Han-earl Park has a special place in my music experience. I think, without exception, there has not yet been an opening to any one of his compositions where I have not had an adverse reaction, either repelling me back in my seat or leaving me shaking my head in exasperation of the noise coming out of my speakers. But the thing of it is, without exception, I find myself listening straight through to the final note. Somehow Han-earl Park finds a way to convert my ears to his music one song at a time….
There is no other artist in which I describe this way….
‘Topologically Correct Harry,’ it’s Sikora’s sax that ushers the listener right on in through the front door. Utilizing a pattern of phrasing that gives the impression of outlining a mountain range from a distance, Sikora’s sax is at the center of attention, with Smith’s trumpet searing blemishes of heat on a radar screen as Park’s guitar gurgles and pops just beneath the surface….
‘바르트’ has Ian Smith’s trumpet setting the table and drawing up a spontaneous menu of jab-right-cross combinations. Sikora moves in slow, but once she’s got both feet in the room, her sound expands into wildly arcing phrases that, when combined with Smith’s one-twos, makes for a delicious whirling dervish of sound. Park mostly keeps to the background, picking his spots and letting things develop organically….
‘Red Line Speed’ begins as a slow build that gains momentum along with height. It hits a plateau at the heart of the song, giving the sense of all three instruments feeling around in the dark to figure out the lay of the land before continuing their ascent in the final stretch of the track….
‘Massimo’s Imagined Juxtapositions’ is a lonely streetlight on a deserted midnight avenue, and the instruments are the moths darting in and out of the dim light carved into the darkness.
A one-of-a-kind improvised musical meeting between artists from Ireland based overseas, and a then Ireland-based artist from abroad which took place on April 4, 2011 at The Roundy, Cork, Ireland.
This was a rare performance in Ireland by Catherine Sikora (New York-based, originally from West Cork), a saxophonist with a striking, compelling sound. She has been described as “a free-blowing player’s player with a spectacular harmonic imagination and an evolved understanding of the tonal palette of the saxophone” (Chris Elliot, Seacoast Online). Sikora was joined by cofounder of the London Improvisers’ Orchestra, trumpeter Ian Smith (London-based, from Dublin), and guitarist Han-earl Park (then Cork-based, currently Brooklyn-based, from California). Smith and Park had just come off the tour as part of the power-trio Mathilde 253 (with Charles Hayward) with the legendary composer-improviser Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith.
Since making her way to New York City from West Cork, Ireland to study abstract improvisation, Catherine Sikora has become a well-known face and sound in New York creative music circles. She has worked with Elliott Sharp, Eric Mingus, Michael Evans, Matt Lavelle, Jeremy Bacon, François Grillot and Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber, among many others. Her undeniably unique approach sets her apart from everyone else, even when surrounded by the most original and creative voices in New York City. Sikora is a contributing writer to the book “Silent Solos-Improvisers Speak” (Buddy’s Knife Publishing, Köln, DE) and is currently working on producing a solo recording.
Ian Smith has performed with Evan Parker, John Stevens, Maggie Nicols, Lol Coxhill, Steve Beresford, Eddie Prévost, Greg Tate’s Burnt Sugar Arkestra, Reeves Gabrels, John Sinclair, Harris Eisenstadt and many others. In 2000 he recorded his second CD as a leader, Daybreak, with Derek Bailey, Veryan Weston, Gail Brand and Oren Marshall. His own trio, Trian, has played the London Experimental Music Festival and the Soho Jazz Festival. He also participated in a reformation of Cornelius Cardew’s Scratch Orchestra in 1994. He has collaborated with composer Roger Doyle, winner of the Bourges International Elecro-Acoustic Music Competition, and he has been featured on two instrumental tracks by the hip hop band Marxman. He toured the UK with Butch Morris’ London Skyscraper conduction project. He cofounded the London Improvisers’ Orchestra and The Gathering.
Improviser, guitarist and constructor Han-earl Park works within/from/around traditions of fuzzily idiomatic, on occasion experimental, mostly open improvised musics, sometimes engineering theater, sometimes inventing ritual. He feels the gravitational pull of collaborative, multi-authored contexts, and has performed in clubs, theaters, art galleries and concert halls in Austria, Denmark, Germany, England, Ireland, The Netherlands, Scotland and the USA. He is part of Mathilde 253 with Charles Hayward and Ian Smith, and is involved in ongoing collaborations with Bruce Coates, Franziska Schroeder, Alex Fiennes and Murray Campbell. He has recently performed with Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith, Lol Coxhill, Pat Thomas, Paul Dunmall, Mark Sanders, Matana Roberts, Richard Barrett, Pauline Oliveros, Thomas Buckner and Kato Hideki. Festival appearances include Sonorities (Belfast), Sonic Acts (Amsterdam), dialogues festival (Edinburgh), and CEAIT Festival (California). His recordings have been released by labels including Slam Productions and DUNS Limited Edition.
10-24-12: add recommended price and SLAMCD 528 info. 05-20-13: updated the ‘also available for download’ list, and add reviews. 10-07-15: add ‘Anomic Aphasia’ to discography. 11-01-15: add A Little Brittle Music to downloads list, and change currency from USD to EUR.
Unlike previous download releases, this one will be hosted at Bandcamp, and available as a ‘name your price’ album. You will still be able to download the release for free (name $0 as your price), but any payment will help support the performers and their work.
Free jazz, in no uncertain terms. I don’t know what it is about Han-Earl’s groups’ sounds. Ten seconds in, I think to myself, “Man, this isn’t my thing.” But by the time the tune is over, I realize that I’m totally into it and enjoying it. If a musician can convert my ears within the span of one tune, in my eyes, that’s a sign of talent.
Very proud to present these recordings; I feel privileged to have performed alongside these powerful musicians. Many thanks to Chris Trent for the recording, and Mike Hurley of Fizzle for hosting the performance.
I’m very happy to finally make these available. In many respects, all my playing subsequent to this duet has been in response to, and a follow-up on, the implications of this performance. Big thanks to Franziska for sharing the journey on this one.