Han-earl Park

A colorful, sometimes violent and revelatory listening experience that infuses modern aesthetics with the spirit of the ancient…. Ancient and primordial with ideas as open as the night sky….

— John Morrison (Jazz Right Now)

Park… may just have the specter of drumming giant Rashied Ali guiding his hands. His fingers, palms and wrists tirelessly bounce, skitter, smear, stroke, strum, hammer-on, pull-off and thump his solid-body electric. Considering the rapidity of his technique, the effect is not simply percussive, but utterly drumkit-like and a liberated kit at that….

— John Pietaro (The New York City Jazz Record)

Shifting and switching from No Wave skronk to interstellar guitarist-as-drummer virtuosity, from stampedes of miniature Pomeranian Buffalos to All-You-Zombies heterophonies, Han-earl Park (박한얼) has been performing beautifully messy, joyously difficult, ambiguous and discordant improvised musics for over twenty years. Described as “a musical philosopher” and “a delightful shape-shifter” (Brian Morton, Point of Departure), and as a guitarist who utilizes “the totality of the guitar’s sonorities” (Stanley Zappa, The New York City Jazz Record), he has performed in clubs, theaters, art galleries, concert halls, and (ad-hoc) alternative spaces across Europe, Korea and the USA.

Park is drawn to the noisy poetry of interactive play; its pleasurable complexities, and joyous discords. He has become increasingly fascinated by the possibilities of refracting the improvisative through narrative tropes and forms, sometimes transposing techniques from fiction and cinema. He seeks musics that are ‘inconvenient,’ that resist easy resolution, and seeks practices that, despite understanding that connection is, in a way, unknowable, take seriously consent, affinity, agency, trust and compassion.

Park is the mastermind behind ensembles including Eris 136199 with Catherine Sikora and Nick Didkovsky, Juno 3 with Lara Jones and Pat Thomas, and Gonggong 225088 with Yorgos Dimitriadis and Camila Nebbia. Park also performs as part of a duo with Richard Barrett, and as part of Thoughts of Trio’s dark extemporizations, the avant-disco of QLH, and The Names’ hyper-lyricism. He has performed with Wadada Leo Smith, Paul Dunmall, Pauline Oliveros, Charles Hayward, Mark Sanders, Lol Coxhill, Louise Dam Eckardt Jensen, Evan Parker, Ingrid Laubrock, Josh Sinton and Franziska Schroeder. His constructions and compositions include ‘Bandwidth,’ a videographic work for improvisation; the online #lockdownminiature series; the machine improviser io 0.0.1 beta++; and Metis 9, a playbook of improvisative tactics.

He has studied with improviser-composers Wadada Leo Smith, Richard Barrett, Annette Krebs, Joel Ryan, Mark Trayle, Chick Lyall and David Rosenboom, composers Marina Adamia and Clarence Barlow, and interactive media artist Sara Roberts. In addition to giving workshops, lectures and one-to-one lessons, Park taught improvisation at University College Cork (2006–2011, 2017), and founded and curated Stet Lab (2007–2011), an alternatively pedagogical space for improvised music.

His ensembles have appeared at festivals including Jazz em Agosto (Lisbon), EFG London Jazz Festival, Brilliant Corners (Belfast), Freedom of the City (London), 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 2021, NEWJAiM Recordings released Of Life, Recombinant, Park’s exploration of the solo guitar as smithereened and recomposed through the studio, and, in 2024, Waveform Alphabet will release Gonggong 225088’s spaghetti junction of gentle noise. Park’s recordings have also been released by labels including Ramble Records, SLAM Productions, Creative Sources and DUNS Limited Edition. He is recipient of grants from Musikfonds, initiative neue musik berlin, the Arts Council of Ireland, Music Network, Culture Ireland, and the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Community.

[More info plus shorter bios…] [Press/promo images…] [Interviews…]

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)

“Wonderful energy, constant motion, and roiling in noise. And immense amount of grit and power.”

— Corey Mwamba (Freeness, BBC Radio 3)


— Takeshi Goda (JazzTokyo)

“Long, thrilling sections of beauty fold into chilly, dread-inducing dreamscapes….”

— Lee Rice Epstein (Free Jazz)

“We listen, we wait. Breathing deeply, relaxed enough yet ready to be sucked in by some vortex of illusion. We absorb the blows of sudden mutations connected by threads of metallic (in)coherence…. Each spin adds further layers of interpretation, not to mention the sheer aural thrill.”

—Massimo Ricci (Touching Extremes)

“The perfect distillation of uneasy listening.”

— Dave Foxall (a Jazz Noise)

“In its representation of real-time activity that ruminates on its material, it is as if it provides a glimpse into the improvising process, whose hushed reality of painstaking practice might often be misinterpreted as something closer to strokes of inspiration out of the ether. In between chaos and composure, it is something closer to the complexity of life.”

— Keith Prosk (harmonic series)

“Ein glorioser Bastard aus Noise und süßer Träumerei.”

— Rigobert Dittmann (Bad Alchemy)

[More quotes…]

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