Patterns Various is, unquestionably, one of 2021’s most unique and innovative albums. This delicious fusion of jazz, minimalist, electronic and experimental is both ambitious and breathtaking, and it comes from an artist with a technique and style all of his own.
Samuel Sharp has this uncanny ability to extract sounds from his saxophone that seem to defy logic. Notes and phrases reel and loop as his saxophone feeds through a pedal-board of delays, reverbs and harmonisers to create an utterly inimitable sound that brings to mind the work of Colin Stetson. I was lucky enough to see him perform a live set from his studio during lockdown and it was an incredibly fascinating watch (check out the clip below).
Patterns Various is, just as the title implies, a collection of compositions built on patterns. Influenced by the bewitching, synchronised movements of starling murmurations, these nine outstanding tracks all carry titles that perfectly describe the pattern at play. The ascending notes of Dawn Rises evokes the sunrise. You can hear the skippy footfall of the traditional English dancers in The Maypole, whilst the pattern created by Catching Leaves is one of unpredictability and randomness. And, of course, there is the musical murmuration of Starling Swarm.
It’s a wonderful album that sounds as fresh now as it did upon its release In February. You can read more of my thoughts on this delightful album in the piece I wrote for Louder Than War on its release.