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:
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.
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.
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…].
But the thing that’s tugging at me right now is the possibilities of the score in the context of improvisative performance. Ideas, some specific, some nebulous, all as yet untested about what might be possible…
I’m not sure at all where this is leading, but having through some combination of ideology and necessity (ain’t it always the way?) found myself somewhat involuntarily in the ‘Total Improvisation’ camp, I’m beginning to look on the other side of the fence. Let me be clear, the, to borrow Lewis’ term, Eurological conception of the score and the practice that surrounds it (theorized in detail by Small, Cusick, Nicholas Cook and others), with its limited models of control and dogma of reproducibility, and naive notions of aesthetics, does not interest me at all.
However, I’m feeling a gravitational tug. Maybe it’s due to coming into close contact with musicians who have a much more sophisticated (if often, from an non-practitioners POV, misunderstood and under theorized) relationship with the score and the possibilities of notation. But it’s a distinct pull. Still working—struggling—through some ideas, and studies, and have far, far more questions than answers about the possible role notation and the score might have in an improvisative context, but that’s the new thing that’s exciting me at the moment. [Read the rest…]
You can also read my struggle with a question about the necessity of music, my take on the current digital music scene, and the politics of ‘extended technique’:
So what’s being ‘extended’ by ‘extended technique’? Is it akin to, say, a colonial explorer extending their influence and territory; ‘discovering’ a land (regardless of whether some other people were there first)?
Had an interested online exchange with Hans Tammen on the subject, and it struck me how much the term ‘extended technique’ is a way to distinguish pioneers from the rest of us. Where you draw those lines (between common practice and extended technique) says much more about your own history and prejudices than some essential quality of the technique in question.
Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith once pointed out how Stockhausen claimed the invention of certain ‘extended techniques’ for the trumpet that were patently false if you had even a passing knowledge of practices outside of West European traditions. Did Stockhausen, and his supporters, claim these techniques because of a kind of ignorance, or as a deliberate erasure of other traditions? Either way, it requires a heavy dose of privilege to ignore, to justify your ignorance, or to mark peoples and cultures as irrelevant. [Read the rest…]
The (provisional) project page for Metis 9 is now live:
Metis 9 is a collection of improvisative tactics, and higher-level interactive macros for ensemble performance designed, designated and specified by Han-earl Park.
Metis 9 has ‘glorious noise’ or ‘frenzy’ at its root, yet it is not so much structuring the noise as it is a meta-layer of complexity that performers can introduce at will. Metis 9 does not tell the performer what to play, or provide all the details of how to interact, but it is an additional network protocol for interactive possibilities. Group improvisation is always the primary protocol; Metis 9 provides secondary or tertiary tactics that create an additional focused complexity. The decision for each bloop and bleep is still retained by the ensemble. These macros enable specific interactionist schemes to be expressed in an open improvisative context; it is improvisative play channeled by group consent.
Metis 9 builds on my experience teaching improvisation at University College Cork, and performing as part of large ensembles led by Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith, Evan Parker and Pauline Oliveros. Metis 9 includes tactics developed from performances and practices of Cecil Taylor, Tony Oxley, John Zorn and Anthony Braxton, in particular, and the form of its practice (training and instruction) is inspired by the ensemble improvisation-composition works of George E. Lewis among others.
Featuring Richard Barrett on electronics and Han-earl Park on guitar. Richard Barrett is a UK composer as well as an improvising electronic musician who plays in Furt, Forch and with Evan Parker, all of whom record for the Psi label. Originally UK-based guitarist Han-earl Park has been living in NY for the past couple of years and working with many Downtown players like Louise Jensen & Michael Evans (who he played with here at DMG last Sunday – 1/20/13), Harris Eisenstadt, Tim Perkis and Anthony Braxton. When Mr. Park was living in the UK, he worked with Paul Dunmall, Charles Hayward and invented a device called io 0.0.1 Beta, that played its own improvisations. An impressive resume for sure. Han-earl left us with this duo effort and I’m glad he did.
I dig the intense exchange between these two gifted improvisers. There are a number of bent sounds which make it hard to determine who is doing what. What electric guitar sounds I recognize are sharp, focused and quickly formed & let loose. Han-earl does not sound like a jazz guitarist and doesn’t play any of those popular licks. More often he is playing a series of broken yet tight phrases which fit perfectly with Mr. Barrett’s more rounded electronics. The fractured phrases that erupt throughout this disc often sound like just one musician playing by himself since we never know where one sound begins or ends or what it will turn into. There are a few rubbed string sounds which remind me of Fred Frith at times but that is the reference I can pull out of my own listening encounters. Otherwise this is duo is completely unique, exciting and engaging.
btw, I have yet to perform with Mr. Braxton (I assume Bruce meant Wadada), and I’m from California, but otherwise the description, especially “fractured phrases that erupt throughout this disc often sound like just one musician playing by himself since we never know where one sound begins or ends or what it will turn into”, is pretty accurate! Thanks for listening, Bruce.