This has been my favorite tour! Excellent company; exemplary hosts; faultless, above-and-beyond support from all. Everyone here worked so hard for no material gain to make the musicians’ journey as effortless as possible. My hosts have reminded me why we all do this; that creative music brings gradations and spectra to the sometimes hard-edged world, that it refuses and resists and rewrites the 1-bit world into something altogether more colorful and toneful and rhythmic and noisy.
I am forever grateful; it was a true pleasure to work with y’all.
Thanks to Rica Zinn and the entire creative crew of the MS Stubnitz! Thank you for the force-of-nature hospitality (plus the best shower, and the best stock-and-carrots combination), the sound, and the acoustics! Thanks to Georg Hajdu who initially got us in touch with Rica, to Heinrich Metzger and Michael Maierhof of Verband für aktuelle Musik Hamburg for their support, and to Steffen Schindler for the awesome photography.
Thanks to Jakob Drong Jensen, Jonas Vognsen, , and everyone at Jazz Club Loco, Bryggekælderen, and Jvtlandt for putting together an awesome gig (tied, musically, as my favorite of the tour).
Warmest thanks to Stuart Wilding for being a truly wonderful host; cooking wonderful meals, bringing together a great company of people (including Mark Unsworth for the playful and fascinating visuals, Anthea Millier for the gezellig accommodation, and Jamie Dawson for the amplifiers), and allowing us to play in that fantastic space.
To the mastermind behind OUT FRONT!, the busiest man I know, Corey Mwamba! Thank you so, so much for finding time in your busy schedule to put on a performance, and thanks for your apparently limitless enthusiasm for creative music! Thanks also to Walt Shaw for helping at the door, and to the fantastic Chris Trent for documenting the performance.
Thanks to everyone at the mighty Jazz North East: to Paul Bream for securing the work permits; to Ken Drew for the photography; to Charlie McGovern for the recording; and especially to Wesley Stephenson for his indefatigable work organizing this event, and patiently and graciously addressing my queries. What a great team, great city, and what a great way to end the tour!
Special thanks to all the musicians who graciously shared the bill with Eris: to Eugene Chadbourne; to Sonja LaBianca and Heine Thorhauge Mathiasen; and to Herve Perez, Martin Archer and Peter Fairclough (a.k.a. Inclusion Principle). And thanks to John Pope for hosting an informal session the day after the tour.
And, of course, none of this would be possible without the awe-inspiring generosity of the backers of our Kickstarter project: Cath Roberts, Franziska Schroeder, Owen Green, Han-Ter Park, Richard Hollis, Tom Duff, Jan Langedijk, Thomas Buckner, Liam Nagle, Andrew Raffo Dewar, Randy McKean, Anton Hunter, Marte van der Loop, Ian Boswell, Nancy Meli Walker, David M. Morris, Nicholas Croft, Eva Zelig, Bart Mallio, Jeremy Clarke, Martin Pyne, Josh Sinton, Moon Soon Han, Eun-He Moon, Yoon-Mi Cho, 고항심, Katie O’Looney, Jamie Smith, Phil Burk, Andrea Wolper, Kyoko Kitamura, DIDI, Caroline Pugh, Edozie Edoga, Yu Seon Hee, Danny McCarthy, Richard Barrett, Leejiyoung, Ed Bennett, Young-Shin Park, Ga Hyun Noh, Inkyung Kim, Keith Stonell, Peter O’Doherty, Viv Corringham, Korhan Erel, Tony O’Connor, Vikram Kapur and Maneesha Chawala, and our anonymous backers.
And my warmest thanks to Nick and Catherine. From the unexpected to the unexpected: from concise chamber noise (Hamburg), to the forged-by-sheer-force-of-will difficult music (Copenhagen), to soaring, luxurious sci-fi spirituals (Cheltenham), to the creative reexaminations and revisitations (Derby), to the pitch-perfect distillations of discord and affinity (Newcastle). I could not have asked for better travel companions; artists who revel in the unknown and unknowable with spirit and good humor. A no-brainer (or plush-pony)—there be prawn crackers of silent screams—I think we kept the poodle warm on the toaster 😉
Finally, as always, thanks to all who came to listen. For those who continue to patronize these events at Stubnitz/VAHM, Bryggekælderen/Loco/Jvtlandt, Xposed, OUT FRONT!, and Jazz North East, know that you are part of something alive and so very, very special.
by Han-earl Park, Nick Didkovsky and Catherine Sikora
ここでも音楽の概念を拡張する創造性が遺憾なく発揮されている。ギター、ベース、ドラムというオーソドックスな編成で繰り出されるアンサンブルは、彼らしくそれぞれの楽器の「気配」を過剰に抽出した物音狂想曲を奏でる。演者の感情がまったく伺えない硬質な世界はパクの使うピック同様に鉱物的な響きを供するが、合同演奏の向こうに垣間見える風景は人間の営みを動物に例えた鳥獣戯画の如きカリカチュアに他ならない。それはすなわち、岩石絵具で彩色筆された水墨画である。[Read the rest…]
Meanwhile, David Menestres at Free Jazz, giving the album ☆☆☆☆½, hears in it “a cyborg slowly coming to terms with having a consciousness”, “drums like an octopus”, and “syllabic squeaks”, “animalish noises” and “full sentences”:
There are few bands that cross as much territory as this one does. From thrashing, spastic aggressive riffs that put most punks to shame to explorations of the quietest of spaces in-between thoughts, Sirene 1009 is a fierce, adventurous band that goes where most bands don’t: into the unknown, fearlessly in search of the new….
Don’t expect the band to hold your hand. There isn’t any way off once they take flight. Go along for the ride. If you bail out mid-flight you’ll just end up another D.B. Cooper, lost to time, never to be found again. [Read the rest…]
Muffled junkyard hammering (clang! thud! snap!) beat unlikely counter-rhythms; suspension bridge rumble in the turbulence with subwoofer scratches; bad traffic and extreme weather conspire elemental percussion; broken public address system splutter and loop, evoke the intelligible.
Conjuring up rhythmic and sonic detritus from just a guitar and a volume pedal, Han-earl Park has performed with some of the craftiest improvisers from the Americas, Asia and Europe. The instigator of Sirene 1009, Park also (co-)leads Eris 136199 with Nick Didkovsky and Catherine Sikora, Mathilde 253 with Charles Hayward and Ian Smith, and Numbers with Richard Barrett.
The molten, musical core of Sirene 1009 comprises the virtuosic bassist, composer and sound artist Dominic Lash, and Mark Sanders, arguably the most sought-after avant-jazz and free improvisation drummer of his generation. Sirene’s rhythm section adeptly plays the borders of idiom and the explicable.
Having variously collaborated over the years in different contexts and configurations, in 2014 Park, Lash and Sanders performed for the first time as a trio.
During the 2015 tour, Belfast-based avant-folk singer and electronic artist Caroline Pugh joined the group. With a practice that critically, sometimes mischievously, intersects with digital, gallery and performance arts, and unmatched microphone technique (from whisper to scream, from embodied sound to flights into the stereo panorama), Pugh brings an additional layer of levity and exuberance to the already playful interactions of the trio.
Recorded at Cafe OTO (London) during a Culture Ireland funded tour of England, and during a single afternoon studio session in Birmingham, the album documents an ensemble of musicians representing diverse strands of present-day improvised musics; performances that fragment and recombine musical histories, that leaps unexpectedly between noise, melody, dissonance, harmony and rhythm.
Somewhere out there, there’s an SUV-sized violin tailgating, a No Wave guitarist desperately trying to survive in the Appalachian Mountains, someone dropping sheets of metal during a Jazz Session, an evolutionary biologist finding themselves speaking in tongues (Awash in Blue).
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 and the USA.
Park engages a radical, liminal, cyborg virtuosity in which mind, body and artifact collide. He is driven by the social and revolutionary potential of real-time interactive performance in which tradition and practice become creative problematics. As a constructor of musical automata, he is interested in partial, and partially frustrating, context-specific artifacts; artifacts that amplify social relations and corporeal identities and agencies.
Ensembles include Mathilde 253 with Charles Hayward and Ian Smith, Eris 136199 with Nick Didkovsky and Catherine Sikora, and Numbers 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, Mark Sanders, Josh Sinton, Louise Dam Eckardt Jensen, Gino Robair, Tim Perkis, Andrew Drury, Pat Thomas and Franziska Schroeder, and as part of large ensembles led by Wadada Leo Smith, Evan Parker and Pauline Oliveros.
Festival appearances include Freedom of the City (London), Sonorities (Belfast), ISIM (New York), dialogues festival (Edinburgh), CEAIT (Los Angeles) and Sonic Acts (Amsterdam). His recordings have been released by labels including Slam Productions, Creative Sources and DUNS Limited Edition.
Park taught improvisation at University College Cork, and founded and curated Stet Lab, a space for improvised music in Cork.
“Guitarist Han-earl Park is a musical philosopher…. Expect unexpected things from Park, who is a delightful shape-shifter….”
Brian Morton (Point of Departure)
Dominic Lash is a freely improvising double bassist, although his activities also range much more widely and include playing bass guitar and other instruments; both writing and performing composed music; and writing about music and various other subjects.
He has performed with musicians such as Tony Conrad (in duo and quartet formations), Joe Morris (trio and quartet), Evan Parker (duo, quartet and large ensemble) and the late Steve Reid. His main projects include The Dominic Lash Quartet, The Set Ensemble (an experimental music group focused on the work of the Wandelweiser collective) and The Convergence Quartet.
Based in Bristol, Lash has performed in the UK, Austria, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and USA. For nearly a decade he was based in Oxford and played a central role in the activities of Oxford Improvisers; much of 2011 was spent living in Manhattan. In 2013 and 2014 he is taking part in Take Five, the professional development programme administered by Serious.
Festival appearances include Akbank Jazz Festival (Istanbul), Audiograft (Oxford), Freedom of the City (London), Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Hurta Cordel (Madrid), Konfrontationen (Nickelsdorf), LMC Festival (London), Manchester Jazz Festival and Tampere Jazz Happening.
His work has been broadcast on a number of radio stations, including BBC Radios 1 and 3 and Germany’s SWR2, and released on labels including Another Timbre, b-boim, Bead, Cathnor, Clean Feed, Compost and Height, Emanem, Erstwhile, FMR, Foghorn, Leo and NoBusiness.
Since moving to Bristol he has been involved in organising concerts under the banners of Bang the Bore and Insignificant Variation. A new venture is the monthly series happening every second Wednesday at the Arnolfini entitled Several 2nds. Events include performances, workshops, film screenings and discussions.
“Following in an illustrious lineage from Barry Guy through Simon Fell… breathtaking.”
John Sharpe (All About Jazz)
Mark Sanders has played with many renowned musicians from around the world including Evan Parker, Peter Brotzmann, Derek Bailey, Myra Melford, Paul Rogers, Henry Grimes, Roswell Rudd, Okkyung Lee, Barry Guy, Tim Berne, Otomo Yoshihide, Luc Ex, Ken Vandermark, Sidsel Endresen and Jean Francois Pauvrois, in duo and quartets with Wadada Leo Smith and trios with Charles Gayle with Sirone and William Parker.
New collaborative projects include ‘Riverloam Trio’ with Mikolaj Trzaska and Olie Brice, ‘Asunder’ with Hasse Poulsen and Paul Dunmall, duos with John Butcher and DJ Sniff, ‘Statics’ with Georg Graewe and John Butcher, and trio with Rachel Musson and Liam Noble.
Mark and John Edwards play as a rhythm section with many groups including Trevor Watts Quartet, ‘Foils’ with Frank Paul Schubert and Matthius Muller, Mathew Shipp’s ‘London Quartet,’ also playing with Fred Frith, Wadada Leo Smith and Shabaka Hutchins amongst many others.
Christian Marclay’s ‘Everyday’ project includes Mark with Christian, Steve Beresford, John Butcher and Alan Tomlinson, he also works regularly in the projects of Mikolaj Trzaska, Gail Brand, Paul Dunmall, Peter Jaquemyn, and Simon H. Fell.
Mark has performed in the USA, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Morrocco, South Africa, Mozambique and Turkey, playing at many major festivals including, Nickelsdorf, Ulrichsburg, Glastonbury, Womad, Vancouver, Isle of Wight, Roskilde, Berlin Jazz days, Mulhouse, Luz, Minniapolis, Banlieue Bleues, Son D’hiver and Hurta Cordel.
He has released over 120 CDs.
“A gifted player capable of seamless movement between free-rhythms and propulsive swing.”
John Fordham (The Guardian)
Scottish vocalist and composer Caroline Pugh borrows old-fangled technologies and honours oral histories to create new performances. With a background in both folk and improvisation, her solo works You’ve Probably Heard These Songs Before, Timing By Ear, Measuring By Hand and Platform Audio also draw on performance art and pinhole photography.
Originally from Edinburgh, Caroline has performed across Europe and North America with new improvisation performances including Los Angeles’ Betalevel in 2012, NIME 2011 in Oslo, Just Listening 2011 in Limerick and Experimentica09 in Cardiff. She is also in a band called ABODE and an improvisation collective called E=MCH.
Now based in Belfast, Caroline sings in a folk duo with Meabh Meir and together with Myles McCormack they run traditional song sessions at the Garrick Bar on Mondays from 7.30-10pm.
In 2011, Caroline was awarded an Art Council Northern Ireland grant for her solo work and gained a Distinction for her AHRC-funded Master of Music at Newcastle University. She coaches students at Queen’s University Belfast and has worked in collaboration with visual artists (Connecting through Scape 2008), theatre practitioners (hour8+9 2009), video artists (SAAB 2009), dancers and psychologists (Newcastle and Northumbria Universities 2010). She also got a BA in Scottish Music from the Royal Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, and studied Contemporary Music at the University of Central Lancashire for a wee while too.
“Every once in a while you happen upon a gig or event that’s so fundamentally unlike anything you’ve experienced before that you can’t help but reconsider your own thoughts on what defines music, performance and entertainment.”
Screeching and scraping in an improv style, this quartet assailed the ears with a pleasing melee of noise, some of it vaguely intelligible. Caroline Pugh jabbered away in what sounded like snatches of Greek, while the guitarist Han-earl Park did impossibly intricate yet percussive stuff on his guitar fret. Mad but entertaining. It was in the backroom of a gloomy back-street boozer. When I tentatively asked the elderly landlord “Where’s the jazz tonight?”, he said “I wouldn’t call it jazz. More like a fookin’ racket.” He was right! [Read the rest…]
Five performance this final month of 2015! A great privilege to have shared the stage with so many awesomely creative, smart and generous people. Let’s get to the hat-tips…
Okay, start with a thanks to my co-conspirators, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh, who consistently created fascinating, difficult, infuriating, confounding and beautiful spaces for interaction. Listening to the music play out in real-time, all I could think was that it sounds great whenever the guitarist shuts-up. (As Josh Sinton pointed out later, that’s really a wonderful position to be in; not knowing how to contribute to—to add to—an already perfect ensemble at play.)
Thanks to Ingrid Laubrock for the play—it was great to come-off a… logistically challenging set of gigs into a relaxed performance where, well, anything might happen… and we ended up in some interesting and unexpected places. (Felt very good about this one.)
Big thanks to all the venues and promoters, DIYers and supporters: to the indefatigable Andrew Woodhead at Fizzle; to Seth Cooke and everyone at Bang the Bore for an awesome event; to Fielding Hope, Oli Barrett and everyone at Cafe OTO for their support, and for their patience with all the ups’n’downs; to Josh and everyone at 65Fen Music Series; and to Cisco Bradley for inviting me to perform at New Revolution Arts (a beautiful space—socially, musically).
Thanks to the gentleman who lent me his amplifier in Birmingham (sorry, can’t remember your name!), and to Andrew Drury and Chris Welcome who did the same in Brooklyn—y’all made my travels so much more pleasant!
The tour by my ensemble with Dom, Mark and Caroline was made possible with funding from Culture Ireland, and I am extremely grateful for their support.
Thanks to Dom Lash and Kate Hendry, and to Josh Sinton and family, for offering a place for this itinerant musician to crash a night (or three). Kudos to Nasc Ireland for helping me navigate some border… technicalities 😉
And a very special thanks to the Best Sound Engineer in the Known Universe, Alex Fiennes, for taking time to make the music sound great in London.
Finally, as always, thanks, thanks, thanks, everyone, for listening.
‘Free’ is barely sufficient to describe this approach…. The vocabulary of sounds here is as broad as it is unconventional…. While an occasional interlocking harmony might emerge from all of this innovation, it is quickly shattered by unexpected Möbius twists…. An exercise in texture as much as it is in melody, Park, Sikora, Didkovsky, and Sinton don’t just break molds here – they disintegrate anything that resembles the ordinary with authority and prejudice. [Read the rest…]
Meanwhile… “dynamic, articulate”? “jarring, discordant, loud and experimental”? “interesting acoustic altercations?” sounds that are simultaneously “alien and captivating”? (I certainly love the idea that my guitar “breaks constantly with magmatic rumblings.”) Accompanying the interview with Han-earl Park in jazzColo[u]rs, Andrew Rigmore and Antonio Terzo review ‘Anomic Aphasia’:
Votato all’improvvisazione basata su macro tattiche, artefice di un impiego ritmico—molto personale—della chitarra, e fautore di sonorità comunque aliene e trascinanti al tempo stesso, Han-earl Park è musicista conscio dei propri limiti, che cerca di superare con un approccio “alternativo”, umile e di ricerca. A beneficiarne, innanzitutto, la voce della sassofonista Catherine Sikora, sonora, multicolore e sfaccettata…. Mette in campo due diverse formazioni: la prima, stridente, discordante, rumorosa e sperimentale, con il chitarrista Nick Didkovsky, ossia l’Eris trio, l’altra, più dinamica, articolata e meno dissonante, invece, insieme al sassofonista—anche lui sui generis—Josh Sinton, ossia Metis 9…. Han-earl Park lo dice chiaramente: il terreno è, specie per Metis 9, quello della sperimentazione, e dal punto di vista pratico, siamo certo molto lontani da quel che si intende per jazz. Ma è anche vero che essere pratici spesso impedisce di vedere il possibile. E, soprattutto in arte, uccide la fantasia.
Elsewhere… you can who call it “challenging music where all of the players help determine the direction and interaction”:
Mr. Park moved here for a few years not too long ago and worked with a number of Downtown musicians…. This is Mr. Park’s first disc with those Downtowners, an interesting cast from different scenes…. Mr. Park wrote or provided directions for each piece…. The first trio is for two guitars and Ms. Sikora on saxes. It is very long and both guitars sound well-integrated, Mr. Park played those fractured notes similar to Derek Bailey and Mr. Didkovsky using some sustain or other devices to thicken up his tone or provide alien textures. Ms. Sikora… works well in the two guitars or two saxes context here. This is a strong, long and spirited disc of challenging music where all of the players help determine the direction and interaction. Another great thing about this disc is getting to hear bari sax great Josh Sinton stretching out at length. [Read the rest…]
Finally, KFJC 89.7 FM hears music that spans “cacophony to melody”, and a “beautiful noise”:
It’s all about guitars versus sax. Sax versus guitars. Sax and guitars together. They are challenging and phenomenal works with the musicians playing off of each others ideas. The guitars are each unique in approach and Sikora goes for it with her sax taking them on note for note. There is pause and space, much needed allowing the listener to appreciate it all. Cacophony to melody…. What is clear is the stunning trio work…. The feeling is different but still crazy, intertwining each others notes, letting them stand, then facing off, blending, melding, challenging each other. A beautiful noise. Free jazz continuing to experiment. [Read the rest…]
Thanks to KFJC 89.7 FM for all the support over the years (shout outs to Carson Street, Edison Einstein, Cousin Mary, Dada Diogenes and Spliff Skankin!), and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank, in particular, WNUR 89.3 FM, CHRW 94.9 FM, KALX 90.7 FM and WFMU 91.1 FM for their airplay.
Putting this unlikely lineup together was almost as brilliant as the recording they have produced….
‘Free’ is a barely sufficient to describe this approach, as the trios explore various angular constructs and effects. The vocabulary of sounds here is as broad as it is unconventional. Park and/or Didkovsky might strum or pick a string or two, then spend time rubbing it with their fingertips. Sikora and/or Sinton might blast percussively between more discernable notes. While an occasional interlocking harmony might emerge from all of this innovation, it is quickly shattered by unexpected Möbius twists….
An exercise in texture as much as it is in melody, Park, Sikora, Didkovsky, and Sinton don’t just break molds here – they disintegrate anything that resembles the ordinary with authority and prejudice. [Read the rest…]
Meanwhile, Rigobert Dittmann (a.k.a. rbd) in Bad Alchemy [BA 84] hears a “glorious bastard of noise and sweet dreams”:
Einmal Musik als discordia concors, Kollisionen in zwieträchtiger Eintracht. Oder als Grenzverletzungen mit merkurialem Scharfsinn. So oder so, man muss sich einhören auf einen Gitarristen [Han-earl Park], der Schlagzeuger und die Bläser Wadada Leo Smith und Paul Dunmall als maßgebend für sein Spiel nennt, ein Spiel, das er mit ‘weirderation’ charakterisiert als etwas, das bei jeder Wiederholung nur sonderbarer und eigenartiger wird. Simpler gesagt: Statt Plinkplonking gibt es pleomorphe Cockophonien mit krätzigem Gepixel und schartigem Gebröckel und Geprickel der Gitarristen im Kontrast mit immer wieder sonorem Sinnieren seitens Sikoras. Aber dann lässt Didkovsky auch die Finger fliegen und die Töne Dudelsack trillern oder entgleisen wie bei seinen heißen Doctor Nerve-Solos. Wobei er freilich seine Partner einlädt, ihm den Buckel rauf zu rutschen oder sich wimmernd in seine Arme zu kuscheln. Sikora spinnt Sopranolyrismen, die Didkovsky fuzzy überrauscht. Und so ad infinitum, ein glorioser Bastard aus Noise und süßer Träumerei.
“Broad as it is unconventional”? “Music as discordia concors, collisions in dual unity, or as border infringements with mercurial acuity”? or, as The Wire calls it, “curiously charmless”? (Probably better less said about the last 😉 )
December 16th features Leo Smith’s Golden Quintet [with Angelica Sanchez, John Lindberg, and Pheeroan akLaff] (adding Susie Ibarra on drums), his electric band Organic, and the Silver Orchestra, featuring Jennifer Choi, Jessica Pavone, Wendy Law (strings), Jamie Baum, Marty Ehrlich, Sara Schoenbeck, Mark Taylor, J.D. Parran, Jason Mears (winds), Ted Daniel, Taylor Ho Bynum (brass) Yuko Fujiyama (piano), John Lindberg (bass), Liberty Ellman, Han-Earl Park (guitar), and Bobby Naughton, Susie Ibarra, Martin Obeng, Harris Eisenstadt, (percussion), performing Central Park (featuring Thomas Buckner, voice) and the premiere of his latest work, Occupy the World: For Freedom. [Read the rest…]