The unknowability of connection, and a little science fiction (Free Jazz: Sunday Interview)

Violence and cruelty? Fantastical, twisted, dark, deeply affectionate humanism? Improvisation as embodiment and personification? Place, subjectivity and interiority? As part of the Free Jazz: Sunday Interview, in response to a question about the joy in improvised music, I talk about the “ambiguity of action and reaction; the unknowability of connection”, and that:

The pleasure of play is when trust is a choice, and we choose to trust. When we don’t take each other for granted. When we are fully cognizant of the potential for violence and cruelty, but we choose to take compassion, affinity, consent, desire and agency seriously.

What quality do you most admire in the musicians you perform with?

It’s not one thing for me. It’s never one thing. What you bring to the stage is your humanity—messy, beautiful, dysfunctional, joyous, contradictory, mutable, stubborn, insecure, fractious, but also empathetic and compassionate.

Each musician is different, and each group is different. It’s good, I think, to be sensitive to who the group is, and what the group could be; to be open to what is possible, but cognizant of the differences and inequalities that exist in any ensemble. [Read the rest…]

By the way, I responded to the question, “if you could resurrect a musician to perform with, who would it be?” by saying that “I could only answer that with a cautionary piece of science fiction.” Here’s my draft sci-fi answer that I did not, in the end, hand in to Paul Acquaro, editor at Free Jazz:

An answer by way of a cautionary story:

The noise was unbearable, the light, harsh, blinding. And then.

The machine went silent, dark. The arcs of electricity now only a vague echo of persistent vision. The only sign that there had been unnatural activity was the ozone in the air. As my eyes slowly adjusted, I could make out the bewigged corpse—pale, contorted—but undead presently on the table.

And so now the doubts: What would the masses of the cultured think of their celebrated composer reanimated? Would, as I had hoped in exhuming their idol, they—the patriarchal, white-supremacist colonialists—(re)examine their dreams and pleasures? Would they recognize the violent scaffolding around which they, and their institutions, erected European Liberalism? Or would the Culture Machine masticate these truths, and come to admire their Zombified Idol as a Strongman-Savior in this Post-Truth condition (a Wolfgang Frickin’ Trump)?

Should I have reanimated instead some marginalized or minoritized artist? One who had been forgotten, perhaps, exoticized or tokenized, or footnoted in our Introduction To Music textbook? What would I tell them as they woke to The World 2.0? What would they see? What would the Culture-Industrial Complex of Western Modernity do to that undead being? How would that Complex (re)rationalize the artist’s story and their existence and their purpose?

If you’d like to know more about my concerns about the role of narrative and narrative form in improvisation, or my interest in shifting improvisative play towards a kind of acting, please read the rest of the interview.

‘Precipitate’ (#lockdownminiature Nº 15)

What is distance?
What is perspective?
What is that gaze?
What is that absence? [Read the rest…]

If you’ve missed them, the previous fourteen miniatures in the series were posted on Facebook and on Twitter.

Out on NEWJAiM Recordings

cover art (copyright 2021 NEWJAiM)

Of Life, Recombinant (NEWJAiM9) [details…]

Personnel: Han-earl Park (guitar) with Anne Wellmer (voice on track 4).

Track listing: Game: Mutation (5:38); Naught Opportune (≥ 10:42); Are Variant (≥ 8:06); Of Life, Recombinant (≥ 29:22). Total duration ≥ 53:48.

© 2021 NEWJAiM Recordings.
℗ 2021 Han-earl Park.

Beauty into dread-inducing dreamscapes and the detritus of a creative life

A new galaxy in Park’s universe? David Lynch vs. Andrei Tarkovsky? And what’s hidden that will be unearthed? Lee Rice Epstein reviews Of Life, Recombinant (NEWJAiM9) in Free Jazz:

Of Life, Recombinant tells multiple stories at once, opening up a wide aperture and displaying stunningly drawn vistas. The four-song suite makes for a fantastic headphone album, as small details invite your attention ever more deeply throughout…. The fugue-like state is but one-layer of Park’s suite. As they progress, ‘Game: Mutation,’ ‘Naught Opportune,’ ‘Are Variant,’ and the 30-minute ‘Of Life, Recombinant’ continually pitch one direction, pivot on multiple axes, and branch out in new directions. That’s true as much for the sonics—with pre-recorded material mixed and matched over itself—as it is for the emotional throughlines, in some cases leading listeners down long corridors of chilly anticipation, in others playing up the subtle intimacy of quiet tones…. And unmistakably, Park’s guitar is itself a treasure chest of delights—long, thrilling sections of beauty fold into chilly, dread-inducing dreamscapes, each of which will enchant and delight in equal measure. [Read the rest…]

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

Creative Dead Ends in Music

Elsewhere, J. Vognsen, writing in Perfect Sound Forever, asked composers and performers (including myself) for our thoughts on failure in the context of creative work: “Why does some music end up not in the ears of listeners but in the dustbin, or perhaps never leaving the mind of the creator in the first place?”

Every piece I do leaves behind detritus of a creative life: abandoned exercises, studies, mockups, etcetera. A lot of my time and energy as a performer, specifically as an improviser, is spent in preparation; off-stage, in practice and in study. Testing things out, sometimes speculatively, sometimes with a particular goal in mind, sometimes creating studies to more clearly define a problem or problematic; these exercises and studies can help me hone in on a particular technique or strategy, they can help me discover better ways of getting from A-to-B….

But sometimes the creative detritus can be unplanned and have a greater impact—a greater impact on energy expended, on time and effort. [Read the rest…]

The piece is very much worth reading. In particular, I enjoyed reading, and really related to, Carla Kihlstedt’s take (“my creative failures… fall into three basic categories: The Hollow, The Half-baked and The Missed Marks”), and Nick Didkovsky’s telling of The CHORD Origin Story is a total blast.

If you enjoyed that piece, please also check out some of my recent written work including ‘Broken Families: Collectivism, Violence, Imagined Utopias and Improvisation,’ and my reflections on working through times of uncertainty, anxiety, and of doubt.

Poetic, messy, terrifying and mesmerizing (article in Jazz Right Now)

As part of the ‘New Work’ series, Jazz Right Now has published my piece on work(ing) during these pandemic times; times of “uncertainty, anxiety, and of doubt.” In the article, I reflect on the perverse desire for artistic ‘productivity’; the breaches between public and private spaces; the artistic commemoration this time, this condition; and the need for creative work that frustrates:

The rogue strand of RNA danced its dance with humanity. It’s beautiful in its own way. Poetic—messy, terrifying, mesmerizing—in its own way.

R-nought.

New words and expressions entered the vernacular. Old words came to denote less—more specific things—but encapsulate and carry more meaning: of fear, uncertainty, yes, but also fascination. We’re being transformed, across porous borders, through language. Soon, those of us who lived through this, might share these as shorthands. ‘Variant’ means something. It has a texture and resonance and feel and vibe that can’t be captured by a Merriam-Webster.

I reflect on how pre-pandemic cultures (and culture-industrial complexes), with its obsession with authority and coherence and narrative, ill prepared us for the complexity and discord and messiness of the present. That maybe if we had held closer these prickly, uncomfortable, inconvenient, noisy heterophonies we, as societies, may have been more capable of facing the chaos, or dancing the dance of humanity v. RNA. [Read the rest…]

Thanks to Cisco Bradley for inviting me to contribute to this series, and thanks so much to Cristina Marx for the photography.

Watch the rest of the #lockdownminiature series on Twitter and Facebook.

Out now on NEWJAiM Recordings

cover art (copyright 2021 NEWJAiM)

Of Life, Recombinant (NEWJAiM9) [details…]

Personnel: Han-earl Park (guitar) with Anne Wellmer (voice on track 4).

Track listing: Game: Mutation (5:38); Naught Opportune (≥ 10:42); Are Variant (≥ 8:06); Of Life, Recombinant (≥ 29:22). Total duration ≥ 53:48.

© 2021 NEWJAiM Recordings.
℗ 2021 Han-earl Park.

Broken Families: Collectivism, Violence, Imagined Utopias and Improvisation (article in The Sampler)

‘Broken Families,’ The Sampler (screenshot)
© 2022 The Sampler

The Sampler has just published ‘Broken Families: Collectivism, Violence, Imagined Utopias and Improvisation,’ my piece about the possibilities of improvisation—sometimes profound, radical and creative, sometimes regressive, hegemonic and abusive—about trust, consent and power, and how the denial of violence may itself be damaging to the project of building better communities and practices:

These are stories about failures. Failures of imagination, of peoples and groups, of how lofty goals can be deceptions. And those deceptions can be limiting, and affect violence. I want to move to a point where we can discuss, critically, both the utopian promises of the practices, processes, tribes and communities surrounding improvisation, and their destructive and violent potentials.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the above stories of improvisation-in-crisis are from events with self-professed lofty goals…. I think, in both cases, those of us involved took community, solidarity, resilience, trust and empathy for granted. It’s not just that the groundwork of trust and safety was never established for the group (although that’s part of it), but that we lazily subscribed to the dogma that the nature of improvisation would itself somehow save us. [Read the rest…]

Thanks to Laonikos Psimikakis-Chalkokondylis at The Sampler for asking me to write the piece. In writing this piece I’m indebted to exchanges and conversations with several improvisers. Big thanks, in particular, to Caroline Kraabel, Corey Mwamba, and Lauren Sarah Hayes.

Lumbering 30 kilogram box of wood, metal, glass, paper, fabric, plastic and 1960s over-engineering

‘Ephiphanies’, The Wire
© 2021 The Wire

In case you missed it, I wrote a short piece for the June edition of The Wire (issue 448) in which I muse about speaker cabinets, cyborgs, simulations, rooms-within-rooms, and the superstitions surrounding, and genre markers of ‘tone’:

All instrument-instrumentalists are cyborg creatures in which musical gestures and behaviours emerge from the collision of minds, bodies and artifacts; of physics, physiology, technology and culture. One peculiarity in the case of the amplified instrument-instrumentalist is the particular way this cyborg is exploded in space, spilling its components and organs across the stage. The guitar-guitarist may sit on one side of the stage, while the amp sits some distance away. It’s freakish, as if, say, a violin’s soundbox had severed itself from the rest of the instrument and crawled across the stage.

The speaker cabinet plays a curious part in this cyborg dance. The cabinet is both the sounding part of the instrument, an externalized soundbox removed from the tactile interface of the instrument, while also functioning as a room within the room. Every speaker cabinet has a particular signature, a particular character, and the particular room that the cabinet will live in for the performance, likewise, has a particular character that interacts with it (which will itself change when filled with an audience).

You can read the rest in the June issue of The Wire.

Recordings Discussed

cover art (copyright 2020 Han-earl Park)

Peculiar Velocities (BAF002) [details…]

Personnel: Han-earl Park (guitar), Catherine Sikora (saxophone) and Nick Didkovsky (guitar).

Track listing: Ballad of Tensegrity I (≥ 5:12), Ballad of Tensegrity II (2:28), Peculiar Velocities I (3:46), Peculiar Velocities II (3:36), Sleeping Dragon (5:22), D-Loop I (≥ 6:16), D-Loop II (5:13), Polytely I (≥ 5:01), Polytely II: Breakdown (5:33), Anagnorisis I (2:09), Anagnorisis II (2:19). Total duration ≥ 46:54.

© + ℗ 2020 Han-earl Park.

Cover of ‘Eris 136199’ (BAF001) by Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora and Nick Didkovsky (artwork copyright 2018, Han-earl Park)

Eris 136199 (BAF001) [details…]

Personnel: Han-earl Park (guitar), Catherine Sikora (saxophone) and Nick Didkovsky (guitar).

Track listing: Therianthropy I (≥ 3:43), Therianthropy II (8:56), Therianthropy III (3:55), Therianthropy IV (6:30), Adaptive Radiation I (6:44), Adaptive Radiation II (8:48), Adaptive Radiation III (5:54), Universal Greebly (10:58), Hypnagogia I (8:03), Hypnagogia II (4:45). Total duration ≥ 68:25.

© + ℗ 2018 Han-earl Park.

Noisy. Discordant. Melodious. A succession of collisions. (IMC Artist Q&A with Han-earl Park)

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

Predilections, appetites, egos, histories and traditions? Can choices be apt to the point of prescient, or left-field to the point of inappropriate? What do I hope audiences get from my music? Does Jeff VanderMeer make another appearance in one of my interviews? and do I reveal myself a Marxist? Find out in Other Side Of The Tracks: Artist Q&A with Han-Earl Park, Eris 136199:

How would you describe the type of music that Eris 136199 creates?

Noisy. Discordant. Melodious. Pretty in its own not alway predictable way. And by discordant, I don’t mean in terms of harmonic intervals, but in terms of on-stage, real-time musical interactions; in terms of a kind of heterogeneity of idiom and tradition. For me, Eris’ is a music that doesn’t desire to create, necessarily, a synthesis or a coherence or even an agreement, but one which trusts, and takes pleasure, in interaction itself. It’s a music that’s, in a way, compromised, or a music which is a succession of collisions—of idioms, of traditions, of histories, of desires, of tactics. But the music creates a situation that is, in its own way, beautiful. [Read the rest…]

Many thanks to Caitriona O’Mahony at the Improvised Music Company for the questions.

Monday, August 12, 2019, at 8:00pm: Improvised Music Company in association with Note Productions presents Eris 136199 (Han-earl Park: guitar; Catherine Sikora: saxophones; and Nick Didkovsky: guitar). The event takes place at The Fumbally Stables (Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8). [Get tickets…]

Eris 136199 is also performing…

August 8: London, England; and August 11: Lisbon, Portugal. [Details…]

By Eris 136199

Cover of ‘Eris 136199’ (BAF001) by Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora and Nick Didkovsky (artwork copyright 2018, Han-earl Park)

Eris 136199 (BAF001) [details…]

Personnel: Han-earl Park (guitar), Catherine Sikora (saxophone) and Nick Didkovsky (guitar).

Track listing: Therianthropy I (≥ 3:43), Therianthropy II (8:56), Therianthropy III (3:55), Therianthropy IV (6:30), Adaptive Radiation I (6:44), Adaptive Radiation II (8:48), Adaptive Radiation III (5:54), Universal Greebly (10:58), Hypnagogia I (8:03), Hypnagogia II (4:45). Total duration ≥ 68:25.

© + ℗ 2018 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…]

Personnel: Han-earl Park (guitar), Catherine Sikora (tenor and soprano saxophones), Nick Didkovsky (guitar; tracks 1 and 5), and Josh Sinton (baritone saxophone and bass clarinet; tracks 2–4).

Track listing: Monopod (27:19), Pleonasm (Metis 9) (17:08), Flying Rods (Metis 9) (7:41), Hydraphon (7:34), StopCock (10:54). Total duration: 70:33.

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

Documentation: io 0.0.1 beta++, the musical automaton and machine improviser

Franziska Schroeder and io 0.0.1 beta++ (Ó Riada Hall, Cork, May 25, 2010)
Franziska Schroeder and io 0.0.1 beta++ (Ó Riada Hall, Cork, May 25, 2010). Photo © 2010 Han-earl Park.

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.

[Read the rest…]

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.

By Han-earl Park, Bruce Coates and Franziska Schroeder

‘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.

Best of 2018

Boiling down 2018 to this list involved many very difficult decisions. We stand by all of the records on this list and think they will stand the test of time.” [Read the rest…]

I am deeply honored to again find one of my recordings (this year it’s Eris 136199) in the wonderful company that is Jazz Right Now’s end-of-year list (also published at JazzTokyo). Did I say wonderful company? I am also very happy to see my personal favorite record of the year making Jazz Right Now’s #2!

Thank you so much, Cisco and everyone at Jazz Right Now! And a special thanks to Gabriel Jermaine Vanlandingham-Dunn who wrote that honest, most unique of reviews:

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…]

In a Jazz Noise’s end-of-year top-ten, Dave Foxall describes Eris 136199 as:

Exquisitely constructed, spontaneously messed-up, endless depth, kind of like letting an insane brain surgeon in through your ear. [Read the rest…]

I’m very proud of the noise/music that is Eris 136199, and I am very proud to find it listed among such stupendously noisy music. Thanks also to a Jazz Noise for their amazing support of our work (in case you missed it, please have a read of the interviews with Nick, Catherine and me that were published in the run-up to the album release).

Elsewhere, Eris 136199 makes Avant Music News’ Honorable Mentions, and Lee Rice Epstein’ top 10 at Free Jazz Blog.

Big thanks again to Cisco Bradley, Jermaine Vanlandingham-Dunn and everyone at Jazz Right Now, Takeshi Goda at JazzTokyo, to Dave Foxall at a Jazz Noise, to Lee Rice Epstein and Paul Acquaro at Free Jazz Blog, and to Mike Borella of Avant Music News for their continued support!

[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’ (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)

* 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.

100% perishable skills and shrieks of crustaceans (a Jazz Noise: 7 Questions)

Mathy grindcore? tubular gates? shrieks of crustaceans? 100% perishable skills? guitars burning-up on reentry? what do Special Forces snipers and saxophonists have in common? and what is The Shitty Gig Foundation? In the run-up to the launch Eris 136199’s new album, a Jazz Noise has been running a special series of 7 Questions with each member of the trio, plus it is hosting an exclusive preview of the Adaptive Radiation suite.

When asked about the balance of preparation vs. improvisation in her work, Catherine Sikora says:

It’s all about the preparation, for me! The saxophone is such a demanding instrument that if I am not totally prepared, in good shape to physically manage the instrument, then the improvisation will be negatively affected. The act of merely producing a good tone requires daily work, there is no escape, and I love that about the instrument. Practice is what I do every day, regardless of whatever else is happening, because the skill of playing is 100% perishable. The more prepared I am for a performance, the more freedom I have to execute my ideas. [Read the rest…]

On the same topic, Nick Didkovsky says:

With Eris 136199 we just set up and play (that’s my impression anyway, maybe I am overlooking some secret preparation rituals!). It really feels like everyone’s been sort of preparing for years before every performance. When we play I feel like we are being dropped back into a continuum that has been periodically interrupted. We really don’t discuss much ahead of time other than the notion that the silent shrieks of crustaceans may be ensconced in shrimp crackers and are released when you bite them. [Read the rest…]

I get the honor of stepping over the 7 Questions border when I get to expand upon how Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy affected Sirene 1009:

Aspects of VanderMeer’s writing compelled me to push the Sirene 1009 mix away from the vérité that is the vernacular of recorded free improvisation….

The solution [to issues with mixing the recording] turned out to be to ratchet up the artifice of the recording…. The differences and transitions are, hopefully, subtle enough that the listener are not consciously jolted out of the moment, but it weaves an extra narrative. Like VanderMeer’s manipulations in writing craft, genre, etc., I was working to accentuate, through the mixing process, the improvisative journey taken by the ensemble in performance-time. [Read the rest…]

Big thanks to Dave Foxall of a Jazz Noise for championing the trio’s thoughts, words and music.

exclusive: Adaptive Radiation I, II and III

Finally, there a very special, exclusive preview of the Adaptive Radiation suite hosted at a Jazz Noise. Have a listen; you won’t find it anywhere else! [Listen…]

By Eris 136199

Cover of ‘Eris 136199’ (BAF001) by Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora and Nick Didkovsky (artwork copyright 2018, Han-earl Park)

Eris 136199 (BAF001) [details…]

Personnel: Han-earl Park (guitar), Catherine Sikora (saxophone) and Nick Didkovsky (guitar).

Track listing: Therianthropy I (≥ 3:43), Therianthropy II (8:56), Therianthropy III (3:55), Therianthropy IV (6:30), Adaptive Radiation I (6:44), Adaptive Radiation II (8:48), Adaptive Radiation III (5:54), Universal Greebly (10:58), Hypnagogia I (8:03), Hypnagogia II (4:45). Total duration ≥ 68:25.

© + ℗ 2018 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…]

Personnel: Han-earl Park (guitar), Catherine Sikora (tenor and soprano saxophones), Nick Didkovsky (guitar; tracks 1 and 5), and Josh Sinton (baritone saxophone and bass clarinet; tracks 2–4).

Track listing: Monopod (27:19), Pleonasm (Metis 9) (17:08), Flying Rods (Metis 9) (7:41), Hydraphon (7:34), StopCock (10:54). Total duration: 70:33.

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

By Sirene 1009

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

Sirene 1009 (BAF000) [details…]

Personnel: Han-earl Park (guitar), Dominic Lash (double bass), Mark Sanders (drums) and Caroline Pugh (voice and tape recorder).

Track listing: Psychohistory III (≥9:47), Cliodynamics I (10:44), Cliodynamics II (12:22), Cliodynamics III (5:11), Hopeful Monsters (9:41), Psychohistory V (≥10:40). Total duration ≥58:25.

© + ℗ 2017 Han-earl Park.

improvisation, animation, sociality, tradition and politics (a Jazz Noise: 7 Questions)

Want to know what and who I’ve been listening to? or what I’ve got planned (hint: see video above)? read my take on the late-capitalist (spotified, airbnbified, uberized) bootleg economy? or how about my non-musical influences:

Politics.

Even in these so-called cynical times I find politics (in, for example, the interactions between basement-level activism, and the, to quote Zappa, ‘entertainment division of the military-industrial complex’; in the friction between good, sometimes great, journalism, and the for-profit-lubricated popularity-contest we call publishing) inspiring.

Other things…?

Animators whose subject matter are things like movement, weight, physics, physiology, intent, volition, presence, personality, empathy, when their materials, in many respects, are working against those expressions. It helps to remind those of us who work in practices where it is too easy to take those same things—movement, weight, physics, physiology, etc.—for granted because they are so effortlessly part of the form. [Read the rest…]

Over at a Jazz Noise, you can read my answers to Dave Foxall’s 7 Questions such as my take on collaboration or what I seek in collaborators:

Imagination, skill and reliability. In that order.

Probably.

Someone who has a levelheaded understanding (consciously or not) of their niche within the transnational improvised music ecology….

I gravitate towards improvisers who are always prepared for that which is, in a way, unforeseeable.

Also people who can patch the holes and weaknesses in my musical skill-set. So, thinking about those three-quarters of Sirene 1009, I think: Dom Lash’s assured, steady-handed control of his technique and sound-making; Mark Sanders’ range, seemingly boundless imagination, ability anticipate anything and everything, and ability to make sense musically regardless of what surrounds him; and Caroline Pugh’s handle and knowledge of genre, and how she seemingly can just jump in regardless of context. I think the various ways we move—our bodies and their relationship with the instruments, say—complement each other.

(I’ve said this before, but getting a group together is a kind of composition.) [Read the rest…]

Plus, the “opening track [from ‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000)]—Psychohistory III (very Asimov!)—[is] exclusively available to a Jazz Noise readers (hear it here and nowhere else, folks) for this interview.” [Listen/read the rest…].

selected discography

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

Sirene 1009 (BAF000) [details…]

Personnel: Han-earl Park (guitar), Dominic Lash (double bass), Mark Sanders (drums) and Caroline Pugh (voice and tape recorder).

© + ℗ 2017 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.

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.