I’ve collated material on io 0.0.1 beta++ (including audio and visual material, source code, and written pieces), and created a selective index of documentation on the construction of, and performance of and with, this machine musician:
io 0.0.1 beta++ is an interactive, semiautonomous technological artifact that, in partnership with its human associates, performs a deliberately amplified staging of a socio-technical network—a network in which the primary protocol is improvisation. Together the cyborg ensemble explores the performance of identities, hybrids and relationships, and highlights the social agency of artifacts, and the social dimension of improvisation. Engineered by Han-earl Park, io 0.0.1 beta++ is a descendant, and significant re-construction, of his previous machine musicians, and it builds upon the work done with, and address some of the musical and practical problems of, these previous artifacts.
Standing as tall as a person, io 0.0.1 beta++ whimsically evokes a 1950s B-movie robot, constructed from ad-hoc components including plumbing, kitchenware and missile switches. It celebrates the material and corporeal; embracing the localized and embodied aspects of sociality, performance and improvisation.
The current edition of jazzColo[u]rs (Sommario Ago./Set. 2015, Anno VIII, n. 8–9) has an interview with me by Andrew Rigmore. It covers a broad range of my work, from my close collaboration with Catherine Sikora, my working relationships with Paul Dunmall, Evan Parker, and drummers such as Mark Sanders, Charles Hayward, Gino Robair and Tom Rainey, to ensembles and projects such as Eris 136199, Mathilde 253 and io 0.0.1 beta++. We also discuss the location of noise, rhythm, harmony and melody in my work, and the relationship between structure and improvisation. Andrew Rigmore opened by asking me about the meaning of ‘tactical macros’ in the context of Metis 9:
Descrivo Metis 9 come insieme di “tactical macros”, una sorta di libretto di strategie di gioco per l’improvvisazione pensato per un insieme di improvvisatori. Si tratta di schemi interattivi: Metis 9 non detta mai un evento preciso — un suono, un rumore — che chi suona debba eseguire — sarebbe un anatema per un’indagine seria nell’improvvisazione —, ma ha in sé i parametri per [intendere] quali tipi di interazione siano praticabili e quali invece risulterebbero… difficili. Le macro tattiche che creano Metis 9 sono spesso ambigue, perfino nebulose, a tal punto da paralizzare chi non è abituato ad improvvisare. Sono per certi versi simili alle regole dei ragazzini che giocano liberamente: esistono solo se funzionali al gioco — se sono divertenti, interessanti o portano a un gioco più intrigante — e vengono liberamente mutate, reinterpretate e mollate quando il gioco porta altrove. Dun- que non si tratta di composizioni in sè — che implicherebbero una sorta di appropriazione d’autorità, ingiusta verso gli sforzi dei performer —, per cui ho introdotto il termine “macro”: un’istruzione abbreviata che si espande in un processo reale non conoscibile tramite l’istruzione iniziale e di cui sono responsabili i performer — i veri agenti interattivi.
[I describe Metis 9 as a collection of ‘tactical macros,’ and by that I mean that Metis 9 is a kind of playbook for improvisation; it’s designed for an ensemble of improvisers, and it’s, in a way, about improvisation. These are interactive schema: Metis 9 never dictates the exact gesture—each bloop or bleep—that the performers are to execute—that, I think, would be an anathema to a serious inquiry into improvisation—but it does lay the parameters for what kinds of interactions might be possible, and what kinds of interactions might be… difficult. These tactical macros that make up Metis 9 are often ambiguous, possibly nebulous, to the point of, I suspect, being paralyzing to non-improvisers. They are somewhat akin to the rules that are enrolled when you see young children in free play. The rules only exist if they serve the play—if they are fun or interesting or lead to further engaging play—and are freely mutated, reinterpreted and jettisoned when play leads elsewhere. So they aren’t really compositions as such—that would take a kind of authorial appropriation that would be unfair on the efforts of the performers—which is why I stuck the term ‘macro’ on it: it’s a shorthand instruction that expands into a real process, but the process itself is not knowable from the initial instruction; the performers—the actual interactive agents—are responsible for that.]
You can read more in the current issue of jazzColo[u]rs. The issue also includes Andrew Rigmore and Antonio Terzo’s review of Anomic Aphasia (SLAMCD 559).
Thanks to Andrew Rigmore, Antonio Terzo, Piero Rapisardi and jazzColo[u]rs for the profile and their support, and to Scott Friedlander and Fergus Kelly for the photographic portraits that accompany the article.
Expériences de résonnances et d’occupation de l’espace sonore. Très dramatique sans narration. Tout l’espace est occupé, toujours de manière surprenante, avec peu de sons, peu de matière (toutefois l’occupation peut se densifier sans rupture), travaillée finement, une dentelle de musique. Des allers et venues des sons comme de personnages sur ce qu’on peut vraiment appeler une scène musicale. Un travail de legato général, structurel, dans la rupture permanente des sons individuels. Un disque étonnant dans lequel les sons de l’automate sont reconnaissable sans être décalés. Les humains ne jouent pas comme s’ils étaient entre eux, le robot les influence, l’inverse est vrai. [Read the rest…]
Although nowhere near a big a revision as the last major update, I’ve made some significant changes to my bio. Below is the new verbose, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, 472 word version [shorter versions…].
Improviser, guitarist and constructor Han-earl Park (박한얼) (www.busterandfriends.com) 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 in Austria, Denmark, Germany, England, Ireland, The Netherlands, Scotland 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.
Park taught improvisation at University College Cork (2006–2011), and founded and curated (2007–2011) Stet Lab, a space for improvised music in Cork. He is a recipient of grants from the Arts Council of Ireland (2007, 2008 and 2009) and Music Network (2009 and 2010), and of the Ahmanson Foundation Scholarship (1999) and the CalArts Scholarship (1999 and 1999–2000).
Duns Limited Edition has ceased production, but during its lifetime it was pretty prolific. Having founded the label himself, Paul relished in the freedom to record and release on cdr a multitude of projects, playing with like-minded, creative musicians at his invitation. All the music is totally freely improvised. [Read the rest…]
Numbers is a complex melange of retro/futurist synth sounds, glitch electronica, guitar-sourced whammy-bar pitch-bending and hard-scrabble picking over bridge and pickups: a volatile stream of fractal note-data and complex electro-acoustics, all slippery switchbacks and other such abrupt transitions.
This makes for kaleidoscopic music, a rubato flux of superimposed noises in which lightning-fast progression from one galvanising sound event (noise thru silence) to another, and the musicians’ constant attention to overall form, carry far more weight than developmental foresightedness or melodic thrust: it’s music of the moment, a process of constantly tweaked evolutionary recombination.
The duo are tenacious in their work of sonic abiogenesis, and the six Numbers pieces are all longish…. The sound events comprised by tracks like “Ankpla” and “Uettet” are as disjointed as they are contiguous, but the overriding sense impression is that each whole flows nicely, and the album as a whole rewardingly absorbs attention. [Read the rest…]
I’ve finally updated and reorganized my scrapbook. It’s been a few years since I last made changes to this audio and video archive, so there’s a good few additions, and a few more tracks (with Richard Barrett, Paul Dunmall and Mark Sanders) will be added in the coming weeks. Below is a sample of some of the more recent additions. Enjoy!
Music by Han-earl Park, Bruce Coates and Franziska Schroeder.
Recorded May 25, 2010 at the Ó Riada Hall, UCC Music Building, Cork.
Audio clip courtesy of SLAM Productions. ℗ 2011 SLAM Productions.
Recorded and mixed by Han-earl Park.
The interaction between io and the three other players is really supple… and I like very much the gritty complexity of io’s vocabulary, and the fine sense of shaping, timbrally and in terms of gesture….
Two more reviews of ‘io 0.0.1 beta++’ (SLAMCD 531) with two contrasting takes on the meeting between human and machine musicians. Ken Waxman, on the one hand, juxtaposes the “unobtrusive and egoless” machine with the human improvisers who display, for example, “thoughtful pauses”:
…Han-earl Park personifying Dr. Frankenstein, has created a non-human artificial musician from ad-hoc components including speakers, kitchenware and missile switches. This CD is a literal record of how the non-human, prosaically named io 0. 0. 1 beta++, sounds in concert with flesh-and-blood counterparts….
io 0. 0. 1 beta++ is unobtrusive and egoless enough… to warble its staccato particle contributions without trying to engulf or show up the humans. Its contributions are unique enough on their own.
For instance on the initial ‘Pioneer: Variance’ and ‘Pioneer: Dance’ contrasting alto and soprano saxophone trills and squeaks are put into bolder relief as the otherworldly flutters, oscillated tones and flanged rotations of the machine are kept in a straight line by Park’s legato picking. The thoughtful pauses audible in the guitar playing confirms Park’s human-ness, especially when compared to the grainy whistles and juddering vibrations that arise from io 0. 0. 1 beta++….
Nonetheless the machine further demonstrates its versatility on the 59-second ‘4G’, with metallic muted trombone-like snores and even raises the question as to whether io 0. 0. 1 beta++ or extended saxophone techniques are creating the air pops and abrasive tongue flutters on subsequent tracks. In the main crackling reductionist resonations are attributed to its properties, while any legato or lyrical intermezzos are, more likely than not, propelled from the instruments and imaginations of full-fledged Homo sapiens.
Succinctly as the three demonstrate on ‘Return Trajectory’, during which io 0. 0. 1 beta++ appears to have taken five, an additional voice—human or otherwise—is necessary to create a pleasing sound picture. The guitarist’s connective down strokes plus the swelling layers of contrapuntal reed timbres are distinctive and solipsistic enough on their own. [Read the rest…]
Romualdo Del Noce at Jazz Convention, on the other hand, hears a “charmingly imperfect interplay” between human and machine musicians becomes a drama of the ‘human,’ the ‘other,’ and of cyborgs. An interplay in which Han-earl Park improvises a “rugged plateau” and “hyperacid notes”, and Franziska Schroeder enriches “the other half of the sax… with a naked and experimental voice, together in harmony and dissonance with parallel and converging streams of the thoroughbred free-player Bruce Coates”.
Le corde tese di Park imbastiscono un plateau scabro ma di lungo e persistente respiro, vivente nelle articolazioni e nella tessitura della sua fisica elettroacustica; mentre sul versante “meccanico” dell’instrumentarium i modi performanti di Franziska Schroeder arricchiscono l’altra metà del sax (a fianco delle Matana Roberts, Alexandra Grimal, Ingrid Laubrock etc.) di una voce sperimentante e nuda, in sintonia e insieme dissonanza con i flussi paralleli e convergenti del free-player purosangue Bruce Coates, e il tutto si dipana entro uno svolgimento a canovaccio libero e istantaneo, lungo il suo deviante svolgimento interrogandosi (senza eccessivo paradosso) se l’autentica “alienità” sia rispettivamente appannaggio della cosa o, piuttosto e viceversa, dell’ “umano”….
Insomma, l’avanguardia è tornata: non che fosse mai stata davvero latitante, ma gli interrogativi sonori, lacerati e critici, del trio pongono come oggetto radicale la disumanizzazione progressiva e le implicazioni del sempre più preponderante avvento della macchina, forse retrodatando le intenzioni alle prime decadi del secolo scorso e alle relative allarmistiche dottrine, ma riprendendole lungo le forme acutamente nervose e l’attenzione creativa dei medianici e cyborghiani performers e del loro interplay attrattivamente imperfetto. [Read the rest…] [English translation…]