#lockdownminiature

Over the last several months I’ve been busy behind-the-scenes working on a solo guitar project. In a few months I hope to announce some exciting developments. In the meantime, you can catch up with some short videos of solo guitar improvisations by following #lockdownminiature both on Twitter and on Facebook.

Arts Council of Ireland

This project is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland.

Serenity on the edge breakdown and sounds of an 8-bit shower (reviews: Peculiar Velocities and Two+ Bagatelles)

Eris 136199: Peculiar Velocities

I am very proud and very grateful to find Peculiar Velocities, the latest album from Eris 136199, in the best-of lists of a Jazz Noise (which, elsewhere, described the music as “serenity on the edge of a breakdown”), and of Avant Music News. And no one is more surprised than I that a Kickstarter-only limited edition live album got on to a best-of-year list!

Elsewhere Corey Mwamba (Freeness, BBC Radio 3) describes “exquisite music-making” with musicians that “fuse and create this gorgeous glitchy stew together”, and, writing in Vital Weekly, Nick Roseblade describes Peculiar Velocities as an album in which “everything feels pushed as far is it can go”:

Like what rock music could, and possibly should, have sounded like it if musicians like Ornette Coleman became the norm. There is a freeness to the playing that is astounding, but there is also organisation. During sections, the guitars work together to give Sikora something tangible to stand on. When this happens ‘Eris 136199: Peculiar Velocities’ becomes something very special indeed. ‘Polytely I’ sees the guitars constantly churning to create vortex-esque soundscapes why Sikora’s light and airy saxophone wafts above it. Like stream on a freshly brewed tea. This is an album that reminds you of how good it is when musicians don’t care about the rules and just play. [Read the rest…]

And while Brady Gerber’s ‘7 For Seven’ finds a space in which “a nervous guitar fills an orange sky and empty beach”, and Takeshi Goda in JazzTokyo writes of velocities, perception, collisions, fusions, joy and brain-reforming experiences:

相手のプレイを意識して、コール&レスポンスで反応しながら音楽の流れを作るのは即興演奏のひとつのスタイルである。しかし彼らのアンサンブルの方法論は異なる。その場で適切と各自が判断する奏法・旋律・リズムを個人の責任で奏でることに専念して、3人のプレイが衝突と融合を繰り返すことで、結果的に予測不能なサウンドを生み出すことを信条としている。3つの異なる平行した自然のプロセスが同時に起こることで知覚される集団即興演奏は…

それはあたかも地球外の異境から到来した明滅する運動エネルギーによって脳外科手術を施されるような驚喜の頭脳改革体験である。 [Read the rest…]

And finally, Ken Shimamoto/The Stash Dauber writes about sounds that “slither and spatter like radio interference, shimmer like molten silver, or ring like a cymbal’s decay” music in which “the spirit of electricity becomes a living thing”:

The best type of musical conversation, abstract and oblique as it might be at times…. I’ve listened to this thing a half dozen times since I started writing yesterday, and am happy to have its company to help me get through what looks like it’s going to be a very tough winter… and the hopeful spring to follow. [Read the rest…]

[About this album…] [Get the CD/download (Bandcamp)…] [All reviews…]

CD: €11 minimum (‘name your price’) plus shipping.*†
Download: €8 minimum (‘name your price’).†

CD photo: Eris 136199: Peculiar Velocities (BAF002) by Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora and Nick Didkovsky (artwork and photo copyright 2020, Han-earl Park)CD photo: Eris 136199: Peculiar Velocities (BAF002) by Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora and Nick Didkovsky (artwork and photo copyright 2020, Han-earl Park)CD photo: Eris 136199: Peculiar Velocities (BAF002) by Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora and Nick Didkovsky (artwork and photo copyright 2020, Han-earl Park)CD photo: Eris 136199: Peculiar Velocities (BAF002) by Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora and Nick Didkovsky (artwork and photo copyright 2020, Han-earl Park)CD photo: Eris 136199: Peculiar Velocities (BAF002) by Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora and Nick Didkovsky (artwork and photo copyright 2020, Han-earl Park)

* Limited edition glass-mastered CD. CD includes additional material (liner notes, artwork, etc.) not included in the download version of the album.

† Both digital and physical purchases give you streaming via the free Bandcamp app, and option to download the recording in multiple formats including lossless.

Two+ Bagatelles

And one more thing: In his survey of solo guitar recordings, Paul Acquaro at Free Jazz reviews my recording released by, and in support of, The Vortex Jazz Club:

[Han-earl Park’s] playing was unusually expressive…. On Two+ Bagatelles, this same musical spirit that has stuck with me for so long, has been captured…. Melodies becoming almost like the sounds of an 8-bit shower. [Read the rest…]

[About this EP…] [Download (Bandcamp)…]

Available from The Vortex’s Bandcamp page, all purchases of Two+ Bagatelles go towards helping their continued work presenting the very best jazz, improvised, and experimental musics.

New improvisative pieces for solo guitar

guitar

Awesome news! I am excited to announce that I am a recipient of the Arts Council of Ireland Music Bursary Award, and that I will be creating a suite of improvisative, obliquely narrative, pieces for solo guitar, working with mentors Richard Barrett and Annette Krebs, and consultant Han-Ter Park to build a new compositional approach, and create companion pieces to my teaching work. As wrote in my proposal:

I will create a suite of new improvisative, obliquely narrative, experimental pieces for the solo guitarist. The bursary award will grant me time to research ways in which to effectively incorporate elements transposed from narrative forms (e.g. the manipulation of genre expectations) into my solo practice with its physical techniques and interactive tactics that I have developed systematically over twenty years. In addition, I will explore the ways in which studio-based techniques (editing, montage, etc.) may be used as a fluid compositional strategy in the context of improvisative work….

My solo practice was built on my studies with improviser-composers such as Wadada Leo Smith, and periods of independent study in 2003 during which I transposed to the guitar improvisative techniques of pianists such as Marilyn Crispell and Keith Tippett, and in 2008 during which I incorporated techniques from drummers such as Rashied Ali and Tony Oxley. I aim to expand on this practice by transposing to the musical domain, elements of genre manipulation found in works by writers such as Jeff VanderMeer and film-makers such as Bong Joon-ho. In addition, I aim to amplify these possibilities via the interactions between improvisation and studio-based compositional strategies.

To this end, in addition to my independent studies, I will consult with film-maker Han-Ter Park to explore aspects of cinematic techniques relevant to this project, and work closely with mentors improviser and composer Richard Barrett, and composer and sound artist Annette Krebs. Barrett and Krebs have unique insights into the intersection of improvisation and composition, the incorporation of programmatic and/or narrative elements, and studio-based techniques.

I am very, very grateful for the support of the Arts Council, and my collaborators. I feel privileged to be given the opportunity to work on this project, and I am very much looking forward to sharing this work with you. Please stay tuned: I will be announcing soon ways you can follow this work-in-progress.

Arts Council of Ireland

This project is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland.

Improvising guitar, writing about

Studies for Guitar
© 2013 and 2020 Han-earl Park

I am very happy to announce that I will begin writing on the practice of improvisation and, and for, the adventurous guitarist. I aim to create a resource for both educators and practitioners, and the Cork City Council Arts Office has awarded me an Individual Artists’ Bursary to begin this work. As I wrote in my proposal:

A technical and practical text, it [the monograph] will be a unique and much needed contribution to the literature for, and about, the improviser and the experimental guitarist. My goal is to create a work for broad circulation that becomes a teaching, learning and theoretical resource for practitioners generally.

I aim to create a work that is part technical instruction for the guitarist with a working knowledge of musical improvisation, and a broader exploration of creative possibilities in the context of real-time, interactive performance. As a practitioner’s report, the work will not only be a reflection on the evolution of my practice and personal pedagogy, but will also be an invitation to the reader to similarly engage with their practice.

I will also be working with mentor-collaborators, and I am grateful to guitarist, improviser and composer Nick Didkovsky, improviser, composer and researcher Owen Green, and composer-improviser, researcher and mentor Richard Barrett for agreeing to read and comment on my work.

Please stay tuned: there are more parts of this project to be announced, and I will share parts of this project as they become ready.

Cork City Council Arts Office

This project was made possible with funding by the Cork City Council Arts Office.

Two+ Bagatelles

Cover of ‘Two+ Bagatelles’ by Han-earl Park (photo copyright Jazz em Agosto / Petra Cvelbar)
Photo © Jazz em Agosto / Petra Cvelbar

Listen to some fresh-off-the-pick music, and support an awesome, not-for-profit music venue at the same time!

Out now: solo guitar studies/bagatelles by Han-earl Park. Available from The Vortex’s Bandcamp page, all purchases go towards helping their continued work presenting the very best jazz, improvised, and experimental musics.

Catherine, Nick and I had a fantastic time when we performed at The Vortex in August, and I am very happy to be able to support the venue (with its amazing crew) in this way. Plus, for those who’ve been asking me for a solo recording, here’s a super rare chance to pick up a new one.

Album available to stream via the free Bandcamp app, and download in multiple formats including lossless.

personnel

Han-earl Park (guitar).

track listing

Zero (01:03), One (10:27), Two (05:28). Total duration: 16:59.

recording details

Music by Han-earl Park.

Recorded Berlin, October 2019.

Cover photo © Jazz em Agosto / Petra Cvelbar.
Recorded and mastered by Han-earl Park.

© + ℗ 2019 The Vortex / Han-earl Park.

thanks: Han-earl Park and Dominic Lash plus Corey Mwamba (Manchester, Cambridge and London, May 2015)

Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash and Corey Mwamba (Tubers MiniFestival, Manchester, May 2, 2015). Photo © 2015 Peter Fay.
Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash and Corey Mwamba (Manchester, May 2, 2015). Photo © 2015 Peter Fay.

Note of thanks for the performances in Manchester, Cambridge and London. Thanks in particular to our hosts (their partners and cats) and organizers: David Birchall and everyone at Tubers; David Grundy; and Alex Ward at Boat-ting (and hope you feel better soon, Sibyl Madrigal). Kudos to all the performers who shares the stage, and to Peter Fay for the documentation [more images…]. And, as always, thanks to all those who came to hear real-time music!

As for The Uncanny Dom Lash and The Astonishing Corey Mwamba, I’ll take off my hat, and bow down, to your formidable and generous musicality (a diabolical combination). I think we made music sometimes brittle, always unexpected, with no gesture lost in play.

Some things to take away from this micro-tour: talking ‘scene’ (creative communities and geographies) with David Birchall, Rex Casswell, Corey and Cathy Heyden; paying The Racially Diverse Trio of Nerdy Guys in comics (thanks to Free Comic Book Day); revisiting my take on soundart and music; finding, with Dom and Rex, unexpected musical possibilities in the imagined names of the royal baby; watching Bark! in motion—off and on-stage—an ensemble that plays like a joke where the punchline never arrives (and it’s awesome); Dom saying that “the details need to work harder”; Steve Beresford telling tales of improvised music past and present; being reminded what an imaginative, crafty and resourceful drummer Steve Noble is (he gives so much for his partners to work with); witnessing the joy of someone coax the musical from unmusical resources (Sonic Pleasure sounding masonry); performing our last gig while Dom’s bass gained a buzz and my guitar’s bridge pickup cr*pped out….

…Talking of which, if you’ll excuse me, I have a guitar to open-up and examine (and hopefully repair before Belfast).

video: studies (Cork, 04-24-15)

For those of you who were interested in such things… a couple of exercises/studies (the second inspired by one of Brahms’) I’ve been working on for a few days. Very rough, and very much work-in-progress. No commentary or breakdown (yet), but let me know if you have questions. More to come…

Han-earl Park amplifier appeal

Old Polytone
Update: the collection is closed. I’d like to thank everyone who contributed. Thanks. Please help me make a little noise.* I’ve managed to get through a year without a functioning guitar amplifier, choosing instead to rely on whatever amp the venue can offer, or borrow one as needed. (And, anyway, my old amp was a battered, world-traveling, budget-airline-surviving, gutted-then-kluged-together, 15 year old Polytone.) For friends and family who’d been wondering what to get me as a gift, and for those generous souls who’d like to help out this itinerant musicians, here’s your answer [update: button disabled.]:

donate disabled

All donations will go to the purchase of a new amplifier (and, depending on the breaks, an amp cover or bag). With a little luck, you’ll be hearing the results soon. Thanks. Thanks. And Thanks.

* and by noise, I mean:

updates

12–30-14: closed collection. Thanks for your generosity.