beautiful noise (reviews: Anomic Aphasia)

CD cover of ‘Anomic Aphasia’ (SLAMCD 559) with Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora, Nick Didkovsky and Josh Sinton (artwork copyright 2015, Han-earl Park)
‘Anomic Aphasia’ (SLAMCD 559) © 2015 Han-earl Park

‘Anomic Aphasia’ (SLAMCD 559) with Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora, Nick Didkovsky and Josh Sinton makes Avant Music News Best of 2015 (So Far). Honored to find my work among such illustrious company. [Read the Avant Music News review…]

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.

— Andrew Rigmore and Antonio Terzo (jazzColo[u]rs)

Elsewhere… you can get your copy of the CD from Downtown Music Gallery 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…]

— Bruce Lee Gallanter (Downtown Music Gallery)

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.

[About this recording…] [All reviews…]

More updates

In addition to Downtown Music Gallery, ‘Anomic Aphasia’ is now also available from Wayside Music. So you can now get your copy from:

[Downtown Music Gallery…] [Wayside Music…] [Disk Union…] [Improjazz…] [Crazy Jazz…] [Jazzcds…] [Proper Music (distributor)…] [More purchase options…]

And above is the latest trailer for the album. Watch, listen and share….

Also from SLAM Productions…

‘io 0.0.1 beta++ (SLAMCD 531) CD cover (copyright 2011, Han-earl Park)

io 0.0.1 beta++ (SLAMCD 531) [details…]

Performers: io 0.0.1 beta++ (itself), Han-earl Park (guitar), Bruce Coates (alto and sopranino saxophones) and Franziska Schroeder (soprano saxophone). [About this project…]

© 2011 Han-earl Park.
℗ 2011 SLAM Productions.

‘Mathilde 253’ (SLAMCD 528) CD cover (copyright 2010, Han-earl Park)

Mathilde 253 (SLAMCD 528) [details…]

Performers: Charles Hayward (drums, percussion and melodica), Han-earl Park (guitar) and Ian Smith (trumpet and flugelhorn) plus Lol Coxhill (saxophone). [About this ensemble…]

© 2010 Han-earl Park.
℗ 2010 SLAM Productions.

updates

09–23-15: update Downtown Music Gallery link.

jazzColo[u]rs: al ritmo afasico della chitarra

‘Han-earl Park: al ritmo afasico della chitarra’, jazzColo[u]rs (Sommario Ago./Set. 2015, Anno VIII, n. 8-9)
© 2015 jazzColo[u]rs. Photo by Fergus Kelly.

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.]

[Read the rest (PDF)…]

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.

Out now: Anomic Aphasia

CD cover of ‘Anomic Aphasia’ (SLAMCD 559) with Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora, Nick Didkovsky and Josh Sinton (artwork copyright 2015, Han-earl Park)

Anomic Aphasia (SLAMCD 559) [details…]

Performers: Han-earl Park (guitar), Catherine Sikora (tenor and soprano saxophones), Nick Didkovsky (guitar), and Josh Sinton (baritone saxophone and bass clarinet).

© 2015 Han-earl Park.
℗ 2015 SLAM Productions.

selected discography

Murray Campbell, Randy McKean with Han-earl Park, plus Gino Robair and Scott R. Looney: Gargantius Effect +1 +2 +3 (Nor Cal, 08-2011)

Gargantius Effect +1 +2 +3 (Nor Cal, 08-2011) [details…]

Performers: Murray Campbell (violins, oboe and cor anglais), Randy McKean (saxophone, clarinets and flutes) with Han-earl Park (guitar), plus Gino Robair (energized surfaces, voltage made audible) and Scott R. Looney (hyperpiano).

(cc) 2012 Murray Campbell/Randy McKean/Han-earl Park/Gino Robair/Scott R. Looney.

‘io 0.0.1 beta++ (SLAMCD 531) CD cover (copyright 2011, Han-earl Park)

io 0.0.1 beta++ (SLAMCD 531) [details…]

Performers: io 0.0.1 beta++ (itself), Han-earl Park (guitar), Bruce Coates (alto and sopranino saxophones) and Franziska Schroeder (soprano saxophone). [About this project…]

© 2011 Han-earl Park.
℗ 2011 SLAM Productions.

‘Mathilde 253’ (SLAMCD 528) CD cover (copyright 2010, Han-earl Park)

Mathilde 253 (SLAMCD 528) [details…]

Performers: Charles Hayward (drums, percussion and melodica), Han-earl Park (guitar) and Ian Smith (trumpet and flugelhorn) plus Lol Coxhill (saxophone). [About this ensemble…]

© 2010 Han-earl Park.
℗ 2010 SLAM Productions.

Paul Dunmall and Han-earl Park: Boolean Transforms (DLE-067) CD cover (copyright 2010, DUNS Limited Edition)

Boolean Transforms (DLE-067) [details…]

Performers: Paul Dunmall (saxophone and bagpipes) and Han-earl Park (guitar).

© 2010 DUNS Limited Edition.
℗ 2010 Paul Dunmall/Han-earl Park.

drama without narration (review: io 0.0.1 beta++)

io 0.0.1 beta++ (SLAMCD 531) CD cover (copyright 2011, Han-earl Park)
io 0.0.1 beta++ (SLAMCD 531) © 2011 Han-earl Park

Somehow I managed to miss this when it came out way back in March 2012. Noël Tachet’s review of ‘io 0.0.1 beta++’ (SLAMCD 531) in Improjazz:

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…]

[About this recording…] [All reviews…]

arts council logo

The construction of io 0.0.1 beta++ has been made possible by the generous support of the Arts Council of Ireland.

Also from SLAM Productions…

CD cover of ‘Anomic Aphasia’ (SLAMCD 559) with Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora, Nick Didkovsky and Josh Sinton (artwork copyright 2015, Han-earl Park)

Anomic Aphasia (SLAMCD 559) [details…]

Performers: Han-earl Park (guitar), Catherine Sikora (tenor and soprano saxophones), Nick Didkovsky (guitar), and Josh Sinton (baritone saxophone and bass clarinet).

© 2015 Han-earl Park.
℗ 2015 SLAM Productions.

‘Mathilde 253’ (SLAMCD 528) CD cover (copyright 2010, Han-earl Park)

Mathilde 253 (SLAMCD 528) [details…]

Performers: Charles Hayward (drums, percussion and melodica), Han-earl Park (guitar) and Ian Smith (trumpet and flugelhorn) plus Lol Coxhill (saxophone). [About this ensemble…]

© 2010 Han-earl Park.
℗ 2010 SLAM Productions.

cross-cultural entanglements (reviews: Anomic Aphasia)

CD cover of ‘Anomic Aphasia’ (SLAMCD 559) with Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora, Nick Didkovsky and Josh Sinton (artwork copyright 2015, Han-earl Park)
‘Anomic Aphasia’ (SLAMCD 559) © 2015 Han-earl Park

Yet more reviews of ‘Anomic Aphasia’ (SLAMCD 559) with Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora, Nick Didkovsky and Josh Sinton. Following up on Cisco Bradley’s profile in JazzTokyo, Takeshi Goda locates my work within the context of cross-cultural meetings in New York, and draws attention to the names and titles:

ジャケット写真に写るのはギターのピックとサックスのリード。アルバム・タイトルは「失名詞症(失語症のひとつ。ものの名称を言ったり認識できない症状のこと)」の意味。便宜的にトラック・タイトルは付されているものの、言葉のない楽器同士の対話である即興演奏に名前をつける事は出来ない訳で、ギターとサックスの音響が重なり合う物音の交歓を総称するのにこれほど適したタイトルはないだろう。

友人たちに「ハン」(ハン・ベニンクと同じ発音)と呼ばれているというパクの在籍するグループには他にも数字絡みの名前が多い(Mathulde 253、io 0.0.1 beta++、Numbersなど)。数学を突き詰めると具体的な数値の存在しない哲学思想に近づくというから、名詞化できない即興の極致を求めるハンたちの活動理念の表出かもしれない。

2013年末にアイルランドに帰国し、現在はヨーロッパ中心に演奏活動を続けるハンだが、このアルバムにスナップされたNYシーンとの恊働が、今後も失われる事なく継続することは間違いない。[Read the rest…]

— 剛田 武 Takeshi Goda (JazzTokyo)

And this is probably a good point to remind those in Japan that you can order the CD from Disk Union.

Meanwhile Beppe Colli at CloudsandClocks, while writing a detailed blow-by-blow account of the record (with two guitarists as Sunny Murray and Jimmy Garrison), also takes time to unpack the names and terms enrolled in the album:

Given my background in sociology, I thought I understood what ‘anomic aphasia’ stood for, but had a look at the dictionary anyway, and that’s what I found: that while words such as ‘anomie’ and ‘anomy’ are part of the vocabulary of social sciences, the Medical meaning of the word ‘anomia’ is ‘a form of aphasia in which the patient is unable to recall the names of everyday objects’. Interested readers are invited to think about the ways in which the above-mentioned definition and the questionnaire that appears in the CD booklet—a series of questions which investigate important issues with a light tone—relate to improvisation….

Then there’s the trio of Park and Sikora plus Josh Sinton on baritone saxophone and bass clarinet, a trio that on two occasions employs ‘tactical macros’ devised and specified by Park himself bearing the name METIS 9. At first I thought that ‘macro’ stood for ‘meta-rule’, but the ‘anomic’ episode made me interrogate my dictionary one more time, so I found a meaning of macro as “a single instruction that expands automatically into a set of instructions to perform a particular task”. In fact, the transition from Monopod—the long improvised track that opens the CD—to Pleonasm—a track that has musicians making use of ‘tactical macros’—runs parallel to a transition towards shared rules that are correctly understood by the featured musicians. [Read the rest…] [In Italian…]

— Beppe Colli (ClocksandClouds)

[About this recording…] [All reviews…]

Also from SLAM Productions…

‘io 0.0.1 beta++ (SLAMCD 531) CD cover (copyright 2011, Han-earl Park)

io 0.0.1 beta++ (SLAMCD 531) [details…]

Performers: io 0.0.1 beta++ (itself), Han-earl Park (guitar), Bruce Coates (alto and sopranino saxophones) and Franziska Schroeder (soprano saxophone). [About this project…]

© 2011 Han-earl Park.
℗ 2011 SLAM Productions.

‘Mathilde 253’ (SLAMCD 528) CD cover (copyright 2010, Han-earl Park)

Mathilde 253 (SLAMCD 528) [details…]

Performers: Charles Hayward (drums, percussion and melodica), Han-earl Park (guitar) and Ian Smith (trumpet and flugelhorn) plus Lol Coxhill (saxophone). [About this ensemble…]

© 2010 Han-earl Park.
℗ 2010 SLAM Productions.

updates

08–15-15: add new video trailer.

twist and turn, scrape, squeak and melodic (reviews: Anomic Aphasia)

CD cover of ‘Anomic Aphasia’ (SLAMCD 559) with Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora, Nick Didkovsky and Josh Sinton (artwork copyright 2015, Han-earl Park)
‘Anomic Aphasia’ (SLAMCD 559) © 2015 Han-earl Park

Brittle? Tough and dense? Accessible and captivating? Exhilarating? Or verging on lyrical? John Eyles at All About Jazz gives ‘Anomic Aphasia’ (SLAMCD 559) with Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora, Nick Didkovsky and Josh Sinton ☆☆☆☆½:

The guitarists’ [Nick Didkovsky’s and Han-earl Park’s] two very different styles could have clashed, but they find ways of fitting them together that leave space for the saxophone. [Catherine] Sikora could have been crowded out but she skilfully adapts to the soundscapes created by the guitars, and integrates her playing without compromising her style…. At times that playing does fit Park’s “noisy, unruly complexity” description, but when they are in full flow together, their exchanges fit together perfectly and are simply exhilarating, sometimes verging on lyrical….

Key to the success of the album’s middle three tracks is their line-up of Park and Sikora with Josh Sinton on baritone saxophone or bass clarinet; one guitar plus two reeds works better than one saxophone plus two guitars. Aurally, the separate contributions of these three individuals are easier to determine. Sinton’s confident, fluent improvising stands out as this trio’s trademark sound…. The interweaving of the trio’s three strands works effectively, with credit going equally to each member. [Read the rest…]

— John Eyles (All About Jazz)

In his ☆☆☆☆ review, Paul Acquaro at Free Jazz finds a “great set of free jazz trio work” in which “every twist and turn, scrape, squeak and melodic idea contributes to this adventurous and exciting recording”:

The album clocks in at a generous 71 minutes, and none of it is wasted. Starting with the 20 minute ‘Monopod’ with the cast of Sikora, Park and Didkovsky, things are off to a (briefly) squeaky start, then track begins in earnest, with the tenor sax’s free form melody cutting through the slashing tones of the guitars. What starts brittle, grows tough and dense. The ‘conversation’ between the sax and the guitars is intense at times, and at other times tender. Generally speaking, Park tends to be more atmospheric while Didkovsky is more biting.

The track ‘Pleonasm’ features the trio of Sinton, Sikora and Park. The rich tones of Sinton’s baritone sax and bass clarinet contrast nicely with Sikora’s vivacious playing on the tenor and soprano saxes. The track begins with Park’s minimalist approach—he employs a vocabulary of textures and taut phrases as the saxes reply with staccato bursts of melodic runs. The song, like the others, is abstract but there is something at the nexus of the trio’s playing that remains accessible and captivating.

‘Stopcock’ is the long burning closer to the album. Back to Sikora, Park and Didkovsky, the trio delivers a fascinating performance that starts with arpeggios and rhythmic picking lending a somewhat metal feel to the introduction. The two guitars play in parallel for a while—some time reaching agreement, other times in friendly competition. When Sikora joins, she delivers a vigorous melody that pulls the track together.

Between the four musicians, Anomic Aphasia is a great set of free jazz trio work. Every twist and turn, scrape, squeak and melodic idea contributes to this adventurous and exciting recording. [Read the rest…]

— Paul Acquaro (Free Jazz)

[About this recording…] [All reviews…]

Also from SLAM Productions…

‘io 0.0.1 beta++ (SLAMCD 531) CD cover (copyright 2011, Han-earl Park)

io 0.0.1 beta++ (SLAMCD 531) [details…]

Performers: io 0.0.1 beta++ (itself), Han-earl Park (guitar), Bruce Coates (alto and sopranino saxophones) and Franziska Schroeder (soprano saxophone). [About this project…]

© 2011 Han-earl Park.
℗ 2011 SLAM Productions.

‘Mathilde 253’ (SLAMCD 528) CD cover (copyright 2010, Han-earl Park)

Mathilde 253 (SLAMCD 528) [details…]

Performers: Charles Hayward (drums, percussion and melodica), Han-earl Park (guitar) and Ian Smith (trumpet and flugelhorn) plus Lol Coxhill (saxophone). [About this ensemble…]

© 2010 Han-earl Park.
℗ 2010 SLAM Productions.

JazzTokyo: Jazz Right Now

Han-earl Park (Cork, 05-26-10)
Photograph © 2010 Stephanie Hough.

As part of his regular JazzTokyo column reporting on the new New York “21st Century Improvised Music” scene, Cisco Bradley (with Japanese version of the text by Takeshi Goda) writes about Anomic Aphasia (“one of the most interesting recent releases” in which “they dot, occasionally splash, and, at times, tear their collective portrait as they momentarily build, then cut, rearrange, dismember”), and talks of some of my collaborations in New York:

最も興味深い最近のリリース作品のひとつは、ギタリストのパク・ハンアルHan-earl Parkをリーダーとする二つの異なるトリオ演奏を収録した『アノミック・アフェイジア(Anomic Aphasia)』(SLAM Productions)である。ひとつはギタリストのニック・ディドゥコフスキー Nick Didkovskyとサックス奏者キャサリン・シコラ Catherine Sikoraとの<エリス136199 / Eris 136199>、もう一つはシコラとリード奏者ジョン・シントン Josh Sintonとの<メティス9 / Metis 9>。2月19日にリリースされたこのレコードには、パクのトレードマークの打楽器的アプローチによるギター・プレイが5曲の即興トラックに収めされている。アルバムは、エリスのギザギザで角のある楽曲が、メティスのより健全で流動的なナンバーに挟まれた構成になっている。本作はパクの2年間のニューヨーク滞在の成果である。その期間に、パクは上記二つのグループの他にもサックス奏者イングリッド・ラウブロック Ingrid Laubrock、ヴォーカリストのヴィヴ・コリンハム Viv Corringham、電子音楽の達人アンドレア・パーキンス Andrea Parkinsとも共同作業した。このレコードで、パクは白いキャンバスにサウンドで色を塗り、鼓舞されたバンドメイトたちも同様に絵筆を走らせた。彼らは一緒になって、描き上げたばかりの集合肖像画に点を穿ち、所々に飛沫を散らし、時には引き裂く。そして切り取り、並べ替え、分割する。2013年末にパクがアイルランドのコークへ帰国してしまって以来、ニューヨークでは彼の不在を嘆く声が絶えない。 [Read the rest…]

[One of the most interesting recent releases is Anomic Aphasia (SLAM Productions), led by guitarist Han-earl Park, including music from two different trios. The first is Eris 136199 with guitarist Nick Didkovsky and saxophonist Catherine Sikora and the latter is Metis 9 with Sikora and reeds-player Josh Sinton. Released on February 19, this record features Park with his signature percussive approach to guitar in five improvisations. The album is bookended by jagged, angular pieces by Eris surrounding the more wholesome, fluid numbers by Metis. The record is a product of Park’s two-year stint in New York during which time he built working relationships with the above groups as well as figures such as saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, vocal artist Viv Corringham, and electronics master Andrea Parkins. On this record, Park paints a sparse canvas with his sound and inspires his bandmates to do likewise. Together, they dot, occasionally splash, and, at times, tear their collective portrait as they momentarily build, then cut, rearrange, dismember. After his return to Cork, Ireland in late 2013, Park has been sorely missed here in New York.]

Thanks to Cisco for the profile. I am very happy and privileged to presented among such an amazing group of creative people… including a few old comrades (Hey, Andrew, Josh, Ingrid, Mike!).

After his return to Cork, Ireland in late 2013, Park has been sorely missed here in New York.

Ah, makes me a little homesick for Brooklyn. Hope to be back one of these days!

Out now: Anomic Aphasia

CD cover of ‘Anomic Aphasia’ (SLAMCD 559) with Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora, Nick Didkovsky and Josh Sinton (artwork copyright 2015, Han-earl Park)

Anomic Aphasia (SLAMCD 559) [details…]

Performers: Han-earl Park (guitar), Catherine Sikora (tenor and soprano saxophones), Nick Didkovsky (guitar), and Josh Sinton (baritone saxophone and bass clarinet).

© 2015 Han-earl Park.
℗ 2015 SLAM Productions.

Gently Shifting Hues (review: Tracks in the dirt)

Catherine Sikora, Han-earl Park and François Grillot, ‘Tracks in the dirt’ (copyright 2013, Clockwork Mercury Press)
Design and artwork by Eric Mingus (© 2013 Clockwork Mercury Press)

“Gently shifting hues”? An “introspective form of free jazz”? How’s your Swedish? Peter Bornemar at DIG Jazz reviews Catherine Sikora, Han-earl Park and François Grillot’s Tracks in the dirt (Clockwork Mercury Press 003):

I ljudbilden ligger fokus på små, närmast försiktigt skiftande nyanser där det endast undantagsvis förekommer en underliggande puls i musiken. Av de tre musikerna fångas lyssnandet framför allt av Sikora, vars ton är mjuk och följsam snarare än aggressiv och vresig, medan Park och framför allt Grillot får kompletterande roller.

Ska man av någon anledning leta efter möjliga rottrådar till musiken hamnar åtminstone mitt sökande på den introspektiva form av frijazz Jimmy Giuffres trio med Paul Bley och Steve Swallow utvecklade i början av 60-talet. Om frågan gäller referenser till musikerna per se handlar det i Sikoras fall om Steve Lacy och för Parks del möjligtvis om Derek Bailey. [Read the rest…]

— Peter Bornemar (DIG Jazz)

[More about this recording…] [All reviews…]

Also by Catherine Sikora and Han-earl Park

CD cover of ‘Anomic Aphasia’ (SLAMCD 559) with Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora, Nick Didkovsky and Josh Sinton (artwork copyright 2015, Han-earl Park)

Anomic Aphasia (SLAMCD 559) [details…]

Performers: Han-earl Park (guitar), Catherine Sikora (tenor and soprano saxophones), Nick Didkovsky (guitar), and Josh Sinton (baritone saxophone and bass clarinet).

© 2015 Han-earl Park.
℗ 2015 SLAM Productions.

Catherine Sikora, Ian Smith and Han-earl Park: Sikora-Smith-Park (Cork, 04-04-11)

Sikora-Smith-Park (Cork, 04-04-11) [details…]

Performers: Catherine Sikora (saxophone), Ian Smith (trumpet) and Han-earl Park (guitar).

(cc) 2012 Catherine Sikora/Ian Smith/Han-earl Park.

Harmonious Discord (reviews: Anomic Aphasia)

CD cover of ‘Anomic Aphasia’ (SLAMCD 559) with Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora, Nick Didkovsky and Josh Sinton (artwork copyright 2015, Han-earl Park)
‘Anomic Aphasia’ (SLAMCD 559) © 2015 Han-earl Park

First set of reviews of ‘Anomic Aphasia’ (SLAMCD 559) with Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora, Nick Didkovsky and Josh Sinton. Avant Music News selects the recording as for a Pick of the Week, and hails the trio*2 on the recording as “a variable supergroup”:

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…]

— Mike Borella (Avant Music News)

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.

— Rigobert Dittmann (Bad Alchemy)

“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 😉 )

[About this recording…] [All reviews…]

Also from SLAM Productions…

‘io 0.0.1 beta++ (SLAMCD 531) CD cover (copyright 2011, Han-earl Park)

io 0.0.1 beta++ (SLAMCD 531) [details…]

Performers: io 0.0.1 beta++ (itself), Han-earl Park (guitar), Bruce Coates (alto and sopranino saxophones) and Franziska Schroeder (soprano saxophone). [About this project…]

© 2011 Han-earl Park.
℗ 2011 SLAM Productions.

‘Mathilde 253’ (SLAMCD 528) CD cover (copyright 2010, Han-earl Park)

Mathilde 253 (SLAMCD 528) [details…]

Performers: Charles Hayward (drums, percussion and melodica), Han-earl Park (guitar) and Ian Smith (trumpet and flugelhorn) plus Lol Coxhill (saxophone). [About this ensemble…]

© 2010 Han-earl Park.
℗ 2010 SLAM Productions.

Free Jazz: Catherine Sikora, Han-earl Park and François Grillot, ‘Tracks in the dirt’

Catherine Sikora, Han-earl Park and François Grillot, ‘Tracks in the dirt’ (copyright 2013, Clockwork Mercury Press)
Design and artwork by Eric Mingus (© 2013 Clockwork Mercury Press)

Paul Acquaro at Free Jazz Blog writes that Catherine Sikora, Han-earl Park and François Grillot’s Tracks in the dirt (Clockwork Mercury Press 003) is an “enjoyable listen for open ears”, and that “chance encounters and smart musical ideas that make this recording so effective.”

The opening track, ‘Helix’ contains some of my favorite moments of the recording. Sikora’s soprano sax sounds like it is drawing a line from each hit of the bass, with Park coloring in the spaces between. Park, with whom she also released Cork 04-04-11, is an understated and sympathetic accompanist throughout.

Feel the force of Sikora’s playing too—halfway through the second track, ‘The Chopping Block’ her soprano is clear and cutting, the melodic lines spinning and swirling around Park’s textures and Grillot’s rhythmic pulse. [Read the rest…]

Paul Acquaro (Free Jazz)

[More about this recording…] [All reviews…]

Also by Catherine Sikora and Han-earl Park

Catherine Sikora, Ian Smith and Han-earl Park: Sikora-Smith-Park (Cork, 04-04-11)

Sikora-Smith-Park (Cork, 04-04-11) [details…]

Performers: Catherine Sikora (saxophone), Ian Smith (trumpet) and Han-earl Park (guitar).

(cc) 2012 Catherine Sikora/Ian Smith/Han-earl Park.

Bird is the Worm: Work Spaces

Han-earl Park’s work space, Brooklyn
As Dave Sumner describes it, Work Spaces is “a series of photos of artist work spaces… the places where the creative process takes shape and form,” and in this edition features:

Han-earl Park work space in his Kensington, Brooklyn apartment. According to Park, it is also where Gisel the cat performs her role as music critic. [More…]

Also featured as part of Work Spaces is Catherine Sikora, Ian Smith and Han-earl Park’s download album which Sumner previously reviewed, and on this occasion describes as “improvised music, straight from the heart”. [More about this recording…] [All reviews…]

Also available for download [more…]

Paul Dunmall, Han-earl Park and Mark Sanders: Dunmall-Park-Sanders (Birmingham, 02-15-11)

Dunmall-Park-Sanders (Birmingham, 02-15-11) [details…]

Performers: Paul Dunmall (saxophones and bagpipes), Han-earl Park (guitar) and Mark Sanders (drums).

(cc) 2013 Paul Dunmall/Han-earl Park/Mark Sanders.

Murray Campbell, Randy McKean with Han-earl Park, plus Gino Robair and Scott R. Looney: Gargantius Effect +1 +2 +3 (Nor Cal, 08-2011)

Gargantius Effect +1 +2 +3 (Nor Cal, 08-2011) [details…]

Performers: Murray Campbell (violins, oboe and cor anglais), Randy McKean (saxophone, clarinets and flutes) with Han-earl Park (guitar), plus Gino Robair (energized surfaces, voltage made audible) and Scott R. Looney (hyperpiano).

(cc) 2012 Murray Campbell/Randy McKean/Han-earl Park/Gino Robair/Scott R. Looney.

Han-earl Park plus Marian Murray: Park+Murray (Cork, 07-29-10)

Park+Murray (Cork, 07-29-10) [details…]

Performers: Han-earl Park (guitar) plus Marian Murray (violin).

(cc) 2012 Han-earl Park/Marian Murray.

Jin Sangtae, Han-earl Park and Jeffrey Weeter: Jin-Park-Weeter (Cork, 01–24–11)

Jin-Park-Weeter (Cork, 01-24-11) [details…]

Performers: Jin Sangtae (electronics), Han-earl Park (guitar) and Jeffrey Weeter (drums and electronics).

(cc) 2012 Jin Sangtae/Han-earl Park/Jeffrey Weeter.

Han-earl Park and Franziska Schroeder: Park-Schroeder (Cork, 03-26-09)

Park-Schroeder (Cork, 03-26-09) [details…]

Performers: Han-earl Park (guitar) and Franziska Schroeder (saxophone).

(cc) 2012 Han-earl Park/Franziska Schroeder.

The Wire: Han-earl Park with Paul Dunmall and Mark Sanders, with Gargantius Effect, with Franziska Schroeder, and with Catherine Sikora and Ian Smith

The Wire (July 2013): Han-earl Park with Gargantius Effect, Paul Dunmall, Mark Sanders, Franziska Schroeder, Catherine Sikora and Ian Smith
I don’t expect my approach to real-time, interactive play and improvisative noise overlaps much with Richard Pinnell’s tastes, but Pinnell takes time to write a short overview of some of my download releases in the July issue of The Wire:

Four ‘name your price’ downloads from… guitarist Han-earl Park in various improv formations situated at the more traditional, loquaciously active end of the spectrum…. The sense of energy and joy in Park’s playing spills over into this flurry of online activity… fans of the talkative brand of improvised music will find something of value.

Traditional? Talkative? Vague? Relentless? Claustrophobic? What do you think?

Paul Dunmall, Han-earl Park and Mark Sanders: Dunmall-Park-Sanders (Birmingham, 02-15-11)

Recommended price: $8+

[More about this recording…] [All reviews…]

Murray Campbell, Randy McKean with Han-earl Park, plus Gino Robair and Scott R. Looney: Gargantius Effect +1 +2 +3 (Nor Cal, 08-2011)

Recommended price: $8+

[More about this recording…] [All reviews…]

Han-earl Park and Franziska Schroeder: Park-Schroeder (Cork, 03-26-09)

Recommended price: $5+

[More about this recording…] [All reviews…]

Catherine Sikora, Ian Smith and Han-earl Park: Sikora-Smith-Park (Cork, 04-04-11)

Recommended price: $8+

[More about this recording…] [All reviews…]

Also available for download [more…]

Han-earl Park plus Marian Murray: Park+Murray (Cork, 07-29-10)

Park+Murray (Cork, 07-29-10) [details…]

Performers: Han-earl Park (guitar) plus Marian Murray (violin).

(cc) 2012 Han-earl Park/Marian Murray.

Jin Sangtae, Han-earl Park and Jeffrey Weeter: Jin-Park-Weeter (Cork, 01–24–11)

Jin-Park-Weeter (Cork, 01-24-11) [details…]

Performers: Jin Sangtae (electronics), Han-earl Park (guitar) and Jeffrey Weeter (drums and electronics).

(cc) 2012 Jin Sangtae/Han-earl Park/Jeffrey Weeter.

New York City Jazz Record: Han-earl Park with Franziska Schroeder, and with Jin Sangtae and Jeffrey Weeter

“Beyond the realm good and evil is functionality—a magical place free from the parent culture’s wholly subjective ‘morality’ as well as the attendant behavioral modifications necessary to maintain that imaginary title. Music is no different—it blossoms when freed from tonal catechism. Tonally moral commodities (musicians and their products both) are hazed in the marketplace and ridiculed or ridiculously praised by armchair quarterbacks like myself in free publications such as the one you are reading now. We coexist with the former, we regift and forget about the latter.”
© 2013 The New York City Jazz Record (click to view PDF…)

Riffing on ‘morality,’ ‘heresy’ and music, Stanley Zappa, in the July issue of The New York City Jazz Record, reviews download releases by Han-earl Park with saxophonist, performer and theorist Franziska Schroeder; and with electronic artist Jin Sangtae, and drummer, composer and computer artist Jeffrey Weeter.

Han-earl Park and Franziska Schroeder: Park-Schroeder (Cork, 03-26-09)

Recommended price: $5+

[More about this recording…] [All reviews…]

About the the duo recording with Franziska Schroeder, Zappa writes:

Though short, percussive, hard-to-notate sounds dominate Han-earl Park’s sound, he does utilize the totality of the guitar’s sonorities—just not in the proportions demanded by the nostalgic (retrospective, reactionary, etc.) owners of major media. Towards the end of “Nova” on Cork 3-26-09, Park even plays chords with voices that lead. Franziska Schroeder’s… saxophone is an excellent counterpoint to Park’s electric guitar, mostly because her post-tonal sensibilities are conceived and executed so well. Very simply, contemporary improvisation has grown beyond the 12-note chromatic division of the octave. Buh bye! It is this extended tonal consciousness by which Schroeder achieves the elusive by keeping the narrative aspects to a minimum without regressing to that childish, abnegating HVAC morality holding hostage the imagination of so many wind and reed players in our improvising community. [Read the rest…]

Jin Sangtae, Han-earl Park and Jeffrey Weeter: Jin-Park-Weeter (Cork, 01–24–11)

Recommended price: $8+

[More info plus the 24-bit edition…] [All reviews…]

Meanwhile, citing the recording as an “equally, if not more convincing, aspect of Park’s musicality,” Zappa describes the ensemble with Jin Sangtae and Jeffrey Weeter as a context of:

…Minimal tonal or harmonic sticking points to derail the listening experience—an experience not to be missed by Park agnostics and believers alike. Jeffrey Weeter on percussion and Jin Sangtae on what are most likely hard drives in varying states of repair… could very well be the perfect counterpoint to Park’s active, strident departure from the last 100 years of the prevailing guitar morality.

Sangtae’s post-human sonic contribution makes Park’s departure seem less heretical…. Here is unanimity of method and likeness of function. Motility of gesture and dynamics of phrase are celebrated with sound, neither antiquated harmonic stricture nor pre-Civil-Rights-era tropes. There is a directness, a paucity of fluff, which, more than any other quality or attribute, is what separates jazz from music that emerged from and ultimately supplanted it as the ‘art music’ of our day. Sangtae deserves special mention for his vision (as does Park for including scripting him in to the group). While likely not the first to use the staccato grrrr of a hard drive for musical gesture, none have used it with as much imagination or in a setting as sympathetic as Cork 1-24-11. Sangtae’s contribution underscores the collective nature of improvisation and creates a feeling of want, where and when he is not present. Without question, Cork 1-24-11 is a conceptual and aural high-water mark few will ever reach. [Read the rest…]

All recordings released under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported Licenses. Please attribute the recordings to the respective performers. All recordings available as ‘name your price’ albums. Although you can download the recording for free (name $0 as your price) with certain restrictions, please consider paying at least the recommended price. Your generosity will help support the performers and their work.

Also available for download [more…]

Paul Dunmall, Han-earl Park and Mark Sanders: Dunmall-Park-Sanders (Birmingham, 02-15-11)

Dunmall-Park-Sanders (Birmingham, 02-15-11) [details…]

Performers: Paul Dunmall (saxophones and bagpipes), Han-earl Park (guitar) and Mark Sanders (drums).

(cc) 2013 Paul Dunmall/Han-earl Park/Mark Sanders.

Murray Campbell, Randy McKean with Han-earl Park, plus Gino Robair and Scott R. Looney: Gargantius Effect +1 +2 +3 (Nor Cal, 08-2011)

Gargantius Effect +1 +2 +3 (Nor Cal, 08-2011) [details…]

Performers: Murray Campbell (violins, oboe and cor anglais), Randy McKean (saxophone, clarinets and flutes) with Han-earl Park (guitar), plus Gino Robair (energized surfaces, voltage made audible) and Scott R. Looney (hyperpiano).

(cc) 2012 Murray Campbell/Randy McKean/Han-earl Park/Gino Robair/Scott R. Looney.

Han-earl Park plus Marian Murray: Park+Murray (Cork, 07-29-10)

Park+Murray (Cork, 07-29-10) [details…]

Performers: Han-earl Park (guitar) plus Marian Murray (violin).

(cc) 2012 Han-earl Park/Marian Murray.

Catherine Sikora, Ian Smith and Han-earl Park: Sikora-Smith-Park (Cork, 04-04-11)

Sikora-Smith-Park (Cork, 04-04-11) [details…]

Performers: Catherine Sikora (saxophone), Ian Smith (trumpet) and Han-earl Park (guitar).

(cc) 2012 Catherine Sikora/Ian Smith/Han-earl Park.