intent on noodling with his back turned to the other, trying without success to find something of interest. It sounds at times like some cheap cassette made by youngsters and, not having heard Usui until now, I can safely declare that Sharp should try to keep stuff like this off the market and keep his higher profile immaculate. If you really want to appreciate Elliott Sharp’s six-string mastery, go instead for Quadrature.


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