Mornings in my bicycle repair shop are often melancholic and slow. Time is passed cleaning and preparing projects for the day. Sipping coffee and listening to music. Before my studio mates arrive I am able to fall into an album in a rare way. Life seems to have filled up with a whole lot as of late, and as things have gotten busier I've found myself valuing the moments where I can sit down with an album and actually digest it. When there is nothing but time to listen to music, I tend to kind of tense up mentally and end up recycling a sort hypothetical greatest hits of the past 15 years of my life instead. Having to make time for it, makes me find and appreciate things I might not have otherwise. I found Michael C. Sharp's record Never Enough Time (Holodeck, 2017) during one of those busy life moments, and 4 years later it still takes me right back to those moments and places. To a different bike shop in a different state, when I lived near Sharp and could often find him tending bar on my lunch break.

Sharp's resume is getting to be pretty long at this point, his content across a myriad of genres is dizzying, Sungod, Uniform, and many others. Trip Further (Aural Canyon, 2020) is his latest solo outing and is slowly coming into focus as I shuffle around my shop trying to find my footing. As the album opens I am still in a fog and the slow build of “Choleric” quickly grabs my attention and almost without noticing I have ceased my seemingly aimless busy work and am seated quietly at my desk taking it all in.

As with previous releases a myriad of synths and keys build swirl around creating an atmosphere all their own, and I am delighted to find a screaming reverb laden guitar featured in a way he has not touched on before. It plays wonderfully to the arpeggiated patterns weaving themselves together that has been the touchstone of his solo work. This carries throughout the record, “Open Society” feels like a second movement to the opener, again building into a mass of synth and guitar patterns.

Without knowing where I am in the record, still sitting quietly at my desk, “Oaxacan Anesthetic Void” begins and I can feel, with some sadness, that things are coming to a close. A sense of contented loneliness falls over the song and I am able to stand up again, deeply moved, and extremely happy I made time for myself to stop and listen this morning. As the record ends I feel certain hat it will become one that I play many more times and find something new with each visit, which is something I appreciate greatly about all of Sharp's solo work. The ability to make music that is blissfully chilled out and engaging, all while seemingly new each time is a marvel. Highly recommend Trip Further.

Trip Further, by Michael C. Sharp
7 track album