[Han-earl] Park is one of those scary polymath guys who seems to have a tremendous facility for music, both improvising and composing it, and he has played in many groups and at many festivals, appearing around the globe in seemingly ubiquitous fashion. Scariest of all is his intense and speedy guitar technique, which on parts of this album presents a rush of tangled information that would require a bank of dedicated computers to solve it…. Never too “glib” in his phrasing and throws in multiple fishhooks and other barbs to snag our ears, otherwise we might be tempted to switch off in the face of his effortless glides and spiky dense riffs. It’s also good to find him in this duo set-up where the detail of his playing can be more clearly heard than in Mathilde 253. The Englishman Barrett is also a composer, like Park sometimes situated in an academic and teaching context, and is no stranger to using electronics in the live situation having formed the FURT duo with Paul Obermayer as long ago as 1986…. Regardless of whatever intricate and dazzling shapes are thrown at him like crystal spears by his sparring partner, he responds in kind with impossibly twisted gurgles, shrieks and salivated electronic utterances. Throughout album, a lively and sizzling session of fierce interplay is staged between these two boxing kangaroos, with sqwawks and yelps a-plenty as another blow is landed on the respective muzzle or snout. The striking thing is that neither player appears to be breaking into a sweat at any time, and I have the abiding mental image of two unfazed chess players sitting in a deep-freeze unit, weaving complex theorems while remaining almost immobile in large leather armchairs. The music has that degree of rigid control, of brittle precision, even when the structure appears at its maddest and the musical data is flying wildly beyond the point of interpretation. The value of this music as a form of invented language is emphasised by the odd titles, ‘tolur’, ‘tricav’, ‘ankpla’, ‘uettet’… as if counting upwards in Venusian. [Read the rest…]
Numbers is a complex melange of retro/futurist synth sounds, glitch electronica, guitar-sourced whammy-bar pitch-bending and hard-scrabble picking over bridge and pickups: a volatile stream of fractal note-data and complex electro-acoustics, all slippery switchbacks and other such abrupt transitions.
This makes for kaleidoscopic music, a rubato flux of superimposed noises in which lightning-fast progression from one galvanising sound event (noise thru silence) to another, and the musicians’ constant attention to overall form, carry far more weight than developmental foresightedness or melodic thrust: it’s music of the moment, a process of constantly tweaked evolutionary recombination.
The duo are tenacious in their work of sonic abiogenesis, and the six Numbers pieces are all longish…. The sound events comprised by tracks like “Ankpla” and “Uettet” are as disjointed as they are contiguous, but the overriding sense impression is that each whole flows nicely, and the album as a whole rewardingly absorbs attention. [Read the rest…]
Le gargarisme est convaincant. D’un côté les electronics de Richard Barrett, de l’autre la guitare d’Han-Earl Park. Tous deux grouillent et cisaillent les volumes, réactivent la matière folle, rendent la télégraphie à sa fonction première : transmettre (Tolur). Leur improvisation en miroir engorge leur transe succube, fait déborder le vase, bouche la robinetterie (Tricav).
Parfois, au milieu des monstres soniques qu’ils viennent de créer, émerge une guitare façon Bailey (Ankpla). Mais rarement rassasiés (Uettet pour me faire mentir), les voici rassurant leur nervosité naturelle en un final aux brûlures fatales (II……). Le gargarisme est convaincant. Le vertige, tout autant.
Death of an Accountant? In his review at Chain D.L.K. of Richard Barrett and Han-earl Park’s ‘Numbers’ (CS 201 cd), Vito Camarretta imagines an unfortunate scenario for an “accountant, a computer expert or an operational researcher”, and describes an “acoustic lucid computational delirium, whose trajectory is impossible to outguess”:
You can easily imagine an accountant, a computer expert or an operational researcher in the act of falling prey of frightening hallucinations after a session of intensive work on numerical models, impressive balance sheets or other number-covered screed and their colossal equations or string while getting turned into ominous entities which paralyze their own maker in order to obsess, harass and torture him till death while listening to this amazing and fuzzy release by Welsh electronic musician and performer Richard Barrett (some well-trained listeners could know his collaborative project FURT with Paul Obermayer as well as his work within the Elision Ensemble) and guitarist, improviser and very talented performer Han-Earl Park. By means of an intricate web of sonic hiccups, scrapes, scouring, gluts, gargles and cuts, they build an acoustic lucid computational delirium, whose trajectory is impossible to outguess.
Bazillions of events… for the joy of individuals who take pleasure in getting their brain zapped and scrambled by the rivalry between transonic beauty and extreme structural atomization. This is in fact a full hour of frantically jagged live improvisation…. [More…]
Kaleidoscopic music, a rubato flux of superimposed noises in which lightning-fast progression from one galvanising sound event (noise thru silence) to another, and the musicians’ constant attention to overall form… it’s music of the moment, a process of constantly tweaked evolutionary recombination. [More…]
Numbers is a high-energy, quick-footed, scatter-brained two hander—a looping, convoluted, interactive dance made audible—a musical fender bender involving electroacoustic complexities and (physio)logical splutter-cuts, jump-cuts and match-cuts—an intense white-knuckle extemporization unit—the duo of composer, performer and electronic musician Richard Barrett and guitarist, improviser and constructor Han-earl Park.
Celebrated for his dense, complex, intricate music, Richard Barrett is perhaps best known for his work with Paul Obermayer as part of FURT, as part of the Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, and his close collaborations with the Elision Ensemble. At home in both composition and improvisation, Barrett’s music increasingly problematizes the distinction between them. Described by Brian Morton as “a musical philosopher… a delightful shape-shifter”, Han-earl Park is drawn to real-time cyborg configurations in which artifacts and bodies collide. He has performed with some of the finest practitioners of improvised music, and is part of Mathilde 253 with Charles Hayward and Ian Smith. First performing together as duo in at AUXXX, Berlin, October 2010, Barrett and Park engage in a continuing improvisative conversation; alternately claiming autonomy and independence, and group action and solidarity.
Richard Barrett (www.richardbarrettmusic.com) is internationally active as both composer and improvising performer, and has collaborated with many leading performers in both areas, while developing works and ideas which increasingly leave behind the distinctions between them. His long-term collaborations include the electronic duo FURT which he formed with Paul Obermayer in 1986 (and its more recent octet version fORCH), composing for and performing with the Elision contemporary music group since 1990, and regular appearances with the Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble since 2003. Recent projects include “CONSTRUCTION”, a two-hour work for twenty performers and three-dimensional sound system, premiered by Elision in November 2011. He is based in Berlin and currently teaches at the Institute of Sonology in The Hague. His work as composer and performer is documented on over 20 CDs, including five discs devoted to his compositions and seven by FURT.
Improviser, guitarist and constructor Han-earl Park (www.busterandfriends.com) works within/from/around traditions of fuzzily idiomatic, on occasion experimental, mostly open improvised musics, sometimes engineering theater, sometimes inventing ritual. He feels the gravitational pull of collaborative, multi-authored contexts, and has performed in clubs, theaters, art galleries and concert halls in Austria, Denmark, Germany, England, Ireland, The Netherlands, Scotland and the USA.
He is part of Mathilde 253 with Charles Hayward and Ian Smith, and is involved in ongoing collaborations with Bruce Coates, Franziska Schroeder, Alex Fiennes and Murray Campbell. He has recently performed with Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith, Lol Coxhill, Pat Thomas, Paul Dunmall, Mark Sanders, Matana Roberts, Richard Barrett, Pauline Oliveros, Thomas Buckner and Kato Hideki. Festival appearances include Sonorities (Belfast), Sonic Acts (Amsterdam), dialogues festival (Edinburgh), and CEAIT Festival (California). His recordings have been released by labels including Slam Productions and DUNS Limited Edition.