Chris Sharkey is an acclaimed British musician, guitarist par excellence and quite versatile artist when it comes to playing bass and experimenting with electronics. Based in Leeds since 1999, Sharkey has spent the last 20 years challenging himself and creating music that explores the encounter between improvisation, composition and production.
Throughout his career, Sharkey played in various groups in the British avant-garde scene, such as Acoustic Ladyland, trioVD, Shiver, in the company of Charles Hayward (This Heat), Jack Wylie (Portico Quartet), among many others. Notable is also his work as a producer, collaborating with artists such as Keeley Forsyth, Seb Rochford, Oliver Coates, J Frisco.
After several years of joining forces with others, Sharkey decided to record his own material. Thus was born Presets, his first solo release, which arrives this Friday (June 25) on the experimental music label Not Applicable Recordings
It was during a break, after years of traveling and performing across Europe, that Chris settled down and wrote an album. Recorded as it happened, on a stereo track with no additional processing post-performance, Presets marked a departure in Sharkey’s creative approach. Over the course of two months, the artist recorded hours of music, trying out different combinations of things in different orders, without any musical ideas prepared. By the end of the recordings, Sharkey had over 4 hours of music that lived on his phone, which he would listen to for the next 5 years while touring and travelling. Slowly, Presets went from a playlist to something with really defined form.
Created using solely an electric guitar and hardware, the eleven mesmerising tracks of Presets range from transient tonal portraits and sustained dissonant, climactic romanticism to pitch-black, cavernous industrial ambience and noise. Don’t act surprised when you hear echoes and influences of Actress, the melancholic atmospheres promoted by Burial, the reimagined worlds of Fennesz and the minimalism of works like Music for 18 Musicians by Steve Reich.
In anticipation of Chris Sharkey‘s new album, we debut here the ninth track from Presets, entitled “Watt Law and Order”, which is available to listen below.
We spoke with Chris Sharkey a few weeks ago about his debut album, his inspirations, excessive touring and traveling in recent years, the avant-garde British scene and much more. You can the full the interview here.
Presets is available for purchase in CD and digital format at Sharkey’s Bandcamp.