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.

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

Chasing the chaos. (review: 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

“Mind-expanding”? envelopes torn into small pieces to be eaten? a “necessary albeit illusory anchor”? and why is “Diamanda Galás constantly on the verge of asphyxiation”? Dave Foxall, writing in a Jazz Noise and Jazz Journal, finds ‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000), the album by Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh, to be “full creative insanity”:

The Cliodynamics ‘suite’ begins with a recitation in an obscure (likely bespoke) language that rapidly deconstructs against the backdrop of Park’s angular, truncated proto-phrasing, Sanders’ demented clockwork drums, and Lash’s lower register punctuation. Pugh’s voice acts as a kind of guide, offering a frayed and twisted thread through a dynamic and often intimidating soundscape; a necessary albeit illusory anchor. A final wry touch is last two minutes of the closing Psychohistory V, a minimalist coda you have dial the volume right up to even hear—putting the listener in the position of chasing the chaos that moments earlier was so overwhelming.

If this attempt at description sounds rather confused, I’ll try to summarise: years ago, Derek Bailey coined the term ‘non-idiomatic improvisation’, a label that over the years has practically become an idiom in its own right. Sirene 1009 may just be the auditory experience that Bailey’s label has been waiting for. [Read the rest…]

— Dave Foxall (a Jazz Noise)

[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.

This album is brilliant. This album is insane. (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

“Messy”? “scattered”? “manic”? Music that is “aggressive and acerbic and gets in your face and won’t back down”? In his review of ‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000), Dave Sumner of Bird is the Worm concludes: “This album is brilliant. This album is insane.”

Sirene 1009 is a soundtrack for a seizure. It’s spasmodic and flails about wildly. The music is disconcerting. But it enters these fugue states of focused intensity that border on meditative, and it is the most powerful sensation to experience even the tiniest hint of serenity at the center of so much chaos. It’s unsurprising to discover that the three-part “Cliodynamics” suite was recorded live. Even via the recorded medium, there’s a palpable electricity transmitted by this music, and its voltage isn’t the least bit muffled for not having been there in person….

Mostly, Caroline Pugh‘s vocals are of the wordless variety, and so dramatic are her renderings of human sounds that it’s not inconceivable she created an alternate lexicon specifically for this recording. Park’s guitar style can be the sonic representation of slash-and-go rush hour traffic, and of significance to the success of this session is how he simultaneously captures the immediacy of individual cars in motion and the oddly hypnotic flow of mass traffic viewed from an isolated location. On bass, Dominic Lash slings out notes like stones across the surface of water. There’s a sudden burst of velocity and a magnetic patter of rhythm, and with one action, the bassist adds both melodic and rhythmic textures to a canvas that might not otherwise keep its brushstrokes contained. That said, when Lash breaks into a passage of bass arco and maintains that as his sole interest for a time, the music certainly doesn’t suffer for his abandonment of a rhythmic role. Besides, drummer Mark Sanders does a remarkable job all on his own at providing definition to music that is never clear-cut and direction to musicians capable of moving everywhere all at once. [Read the rest…]

— Dave Sumner (Bird is the Worm)

Elsewhere, Avant Scena describes “evocative and original” music in which “various elements of rock, free jazz, creative jazz are combined in one composition.” [Read the rest…]

[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.

ideas as open as the night sky (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

Music where the “gorgeous plucked theme”, the “maniacal wails”, “booming, thunderous landscape of percussion”, and “sweetly sung passages of melodic intrigue” coexists? John Morrison, reviewing ‘Sirene 1009’ (BAF000) for Jazz Right Now, describes “a colorful, sometimes violent and revelatory listening experience that infuses modern aesthetics with the spirit of the ancient.” This, for example, is his take on Cliodynamics I:

Lash brilliantly alternates between bowed and plucked phrases as Sanders beats down a booming, thunderous landscape of percussion. Park provides a subtle bit of coloring strokes while Pugh leads the way, her maniacal wails and babbles briefly giving way to sweetly sung passages of melodic intrigue. Clocking in at ten minutes and forty four seconds, ‘Cliodynamics I’ drags listeners deep into the belly of the beast, a dark and ominous ocean of sound that only gets more intense with each passing minute. [Read the rest…]

— John Morrison (Jazz Right Now)

I love that Morrison hears a music that is “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.”

Elsewhere, in Bad Alchemy [BA 93]: “Riffing madness”? A “meta-unsettling effect”? Why is the “Elk of Entropy… smooched with acceleration-bebop”? And who “eats broomsticks and pukes horses”? In his review, despite the limitations of language (“what is permitted by decency” and “can only be hint euphemistically”), Rigobert Dittmann (a.k.a. rbd) attempts to use words like the band use sound:

Die Gitarre als Heringsdosenöffner, der knarzige oder plonkende Bass, das perkussive Dingdong oder schrottige Geruckele, das alles ist nur Ummäntelung für das… poo. Die Schottin steigert sich nämlich von der Anstrengung, nur ein-, nicht auszuatmen zum Hyperventilieren, sie probiert, sich die eigene Zunge in den Hals zu stopfen, sie radebrecht kryptovolapük, jodelt Sirenenalarm, quirlt das LLLL, kirrt auf Iiiii, imitiert eine Singende Säge, spickt Maggie Nicols mit Shelley Hirsch, schlürft rohes Rattenschaschlik und zischelt Verboteneres als das kleine Hexeneinmaleins etc. Ich kann das nur umschreiben, damit meine älteren Leser nicht in Gefahr kommen, ihre dritten Zähne zu verschlucken. Sanders paukengrollt und cymbalzischt zwar zu sonorem Pizzikato und surrender Laubsägerei noch einigermaßen im Rahmen des Guten und Schönen, aber auch die Gitarre kratzt und wabert so verstörend gegen den Strich wie es nur geht.

— Rigobert Dittmann (Bad Alchemy)

[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.