Belated kudos—I’ve been stuck in a bit of behind-the-scenes scheming (more on that soon…)—to all involved in the recent series of performances (and workshop) in Cork…
Thanks to all the people and the partner organizations in helping us make music: to Paul O’Donnell and Kelly Boyle of FUAIM; to John Godfrey and Christine Dennehy at the UCC Music Department; to Franziska Schroeder and Simon Waters at SARC; and to the Arts Council for their generous support. Special thanks to Hugh McCarthy of CIT Cork School of Music for coming forward with a new venue help us patch a date, to Mike McGrath-Bryan and Ann Rea (at the Firkin Crane) who helped in that process, and to Jonathan Stock who supported the project right from its inception back in May 2016.
For the all their technical support and know-how, big thanks to David Bird (SARC), David Slevin (CSM), and John Hough (UCC). (Thanks also for the photography, John!) Thanks to Dave Whitla and Niall McGuinness for helping source a double bass for Dom. Thanks to Ros Steer, Kevin Terry and Megan Gallen for the essential FOH work. And a big thanks to Alex Fiennes for his sound creativity—always a pleasure!
As always the warmest thanks to everyone who came to listen.
Finally, thanks to all the performers: thanks to Dan Walsh (or CIMC) and Catherine Sikora for their faultless and unfaltering musicality, and to Dom, Mark and Caroline! As I said in an interview published in the Evening Echo the day before our last performance:
Here’s what the group sounds/looks like from where I sit on stage: Dom Lash’s confident and enthusiastic interjections in sound and line; Mark Sander’s unerring inventiveness—leaping any and all obstacles to musicality with gestures small and large; and Caroline Pugh’s pulling in-and-out of musical and linguistic spaces with her spontaneous conlangs.
Four performances in March. (Another mini-tour, but, hey, for the first time, I’ve actually tied-together an album release and a tour—never happens!) A privilege to have shared the stage with smart, creative performers, and to have been performing to some wonderful community of listeners. So, quick thanks to everyone on/off stage at Monmouth, London, Belfast and Derry….
Big thanks to all the venues, promoters and supporters. Thanks, in particular, to Lyndon Owen, a person of apparently limitless enthusiasm, and the team at Monmouth (what a wonderful community); to Peter O’Doherty at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin for the incredible work bootstrapping the Derry scene; to Eduard Solaz at IKLECTIK for running such a wonderful space; and to Brian Carson at Moving on Music, and to Simon Waters at SARC for presenting, promoting and hosting.
Thanks for David Bird at SARC for all his work above-and-beyond the call of duty. (Hey! I owe you and Craig a beer.) Kudos, David Lyttle for loaning us your double bass for a couple of days.
As always big, big thanks to everyone who came to listen. I’ll particularly remember the adventurous and genuinely interested listeners in Monmouth and Derry. And a special thanks to Jeremy (he’ll know why 😉 ).
Finally, thanks to all the performers: to James King for the gibberish; to the acoustic frenzy of FAINT (big thanks to Franziska for all her help (starting in February 2016!) getting the Belfast performance together—it’s been a long road, but worthwhile!); and, of course, biggest thanks to Dom, Mark and Caroline for the music (See you in April!)!
Faint has been playing free improvised music since 2007, recording their first album on the Creative Source label. For this performance the trio will be joined by Lisbon-based improviser Ricardo Jacinto, to make Faint+.
Sirene 1009 features improviser, guitarist and constructor Han-earl Park. The molten, musical core of the ensemble comprises of virtuosic bassist, composer and sound artist Dominic Lash, with arguably the most sought-after avant-jazz and free improvisation drummer of his generation, Mark Sanders. The experimental folk singer and electronics performer Caroline Pugh brings an additional layer of levity and exuberance to the already playful trio.
With such a diverse collection of performers, it is only wise to prepare for a performance that fragments and recombines musical lines, leaping unexpectedly between noise, melody, dissonance, harmony and rhythm.
Performed at the Sonic Arts Research Centre, Sirene 1009 will make full use of the cutting-edge audio space, for an experience that simply couldn’t be replicated in any other Belfast venue.
By Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh
Muffled junkyard hammering (clang! thud! snap!) beat unlikely counter-rhythms; suspension bridge rumble in the turbulence with subwoofer scratches; bad traffic and extreme weather conspire elemental percussion; broken public address system splutter and loop, evoke the intelligible.
Conjuring up rhythmic and sonic detritus from just a guitar and a volume pedal, Han-earl Park has performed with some of the craftiest improvisers from the Americas, Asia and Europe. The instigator of Sirene 1009, Park also (co-)leads Eris 136199 with Nick Didkovsky and Catherine Sikora, Mathilde 253 with Charles Hayward and Ian Smith, and Numbers with Richard Barrett.
The molten, musical core of Sirene 1009 comprises the virtuosic bassist, composer and sound artist Dominic Lash, and Mark Sanders, arguably the most sought-after avant-jazz and free improvisation drummer of his generation. Sirene’s rhythm section adeptly plays the borders of idiom and the explicable.
Having variously collaborated over the years in different contexts and configurations, in 2014 Park, Lash and Sanders performed for the first time as a trio.
During the 2015 tour, Belfast-based avant-folk singer and electronic artist Caroline Pugh joined the group. With a practice that critically, sometimes mischievously, intersects with digital, gallery and performance arts, and unmatched microphone technique (from whisper to scream, from embodied sound to flights into the stereo panorama), Pugh brings an additional layer of levity and exuberance to the already playful interactions of the trio.
Recorded at Cafe OTO (London) during a Culture Ireland funded tour of England, and during a single afternoon studio session in Birmingham, the album documents an ensemble of musicians representing diverse strands of present-day improvised musics; performances that fragment and recombine musical histories, that leaps unexpectedly between noise, melody, dissonance, harmony and rhythm.
Somewhere out there, there’s an SUV-sized violin tailgating, a No Wave guitarist desperately trying to survive in the Appalachian Mountains, someone dropping sheets of metal during a Jazz Session, an evolutionary biologist finding themselves speaking in tongues (Awash in Blue).
Improviser, guitarist and constructor Han-earl Park (박한얼) has been crossing borders and performing fuzzily idiomatic, on occasion experimental, always traditional, open improvised musics for twenty years. He has performed in clubs, theaters, art galleries, concert halls, and (ad-hoc) alternative spaces across Europe and the USA.
Park engages a radical, liminal, cyborg virtuosity in which mind, body and artifact collide. He is driven by the social and revolutionary potential of real-time interactive performance in which tradition and practice become creative problematics. As a constructor of musical automata, he is interested in partial, and partially frustrating, context-specific artifacts; artifacts that amplify social relations and corporeal identities and agencies.
Ensembles include Mathilde 253 with Charles Hayward and Ian Smith, Eris 136199 with Nick Didkovsky and Catherine Sikora, and Numbers with Richard Barrett. Park is the constructor of the machine improviser io 0.0.1 beta++, and instigator of Metis 9, a playbook of improvisative tactics. He has performed with Wadada Leo Smith, Paul Dunmall, Evan Parker, Lol Coxhill, Mark Sanders, Josh Sinton, Louise Dam Eckardt Jensen, Gino Robair, Tim Perkis, Andrew Drury, Pat Thomas and Franziska Schroeder, and as part of large ensembles led by Wadada Leo Smith, Evan Parker and Pauline Oliveros.
Festival appearances include Freedom of the City (London), Sonorities (Belfast), ISIM (New York), dialogues festival (Edinburgh), CEAIT (Los Angeles) and Sonic Acts (Amsterdam). His recordings have been released by labels including Slam Productions, Creative Sources and DUNS Limited Edition.
Park taught improvisation at University College Cork, and founded and curated Stet Lab, a space for improvised music in Cork.
“Guitarist Han-earl Park is a musical philosopher…. Expect unexpected things from Park, who is a delightful shape-shifter….”
Brian Morton (Point of Departure)
Dominic Lash is a freely improvising double bassist, although his activities also range much more widely and include playing bass guitar and other instruments; both writing and performing composed music; and writing about music and various other subjects.
He has performed with musicians such as Tony Conrad (in duo and quartet formations), Joe Morris (trio and quartet), Evan Parker (duo, quartet and large ensemble) and the late Steve Reid. His main projects include The Dominic Lash Quartet, The Set Ensemble (an experimental music group focused on the work of the Wandelweiser collective) and The Convergence Quartet.
Based in Bristol, Lash has performed in the UK, Austria, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and USA. For nearly a decade he was based in Oxford and played a central role in the activities of Oxford Improvisers; much of 2011 was spent living in Manhattan. In 2013 and 2014 he is taking part in Take Five, the professional development programme administered by Serious.
Festival appearances include Akbank Jazz Festival (Istanbul), Audiograft (Oxford), Freedom of the City (London), Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Hurta Cordel (Madrid), Konfrontationen (Nickelsdorf), LMC Festival (London), Manchester Jazz Festival and Tampere Jazz Happening.
His work has been broadcast on a number of radio stations, including BBC Radios 1 and 3 and Germany’s SWR2, and released on labels including Another Timbre, b-boim, Bead, Cathnor, Clean Feed, Compost and Height, Emanem, Erstwhile, FMR, Foghorn, Leo and NoBusiness.
Since moving to Bristol he has been involved in organising concerts under the banners of Bang the Bore and Insignificant Variation. A new venture is the monthly series happening every second Wednesday at the Arnolfini entitled Several 2nds. Events include performances, workshops, film screenings and discussions.
“Following in an illustrious lineage from Barry Guy through Simon Fell… breathtaking.”
John Sharpe (All About Jazz)
Mark Sanders has played with many renowned musicians from around the world including Evan Parker, Peter Brotzmann, Derek Bailey, Myra Melford, Paul Rogers, Henry Grimes, Roswell Rudd, Okkyung Lee, Barry Guy, Tim Berne, Otomo Yoshihide, Luc Ex, Ken Vandermark, Sidsel Endresen and Jean Francois Pauvrois, in duo and quartets with Wadada Leo Smith and trios with Charles Gayle with Sirone and William Parker.
New collaborative projects include ‘Riverloam Trio’ with Mikolaj Trzaska and Olie Brice, ‘Asunder’ with Hasse Poulsen and Paul Dunmall, duos with John Butcher and DJ Sniff, ‘Statics’ with Georg Graewe and John Butcher, and trio with Rachel Musson and Liam Noble.
Mark and John Edwards play as a rhythm section with many groups including Trevor Watts Quartet, ‘Foils’ with Frank Paul Schubert and Matthius Muller, Mathew Shipp’s ‘London Quartet,’ also playing with Fred Frith, Wadada Leo Smith and Shabaka Hutchins amongst many others.
Christian Marclay’s ‘Everyday’ project includes Mark with Christian, Steve Beresford, John Butcher and Alan Tomlinson, he also works regularly in the projects of Mikolaj Trzaska, Gail Brand, Paul Dunmall, Peter Jaquemyn, and Simon H. Fell.
Mark has performed in the USA, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Morrocco, South Africa, Mozambique and Turkey, playing at many major festivals including, Nickelsdorf, Ulrichsburg, Glastonbury, Womad, Vancouver, Isle of Wight, Roskilde, Berlin Jazz days, Mulhouse, Luz, Minniapolis, Banlieue Bleues, Son D’hiver and Hurta Cordel.
He has released over 120 CDs.
“A gifted player capable of seamless movement between free-rhythms and propulsive swing.”
John Fordham (The Guardian)
Scottish vocalist and composer Caroline Pugh borrows old-fangled technologies and honours oral histories to create new performances. With a background in both folk and improvisation, her solo works You’ve Probably Heard These Songs Before, Timing By Ear, Measuring By Hand and Platform Audio also draw on performance art and pinhole photography.
Originally from Edinburgh, Caroline has performed across Europe and North America with new improvisation performances including Los Angeles’ Betalevel in 2012, NIME 2011 in Oslo, Just Listening 2011 in Limerick and Experimentica09 in Cardiff. She is also in a band called ABODE and an improvisation collective called E=MCH.
Now based in Belfast, Caroline sings in a folk duo with Meabh Meir and together with Myles McCormack they run traditional song sessions at the Garrick Bar on Mondays from 7.30-10pm.
In 2011, Caroline was awarded an Art Council Northern Ireland grant for her solo work and gained a Distinction for her AHRC-funded Master of Music at Newcastle University. She coaches students at Queen’s University Belfast and has worked in collaboration with visual artists (Connecting through Scape 2008), theatre practitioners (hour8+9 2009), video artists (SAAB 2009), dancers and psychologists (Newcastle and Northumbria Universities 2010). She also got a BA in Scottish Music from the Royal Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, and studied Contemporary Music at the University of Central Lancashire for a wee while too.
“Every once in a while you happen upon a gig or event that’s so fundamentally unlike anything you’ve experienced before that you can’t help but reconsider your own thoughts on what defines music, performance and entertainment.”
Limited in number, my (near) complete discography is for sale at a special price. The set comprises of four glass-mastered CDs, and one limited edition CD-R (plus, for the first two lucky listeners, another limited edition CD-R). Available for €25 plus shipping, you can consider it €5 per disc (and a bonus CD-R for the first two customers).
Live at the Glucksman is only available to the first two customers: I only have two copies left! (btw, I had been hoping to include the duo CD with Paul Dunmall, but it looks like I am completely out of those. For those who still have copies, consider yourself one of the lucky few 😉 )
Glass-mastered CDs in shrink-wrapped jewel cases. CD-Rs in sleeves.
Live at the Glucksman is only available to the first two customers.
It is vital that you contact me before returning items (click “contact Han-earl Park” on this page). I will do my absolute best to address any concerns and damaged (unplayable) items, but please note that some of these discs are limited in number, so replacements (unlike refunds) may be a non-trivial issue.
Physical items shipped by standard post. Please contact me (click “contact Han-earl Park” on this page) before making your order for special delivery instructions and/or alternative shipping methods.
Five performance this final month of 2015! A great privilege to have shared the stage with so many awesomely creative, smart and generous people. Let’s get to the hat-tips…
Okay, start with a thanks to my co-conspirators, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh, who consistently created fascinating, difficult, infuriating, confounding and beautiful spaces for interaction. Listening to the music play out in real-time, all I could think was that it sounds great whenever the guitarist shuts-up. (As Josh Sinton pointed out later, that’s really a wonderful position to be in; not knowing how to contribute to—to add to—an already perfect ensemble at play.)
Thanks to Ingrid Laubrock for the play—it was great to come-off a… logistically challenging set of gigs into a relaxed performance where, well, anything might happen… and we ended up in some interesting and unexpected places. (Felt very good about this one.)
Big thanks to all the venues and promoters, DIYers and supporters: to the indefatigable Andrew Woodhead at Fizzle; to Seth Cooke and everyone at Bang the Bore for an awesome event; to Fielding Hope, Oli Barrett and everyone at Cafe OTO for their support, and for their patience with all the ups’n’downs; to Josh and everyone at 65Fen Music Series; and to Cisco Bradley for inviting me to perform at New Revolution Arts (a beautiful space—socially, musically).
Thanks to the gentleman who lent me his amplifier in Birmingham (sorry, can’t remember your name!), and to Andrew Drury and Chris Welcome who did the same in Brooklyn—y’all made my travels so much more pleasant!
The tour by my ensemble with Dom, Mark and Caroline was made possible with funding from Culture Ireland, and I am extremely grateful for their support.
Thanks to Dom Lash and Kate Hendry, and to Josh Sinton and family, for offering a place for this itinerant musician to crash a night (or three). Kudos to Nasc Ireland for helping me navigate some border… technicalities 😉
And a very special thanks to the Best Sound Engineer in the Known Universe, Alex Fiennes, for taking time to make the music sound great in London.
Finally, as always, thanks, thanks, thanks, everyone, for listening.
In addition to being an awesome record store, Downtown Music Gallery is an institution that supports left-field, creative music. Part archive of sound recordings and folk knowledge, part performance space, NY Times described DMG as “one of the last remaining Manhattan outposts of Downtown music, defined by a melting-pot aesthetic inspired by the stew of cultures.” Over the years, DMG has been a tireless champion of creative people, communities and culture in an oftentimes indifferent world, but The Best Record Store in the World now needs our support:
This is has been a very difficult year for us financially speaking. Our Used & Sale CD lists get little response no matter what we do. We are selling a bit more Used vinyl through Discogs and here in the store but not enough. What can you do to help us survive? Donate money if you can afford it, order something from us, get someone you know to subscribe to the DMG weekly newsletter or come visit us when you can. Currently some 6,000 folks get our newsletter but only a hundred or so actually order from us with any regularity. If nearly everyone who does get the newsletter just contributed $5 or $10 each, this would help to make it to the end of the year and maybe beyond….
If you still care about DMG and enjoy reading our newsletter than please help us in any way that you can. Tell those you know who still care about our future as well. [Read the rest…]
I am privileged to have had DMG’s support over the years (they gave me one of my first gigs after I arrived in New York). Please help them offer that support to many others in the years to come.
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.]
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.