Collisions with concrete, of thousands of years of musical history, and keeping it “in their pants” (reviews: Eris 136199 and Sirene 1009)

A descent into the concrete? rafting over a boiling river? a collisions of thousands of years of musical history? music to communicate cyclists’ collisions? and who are the “bass/drum/guitar boys”, and do they “keep it in their pants”? Fascinating first set of reviews for the newly released Eris 136199 (BAF001) by Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora and Nick Didkovsky, and a review from earlier this year of Sirene 1009 (BAF000) by Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh.

Eris 136199

Writing in Jazz Right Now, Gabriel Jermaine Vanlandingham-Dunn discusses the music in the context of his recent accident:

At times guitarist Han-earl Park reminds me of what my bones and muscles would sound like if this speeding vehicle had in fact crushed or torn any of them (I do not have any broken bones, but I am still awaiting test results on my foot muscles). The sometimes slow, sometimes fast plucking and riffing literally makes me cringe today while writing this. My screaming at this speeding driver a split second before their vehicle crashed into the back of my bicycle might recall the blare of Catherine Sikora’s tenor sax throughout the album. I think of my repeating “WOAH, WOAH, WOAH” slowed down and amplified for full effect; loud enough that people heard the crash and my descent into the concrete of Nick Didkovsky’s improvised patterns. [Read the rest…]

An intense and honest review, Vanlandingham-Dunn concludes that, despite being “no place near a pretty listen”, the album has value in its ability to help personal experiences and histories: “‘Yo man, you ever been hit by a car?’ ‘Yeah, but maybe we should listen to this album I just picked up before I tell you about it.’”

In a more poetic, if no less personal, review, Massimo Ricci of Touching Extremes finds music that explores “avenues of acrid timbral contiguity. It’s still unconventional music, mostly with a strong skeleton”:

It’s a persistent burbling of memories and conjectures revealing decades of accumulated experiences and data, not fully untangled, with a definite explosive potential. At times a need arises to recapitulate a bit; the interplay becomes less loaded, the fingers caressing and cherry picking rather than snapping and ripping. Sikora is practically flawless in oscillating between the roles of moderator and source of linear alternatives. Her jargon is fluid, quasi-effortless, deprived of angst in spite of the occasional labyrinthine reiterations and squiggling restlessness. [Read the rest…]

Meanwhile, in the JazzTokyo review, Takeshi Goda imagines a project “based on the history of music on the earth for thousands of years”; a music of all-encompassing knowledge, and a music of deviations:

襤褸を纏った侍従に付き添われた茨の冠の王女のような三人の図は、中世の教会のステンドグラスにふさわしい。無名の小惑星の名前を持つトリオの演奏は、地球に存在しない未知の物質だけでできている訳ではなく、地球上の数千年の音楽史を源に持つ。名状不明な音響のスキマに、グレゴリオ聖歌、吟遊詩人の竪琴、ニューオリンズの葬送マーチ、バルトークの弦楽四重奏、大都会のストリート・ミュージシャンなど、あらゆる人類の演奏行為の断片を聴きとることが出来る。逸脱を極めれば極めるほど、古典や伝統への親和性が高くなる。それはまるで「光速に近づくと、時間の流れが遅くなる」という特殊相対性理論(Special Relativity Theory)のようだ。彼らが目指す先は、まだ誰も提唱していない「特殊逸脱性理論(Special Deviation Theory)」の確立なのかもしれない。[Read the rest…]

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

CD: €11 minimum (‘name your price’) plus shipping.*†
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CD photo: ‘Eris 136199’ (BAF001) by Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora and Nick Didkovsky (artwork and photo copyright 2018, Han-earl Park)CD photo: ‘Eris 136199’ (BAF001) by Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora and Nick Didkovsky (artwork and photo copyright 2018, Han-earl Park)CD photo: ‘Eris 136199’ (BAF001) by Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora and Nick Didkovsky (artwork and photo copyright 2018, Han-earl Park)CD photo: ‘Eris 136199’ (BAF001) by Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora and Nick Didkovsky (artwork and photo copyright 2018, Han-earl Park)CD photo: ‘Eris 136199’ (BAF001) by Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora and Nick Didkovsky (artwork and photo copyright 2018, Han-earl Park)

Sirene 1009

And finally, Stuart Marshall at The Sound Projector finds in Sirene 1009 a music free from “vocal histrionics” and “virtuoso runs/cacophonous jams” that lack “musical structure,” stating that “this awesome foursome, who know when to let rip and when to keep it in their pants”:

For further proof of the UK improv scene’s vitality look no further than Sirene 1009. Though not everyone is a household name (nor British), at least two of this four-piece are scene mainstays, and the whole squad sounds as at-home with each other as they are with the promiscuous goings in English jazz dens. The much frequented Cafe OTO is our virtual venue for most of this set, where visceral freeform unscrunches itself into being, sparked by Caroline Pugh’s tempestuous, syllable-timed glossolalia and billowed by flurries from the bass/drum/guitar boys, with lashings of warm vibrato throughout. [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’).‡

‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000) with Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh (artwork copyright 2017, Han-earl Park)‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000) with Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh (artwork copyright 2017, Han-earl Park)‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000) with Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh (artwork copyright 2017, Han-earl Park)‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000) with Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh (artwork copyright 2017, Han-earl Park)‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000) with Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh (artwork copyright 2017, Han-earl Park)‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000) with Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh (artwork copyright 2017, Han-earl Park)

Notes

* 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.

Culture Ireland logo

Sirene 1009’s London performance presented with funding from Culture Ireland, and support from SLAM Productions.

Best of 2017

‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000) with Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh (artwork copyright 2017, Han-earl Park)
© 2017 Han-earl Park

“These are the records we believe will stand the test of time from this year.” Honored and flattered to find Sirene 1009 in Jazz Right Now’s (and JRN @ JazzTokyo’s) best-of-2017 list, and to find my work in such amazing company. And, again, big thanks to John Morrison for the wonderful review:

Sometimes violent and revelatory listening experience that infuses modern aesthetics with the spirit of the ancient…. Ancient and primordial with ideas as open as the night sky, it is not hard to imagine that some of humanity’s first music would have sounded something like this. [Read the rest…]

Sirene 1009 also makes it to both Dave Foxall’s Jazz Journal and a Jazz Noise end-of-year lists:

Sirene 1009 don’t so much push the envelope of improvisation as tear it into small pieces and eat them, just to spite any listener preconceptions…. Sirene 1009 may just be the auditory experience that [Derek] Bailey’s label [‘non-idiomatic improvisation’] has been waiting for. [Read the rest…]

Elsewhere, Sirene 1009 makes David Menestres’ top 10 at Free Jazz Blog, Lee Rice Epstein’s list at El Intruso, and Dave Sumner’s at Bird is the Worm.

Big thanks to John Morrison and Cisco Bradley of Jazz Right Now, Takeshi Goda of JazzTokyo, to Dave Foxall of Jazz Journal and a Jazz Noise, to David Menestres and Paul Acquaro at Free Jazz Blog, to Lee Rice Epstein, and to Dave Sumner for all their support during 2017!

[About this recording…] [Bandcamp page (order CD/download)…] [All reviews…]

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

‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000) with Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh (artwork copyright 2017, Han-earl Park)‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000) with Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh (artwork copyright 2017, Han-earl Park)‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000) with Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh (artwork copyright 2017, Han-earl Park)‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000) with Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh (artwork copyright 2017, Han-earl Park)‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000) with Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh (artwork copyright 2017, Han-earl Park)‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000) with Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh (artwork copyright 2017, Han-earl Park)

* Limited edition glass-mastered CD. CD includes additional material (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.

Culture Ireland logo

London performance presented with funding from Culture Ireland, and support from SLAM Productions.

into the unknown (reviews: Sirene 1009)

‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000) with Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh (artwork copyright 2017, Han-earl Park)
© 2017 Han-earl Park

Animals? minerals? and monsters? The first review of ‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000), the CD/digital download album by Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh comes from Takeshi Goda, writing in JazzTokyo, who describes a dynamic ensemble:

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…]

— 剛田 武 Takeshi Goda (JazzTokyo)

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…]

— David Menestres (Free Jazz)

Menestres also described Kuramoto Synchronization, the free bonus album that comes with pre-orders of ‘Sirene 1009,’ as “an exquisite exploration of space, time, nightmares, and dreamscapes.”

Elsewhere, A Closer Listen writes that “Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh make quite a racket on Sirene 1009, tossing clatter and gentle obscenities all around the playroom….” Finally, although it’s not even released yet, ‘Sirene 1009’ still manages to get on Avant Music News’ 2016 Runners-Up list (Mike Borella, thanks for listening!).

[About this recording…] [Bandcamp page (order CD/download)…] [All reviews…]

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

‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000) with Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh (artwork copyright 2017, Han-earl Park)‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000) with Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh (artwork copyright 2017, Han-earl Park)‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000) with Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh (artwork copyright 2017, Han-earl Park)‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000) with Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh (artwork copyright 2017, Han-earl Park)‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000) with Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh (artwork copyright 2017, Han-earl Park)‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000) with Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh (artwork copyright 2017, Han-earl Park)

* Limited edition glass-mastered CD. CD includes additional material (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.

Culture Ireland logo

London performance presented with funding from Culture Ireland, and support from 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.

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.