un trio d’une radicalité absolue (reviews: Eris 136199)

A “control of noise”, “saturated electricity” and “fighting… with the underground”? or “free-wheeling” with experiments in sound injected with lyricism? or “electronic mayhem” with “a full bodied sound”? In among the reviews of Eris 136199’s performance at Jazz em Agosto, David Cristol, writing in Jazz Magazine, follows “a trio of an absolute radicality”, and concludes by discovering “art music!”

Pour la dernière soirée, le directeur artistique Rui Neves nous a réservé un trio d’une radicalité absolue, proposition courageuse voire casse-gueule dans le contexte d’une salle de plusieurs centaines de places…. Et même pour les spectateurs aguerris, il s’est agi sans nul doute du concert le plus difficile d’accès du festival, présentant peu de repères auxquels se raccrocher. Il faut ici saluer la grande majorité des spectateurs, déterminés à suivre les musiciens dans leur recherche ou idée fixe, voir où le voyage va les mener. Le son est magnifiquement restitué. Park joue beaucoup de l’accordage de la main gauche, dans le registre de la basse. Les guitaristes dessinent des paysages métalliques, via un jeu non conventionnel, selon leurs propres codes, multipliant les dissonances…. Catherine Sikora est une révélation, son jeu oblique, sensible et lumineux offrant un contrepoint idéal aux élucubrations crépusculaires de ses partenaires. Le ténor adopte une approche décidément tonale et mélodique, et néanmoins exploratoire. D’un bout à l’autre un set sans concession aucune, dont on ressort essoré, mais ravi que de telles expériences soient tentées. Art music! [Read the rest…]

Meanwhile, Erik Ellestad, reviewing Eris’ most recent album, sketches a verisimilar portrait of the trio (Han-earl Park “functioning as the de facto rhythm section in Eris 136199”; Catherine Sikora’s “unvarnished and unapologetic sound… while at the same time maintaining a core of melodicism”, and Nick Didkovsky expressing “digitally warped washes of static-like sound and angry slashes of melody”):

It is 50-plus minutes of riveting music making from three fantastic and fascinating musicians. I’ve been listening avidly to Eris 136199 all week on my commute and have looked forward to it every day. Wondering what new thing I will discover in Sikora’s technique while at the same time trying to pay attention and tease out which guitarist is playing what.

Obviously, Eris 136199 isn’t Lawrence Welk, however, there is something in the players expressiveness and in their interactions which prevents it from being too harsh or overwhelming.

Rough enough to keep it exciting, yet tender enough to keep you coming back. [Read the rest…]

I think I might want “Eris 136199 isn’t Lawrence Welk” on a T-shirt.

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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)

* 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.

A jangling, twisting uneasiness, and climbing over a breathless downpour of sound (reviews: Eris 136199)

A science fictional foray? the specter of drumming giant Rashied Ali? searing, erupting explosions? striking song-like passages over the rumble and din? climbing over a breathless downpour of sound? John Pietaro writes in the February issue of The New York City Jazz Record that: “In a field of experimentation and free music, Eris 136199 stands as singular.”

The closing work, two-part “Hypnagogia”, begins with the most electronic of sounds in [Nick] Didkovsky’s canon and as it fades the saxophonist blows an aerial passage that turns expressionistic as [Han-earl] Park hurls rapid- fire fills about her (think Interstellar Space as a starting point). By the time Didkovsky returns, his guitar embellishes Park’s and [Catherine] Sikora closes with lush postbop improvisation that will give listeners chills. [Read the rest…]

I love this review! Not just for its generosity and not just that it’s evident that the writer listened carefully (though, of course, it’s both of those), but I appreciate that it devotes space, in turn, to each musician of the trio. So big thanks to John for the review, and thanks, John, for hearing the Ali-connection back in 2013.

Mike Borella at Avant Music News finds monstrous extemporizations; jangling, twisting uneasiness; and an internal battle of self-restraint:

Eris 136199 is much more than deconstructivistic listening. Putting these three explorers together results in a surprising pleasant, if not angular and abstract, experience. Sikora and Didkovsky are a wonderful stylistic matchup – a sax player who is both aggressive and understated with a guitarist who seems to be fighting an internal battle of self-restraint. Park hangs around in the background, adding texture and an ephemeral context for their parts. [Read the rest…]

He concludes by writing: “Great stuff and highly recommended.”

Elsewhere, Avant Scena writes that “the music is just wonderful and charming – all kinds of colors, rhythms, expressions and sounds are condensed together in one form.” And Dolf Mulder writing in Vital Weekly describes a complex music emerging from the meeting of three very different individuals: “A radical kind of music.”

And finally, in Free Jazz’s survey of the recent albums by Catherine Sikora, Fotis Nikolakopoulos describes, in his ☆☆☆☆ review of Eris 136199, dismantling of the rock guitar solo pose, multidimensional timbres and atmosphere, and a constant battle of metallic guitar sounds and the organic feel of the saxophone: “like-minded improvisers who try to find their way through collective thinking and playing…. Eris 136199 is an album that blossoms after repeated listenings and deserves more than a quick listen….”

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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)

* 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.

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!

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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)

* 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.

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…]

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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…]

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‘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.