Improviser, guitarist and constructor Han-earl Park (박한얼) has been crossing borders and performing fuzzily idiomatic, on occasion experimental, always traditional, open improvised musics for twenty years. He has performed in clubs, theaters, art galleries, concert halls, and (ad-hoc) alternative spaces across Europe, Korea and the USA.
Park engages a cyborg virtuosity in which mind, body and artifact collide noisily. He is fascinated by the ways in which improvisation can complicate and amplify social relations, identities and agencies, and he is driven by the revolutionary potential of real-time interactive performance in which tradition and practice become playfully problematic.
He is the mastermind behind the ensembles Eris 136199 with Catherine Sikora and Nick Didkovsky; Sirene 1009 with Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh; and Mathilde 253 with Charles Hayward and Ian Smith; and has a duo with Richard Barrett. Park is the constructor of the machine improviser io 0.0.1 beta++, and instigator of Metis 9, a playbook of improvisative tactics. He has performed with Wadada Leo Smith, Paul Dunmall, Evan Parker, Lol Coxhill, Louise Dam Eckardt Jensen, Gino Robair, Tim Perkis, Ingrid Laubrock, Andrew Drury, Pat Thomas and Franziska Schroeder. He has toured as part of Josh Sinton’s European trio, and as guest artist with Gargantius Effect (Murray Campbell and Randy McKean); guested in performances by the Mark Hanslip/Dominic Lash/Phillip Marks Trio, and Swim This (Nick Didkovsky, Gerry Hemingway and Michael Lytle); performed as part of large ensembles led by Wadada Leo Smith, Evan Parker and Pauline Oliveros; and participated in improvisative meetings with Gerald Cleaver, Andrea Parkins, Tom Rainey, Mike Pride, Anna Webber and Jack Wright. He has studied with improviser-composers Wadada Leo Smith, Richard Barrett, Joel Ryan, Mark Trayle, Chick Lyall and David Rosenboom, composers Clarence Barlow and Marina Adamia, and interactive media artist Sara Roberts.
His ensembles have appeared at festivals including Jazz em Agosto (Lisbon), Freedom of the City (London), Brilliant Corners (Belfast), ISIM (New York), dialogues festival (Edinburgh) and Sonic Acts (Amsterdam); and he has collaborated in projects featured at festivals including Sonorities (Belfast) and CEAIT (Los Angeles). In addition to numerous releases on his own label, his recordings have been released by labels including SLAM Productions, Creative Sources and DUNS Limited Edition. He has performed live on Resonance FM (London), Drift Radio (Scotland), and KVMR 89.5 FM (Nevada County), interviewed on RTÉ Morning Ireland and RTÉ Nova (Ireland), and his recordings have been broadcast around the world.
Park taught improvisation at University College Cork (2006–2011, 2017), and founded and curated Stet Lab (2007–2011), a space for improvised music in Cork. He is a recipient of grants from the Arts Council of Ireland (2007, 2008, 2009 and 2016), Music Network (2009 and 2010) and Culture Ireland (2015), and of the Ahmanson Foundation Scholarship (1999) and the CalArts Scholarship (1999 and 1999–2000).
press and quotes
“Guitarist Han-earl Park is a musical philosopher…. Expect unexpected things from Park, who is a delightful shape-shifter….”
— Brian Morton (Point of Departure)
“Kaleidoscopic music, a rubato flux of superimposed noises in which lightning-fast progression from one galvanising sound event (noise thru silence) to another….”
— Tim Owen (Dalston Sound)
“Though short, percussive, hard-to-notate sounds dominate Han-earl Park’s sound, he does utilize the totality of the guitar’s sonorities—just not in the proportions demanded by the nostalgic (retrospective, reactionary, etc.) owners of major media….”
— Stanley Zappa (The New York City Jazz Record)
“Ein glorioser Bastard aus Noise und süßer Träumerei.”
— Rigobert Dittmann (Bad Alchemy)
“Park is the one to pay close attention to… the development of his ideas is fascinating and very logical….”
— Jeph Jerman (The Squid’s Ear)
“Park is clearly some kind of obscure genius—either a genius improviser or a genius charlatan, and I’m inclined towards the former….”
— Dave Foxall (a Jazz Noise)
“Pieces of dismantled gestures, destabilizing timbres, and impressive synergy.”
— François Couture (Monsieur Délire)
“Han-earl Park’s relationship to the guitar is something akin to John Butcher and the saxophone. Both know how to fill a space and manipulate amplification with skill, but there’s no way of predicting what sounds will emerge as the next moment approaches.”
— Marc Medwin (The New York City Jazz Record)
“Park applies every technique to his detuned ax—tapping, sliding, muting, twisting the machine heads. It’s simultaneously disciplined and barbaric.”
— Greg Burk (MetalJazz)
“Han-earl Park… is as at home in underground Noise as he is dueting with free jazz heroes like Paul Dunmall. Park uses pedals to smudge and smear chords or rolls out strange robotic grumblings, a technician playing electricity as much as the guitar.”
— Daniel Spicer (Jazzwise)
“Remarkable strategies from the guitarist which involve investing each string with a different weight as he coaxes tones from near the machine head all the way down past the bridge.”
— Ken Waxman (JazzWord)