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Sunil Sharpe – Sheworks 2 review

At the risk of sounding like a pop psychologist, this second release on Pariah and Blawan’s fledgling label documents the first part of a remarkable journey. At one end of the spectrum are the darlings of the UK new school and at the other extreme is Dublin techno veteran Sunil Sharpe. But despite their supposed differences, the distance between them is not as great as it appears. Blawan, after all, has been supportive of techno, as his releases for Clone Basement Series, Frozen Border and R&S, as well as his recent Boiler Room DJ set – where an old release on the obscure Sheep label made an appearance – clearly demonstrate.

Sharpe is also a man about whom there is a degree of misinformation. Widely perceived as a hard techno merchant – and as his Black Sun outing shows, he can bang the box with the best of them – his DJ sets and brilliantly erratic Earwiggle label contain a healthy amount of electro, broken beats, wonky and old school influences. In short, both label and artist exude a casual disdain for the now and a healthy disinterest in currying favour with the style Nazis.

It’s no surprise then that Sharpe’s debut for Long Nights is a thing of awkward fun; “Landing Strip” is a busy, bleepy rhythm with some mental filtering going on in the background and a shuffling groove that leads the listener eventually to deranged, chiming bells and some wigged out acid. “Roki” follows similarly unpredictable trajectories as chords build over a loose groove and mad metallic riffs screech and howl away in the background. Meanwhile “Saturana” also teems with corrosive riffs and day-glow 303s set to a wonky, insistent rhythm and wobbly bass, like early Neil Landstrumm getting it on with Jerome Hill. “Shudder Blaze” is the most ‘conventional’ techno track, but here too Sharpe turns what could have been a standard linear affair into an offbeat monster with slabs of droning noise and hyperactive, metallic percussion. Sharpe had many roads to travel, but the path he follows on Sheworks 2 proves to be the most rewarding.

Richard Brophy


1. Landing Strip
2. Saturana
3. Shudder Blaze
4. Roki