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.

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.

performances: Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash and Mark Sanders plus Caroline Pugh (Birmingham, Bristol and London, December 2015)

Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh (image copyright 2015 Han-earl Park)
Image © 2015 Han-earl Park.

Han-earl Park (guitar), Dominic Lash (double bass) and Mark Sanders (drums) plus Caroline Pugh (voice and electronics) will be doing a short tour of England in December 2015 (see the performance diary for up-to-date info):

[Press release (PDF)…]

Culture Ireland logo

Presented with funding from Culture Ireland, and support from SLAM Productions.

details

Expect playful, noisy and inventive musical interactions as the cyborgian virtuoso guitarist Han-earl Park performs with double bassist Dominic Lash, drummer Mark Sanders, and vocalist and electronics performer Caroline Pugh in Birmingham (1 December 2015), Bristol (2 December) and London (3 December). This three-date tour marks the first European performances of Han-earl Park’s Metis 9, a collection of improvisative tactics for ensemble performance.

Described as “a musical philosopher… a delightful shape-shifter” by Brian Morton in Point of Departure, guitarist Han-earl Park has performed with some of the best improvisers from the Americas, Asia and Europe. He is part of ensembles including the London-based Mathilde 253 with Charles Hayward and Ian Smith, the New York-based Eris 136199 with Nick Didkovsky and Catherine Sikora, and the Berlin-based Numbers with Richard Barrett.

The performances will feature Park’s trio with 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. Joining the group will be Belfast-based experimental folk singer and electronics performer Caroline Pugh, bringing an additional layer of levity and exuberance to the already playful interactions of the trio.

In addition to presenting other improvisative and traditional works, this tour will mark the European premiere of Park’s Metis 9, a playbook of interactive tactics for group improvisation. Initially conceived and performed in New York (in collaboration with New York-based musicians, Josh Sinton and Catherine Sikora), Metis 9 is documented on the album Anomic Aphasia recently released by SLAM Productions to great acclaim (“☆☆☆☆½” All About Jazz, “☆☆☆☆” Free Jazz).

With musicians representing diverse strands of present-day improvised musics, prepare for a performance that fragments and recombines musical histories, a performance that leaps unexpectedly between noise, melody, dissonance, harmony and rhythm.

The events take place: Tuesday, 1 December, Fizzle at The Lamp Tavern (Barford Street, Birmingham B5 6AH), 7:30pm; Wednesday, 2 December, Bang the Bore at Cafe Kino (108 Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3RU), 8:00pm; Thursday, 3 December, Cafe OTO (18–22 Ashwin Street, Dalston, London E8 3DL), 8:00pm.

Presented with funding from Culture Ireland, and support from SLAM Productions.

[Press release (PDF)…]

about the ensemble

Hear guitarist Han-earl Park push and pull on the guitar-amplifier dancing partners, Dominic Lash and his double bass damage hanging artwork, Mark Sanders excavate caverns in the smallest spaces for his percussion, and Caroline Pugh sing the lines that border the intelligible and the cryptic. 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).

about the performers

Improviser, guitarist and constructor Han-earl Park 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.”

Brian Coney (BBC Across The Line)

images

Iconography/graphics

.zip archive of .jpg files
.zip archive of .jpg images (© 2015 Han-earl Park).
.zip archive of .pdf files
.zip archive of .pdf files—solid color vector images (© 2015 Han-earl Park).

portraits

Han-earl Park (Photo © 2010 Seán Kelly)Dominic Lash (Photo © 2013 Peter Gannushkin)Mark Sanders (Photo by Andrew Putler)Caroline Pugh

All photographs copyright the respective photographer: respect the terms of usage where stated. (Thumbnail images, above L–R: © 2010 Seán Kelly; © 2013 Peter Gannushkin; and by Andrew Putler.)

From SLAM Productions…

CD cover of ‘Anomic Aphasia’ (SLAMCD 559) with Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora, Nick Didkovsky and Josh Sinton (artwork copyright 2015, Han-earl Park)

Anomic Aphasia (SLAMCD 559) [details…]

Performers: Han-earl Park (guitar), Catherine Sikora (tenor and soprano saxophones), Nick Didkovsky (guitar), and Josh Sinton (baritone saxophone and bass clarinet).

© 2015 Han-earl Park.
℗ 2015 SLAM Productions.

updates

10–13-15: embed video teaser.
10–20-15: add Facebook events.
11–20-15: add Bang the Bore page.

twist and turn, scrape, squeak and melodic (reviews: Anomic Aphasia)

CD cover of ‘Anomic Aphasia’ (SLAMCD 559) with Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora, Nick Didkovsky and Josh Sinton (artwork copyright 2015, Han-earl Park)
‘Anomic Aphasia’ (SLAMCD 559) © 2015 Han-earl Park

Brittle? Tough and dense? Accessible and captivating? Exhilarating? Or verging on lyrical? John Eyles at All About Jazz gives ‘Anomic Aphasia’ (SLAMCD 559) with Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora, Nick Didkovsky and Josh Sinton ☆☆☆☆½:

The guitarists’ [Nick Didkovsky’s and Han-earl Park’s] two very different styles could have clashed, but they find ways of fitting them together that leave space for the saxophone. [Catherine] Sikora could have been crowded out but she skilfully adapts to the soundscapes created by the guitars, and integrates her playing without compromising her style…. At times that playing does fit Park’s “noisy, unruly complexity” description, but when they are in full flow together, their exchanges fit together perfectly and are simply exhilarating, sometimes verging on lyrical….

Key to the success of the album’s middle three tracks is their line-up of Park and Sikora with Josh Sinton on baritone saxophone or bass clarinet; one guitar plus two reeds works better than one saxophone plus two guitars. Aurally, the separate contributions of these three individuals are easier to determine. Sinton’s confident, fluent improvising stands out as this trio’s trademark sound…. The interweaving of the trio’s three strands works effectively, with credit going equally to each member. [Read the rest…]

— John Eyles (All About Jazz)

In his ☆☆☆☆ review, Paul Acquaro at Free Jazz finds a “great set of free jazz trio work” in which “every twist and turn, scrape, squeak and melodic idea contributes to this adventurous and exciting recording”:

The album clocks in at a generous 71 minutes, and none of it is wasted. Starting with the 20 minute ‘Monopod’ with the cast of Sikora, Park and Didkovsky, things are off to a (briefly) squeaky start, then track begins in earnest, with the tenor sax’s free form melody cutting through the slashing tones of the guitars. What starts brittle, grows tough and dense. The ‘conversation’ between the sax and the guitars is intense at times, and at other times tender. Generally speaking, Park tends to be more atmospheric while Didkovsky is more biting.

The track ‘Pleonasm’ features the trio of Sinton, Sikora and Park. The rich tones of Sinton’s baritone sax and bass clarinet contrast nicely with Sikora’s vivacious playing on the tenor and soprano saxes. The track begins with Park’s minimalist approach—he employs a vocabulary of textures and taut phrases as the saxes reply with staccato bursts of melodic runs. The song, like the others, is abstract but there is something at the nexus of the trio’s playing that remains accessible and captivating.

‘Stopcock’ is the long burning closer to the album. Back to Sikora, Park and Didkovsky, the trio delivers a fascinating performance that starts with arpeggios and rhythmic picking lending a somewhat metal feel to the introduction. The two guitars play in parallel for a while—some time reaching agreement, other times in friendly competition. When Sikora joins, she delivers a vigorous melody that pulls the track together.

Between the four musicians, Anomic Aphasia is a great set of free jazz trio work. Every twist and turn, scrape, squeak and melodic idea contributes to this adventurous and exciting recording. [Read the rest…]

— Paul Acquaro (Free Jazz)

[About this recording…] [All reviews…]

Also from SLAM Productions…

‘io 0.0.1 beta++ (SLAMCD 531) CD cover (copyright 2011, Han-earl Park)

io 0.0.1 beta++ (SLAMCD 531) [details…]

Performers: io 0.0.1 beta++ (itself), Han-earl Park (guitar), Bruce Coates (alto and sopranino saxophones) and Franziska Schroeder (soprano saxophone). [About this project…]

© 2011 Han-earl Park.
℗ 2011 SLAM Productions.

‘Mathilde 253’ (SLAMCD 528) CD cover (copyright 2010, Han-earl Park)

Mathilde 253 (SLAMCD 528) [details…]

Performers: Charles Hayward (drums, percussion and melodica), Han-earl Park (guitar) and Ian Smith (trumpet and flugelhorn) plus Lol Coxhill (saxophone). [About this ensemble…]

© 2010 Han-earl Park.
℗ 2010 SLAM Productions.

Free Jazz: Catherine Sikora, Han-earl Park and François Grillot, ‘Tracks in the dirt’

Catherine Sikora, Han-earl Park and François Grillot, ‘Tracks in the dirt’ (copyright 2013, Clockwork Mercury Press)
Design and artwork by Eric Mingus (© 2013 Clockwork Mercury Press)

Paul Acquaro at Free Jazz Blog writes that Catherine Sikora, Han-earl Park and François Grillot’s Tracks in the dirt (Clockwork Mercury Press 003) is an “enjoyable listen for open ears”, and that “chance encounters and smart musical ideas that make this recording so effective.”

The opening track, ‘Helix’ contains some of my favorite moments of the recording. Sikora’s soprano sax sounds like it is drawing a line from each hit of the bass, with Park coloring in the spaces between. Park, with whom she also released Cork 04-04-11, is an understated and sympathetic accompanist throughout.

Feel the force of Sikora’s playing too—halfway through the second track, ‘The Chopping Block’ her soprano is clear and cutting, the melodic lines spinning and swirling around Park’s textures and Grillot’s rhythmic pulse. [Read the rest…]

Paul Acquaro (Free Jazz)

[More about this recording…] [All reviews…]

Also by Catherine Sikora and Han-earl Park

Catherine Sikora, Ian Smith and Han-earl Park: Sikora-Smith-Park (Cork, 04-04-11)

Sikora-Smith-Park (Cork, 04-04-11) [details…]

Performers: Catherine Sikora (saxophone), Ian Smith (trumpet) and Han-earl Park (guitar).

(cc) 2012 Catherine Sikora/Ian Smith/Han-earl Park.

Free Jazz: Paul Dunmall, Han-earl Park and Mark Sanders (Birmingham, 02–15–11)

Paul Dunmall, Han-earl Park and Mark Sanders: Dunmall-Park-Sanders (Birmingham, 02-15-11)
At Free Jazz Blog, as part of his review of the state of the guitar in the outer realms of improvised music, Paul Acquaro describes Paul Dunmall, Han-earl Park and Mark Sandersdownload album as an “expert lesson on group interplay and spontaneous compositions”.

…[Han-earl] Park’s guitar is sliding and sputtering, delivering accents and tonal clusters neatly between Mark Sanders pulsating percussion and Paul Dunmall’s intense and melodic saxophone work. The three musicians are nicely balanced, each instrument an integral voice in the improvisation. Dunmall is the main voice as the first track picks up, and when Park’s guitar emerges as the driving force, he relies on creating biting textures and rhythmic figures intersecting with percussion.

Sanders and Dunmall are veterans of free jazz and have worked together many times in the past. Here, as usual, Sander’s percussion work is invigorating, pushing the musicians and directing the energy. There are moments where he drops out, or holds back, that reveal how powerful of a presence he is. Dunmall seems to always have the most appropriately unexpected lines, whether the solo voice or providing comping. Park is a newer voice, and he holds his own with this virtuosic crowd. His approach on the electric guitar veers between clean and slightly overdriven tones, and has unique melodic approach, favoring fragments and tonal clusters, often filling in the spaces and painting with contrasting colors. [Read the rest…]

Paul Acquaro (Free Jazz)

[More about this recording…] [All reviews…]

Also available for download…

Murray Campbell, Randy McKean with Han-earl Park, plus Gino Robair and Scott R. Looney: Gargantius Effect +1 +2 +3 (Nor Cal, 08-2011)

Gargantius Effect +1 +2 +3 (Nor Cal, 08-2011) [details…]

Performers: Murray Campbell (violins, oboe and cor anglais), Randy McKean (saxophone, clarinets and flutes) with Han-earl Park (guitar), plus Gino Robair (energized surfaces, voltage made audible) and Scott R. Looney (hyperpiano).

(cc) 2012 Murray Campbell/Randy McKean/Han-earl Park/Gino Robair/Scott R. Looney.

Han-earl Park plus Marian Murray: Park+Murray (Cork, 07-29-10)

Park+Murray (Cork, 07-29-10) [details…]

Performers: Han-earl Park (guitar) plus Marian Murray (violin).

(cc) 2012 Han-earl Park/Marian Murray.

Jin Sangtae, Han-earl Park and Jeffrey Weeter: Jin-Park-Weeter (Cork, 01–24–11)

Jin-Park-Weeter (Cork, 01-24-11) [details…]

Performers: Jin Sangtae (electronics), Han-earl Park (guitar) and Jeffrey Weeter (drums and electronics).

(cc) 2012 Jin Sangtae/Han-earl Park/Jeffrey Weeter.

Han-earl Park and Franziska Schroeder: Park-Schroeder (Cork, 03-26-09)

Park-Schroeder (Cork, 03-26-09) [details…]

Performers: Han-earl Park (guitar) and Franziska Schroeder (saxophone).

(cc) 2012 Han-earl Park/Franziska Schroeder.

Catherine Sikora, Ian Smith and Han-earl Park: Sikora-Smith-Park (Cork, 04-04-11)

Sikora-Smith-Park (Cork, 04-04-11) [details…]

Performers: Catherine Sikora (saxophone), Ian Smith (trumpet) and Han-earl Park (guitar).

(cc) 2012 Catherine Sikora/Ian Smith/Han-earl Park.

more reviews: Catherine Sikora, Ian Smith and Han-earl Park (Cork, 04–04–11)

artwork for Catherine Sikora, Ian Smith and Han-earl Park: Sikora-Smith-Park (Cork, 04-04-11)
“Courageous, exciting and iconoclastic.” Of Catherine Sikora, Ian Smith and Han-earl Park’s download album, Andrew Rigmore writes in the December 2012 issue of jazzColo[u]rs:

Questo album è solo un assaggio della musica coraggiosa, entusiasmante ed iconoclastica che si può trovare gratuitamente — sotto licenza Creative Commons— sul sito dell’etichetta Bandcamp ed altri ad essa collegati. “Cork, 04-04-11” è la registrazione — di ottima qualità — del concerto tenuto dalla sassofonista Catherine Sikora, dal trombettista Ian Smith e dal chitarrista Han-earl Park a Cork, Irlanda, nell’aprile del 2011. E da troppo tempo la relativa pagina giace fra i preferiti del browserdi redazione, per cui è giunto il momento di darne conto. Si tratta di creatività made in Ireland, per quanto Park e Sikora oggi si siano stabiliti a New York. La sassofonista di Cork possiede un timbro corposo al tenore ed una limpidezza che la pongono sulla scia di maestri come Jerry Bergonzi o Charles Lloyd (il lungo assolo in Red Line Speed), ma anche fra gli avanguardisti più temerari della scena europea. Particolarmente originale la chitarra di Park, le cui baritonali e caustiche idiosincrasie sembrano fornire lungo tutto il setspunti in prevalenza ritmici agli intrecci fra tenore e tromba. Molto noto in patria, Smith vanta collaborazioni con Evan Parker, Lol Coxhill, Steve Beresford ed è co-leader di rinomati gruppi del free londinese come Forest e Trian: il suo secondo Cd da titolare, “Daybreak” (Emanem, 2000), coinvolge fra gli altri Derek Bailey e Oren Marshall. La sua fantasiosa tromba apre irriverente in 바르트, e si accompagna a chitarra e sax in Red Line Speed, ripartendo, a metà brano, da un pianissimo soffiato che diventa più lungo e sinuoso, fino a tornare a tessere trame aeree e sorprendenti insieme al sax, la cui chiusura solitaria è quasi toccante. Tromba silenziata per Massimo’s Imagined Juxtapositions, con certe inflessioni milesiane tipiche di Wadada Leo Smith ma in qualche piega anche debitrici delle sfumature di Cherry e Dixon. Quanto al progetto dietro all’etichetta, è di per sé innovativo, permettendo agli utenti in molti casi di scaricare gli album battendo essi stessi un prezzo e, come in un’asta, il Cd acquisisce un suo valore di mercato e quindi un costo. Ovvio che chi prima arriva…

— Andrew Rigmore (jazzColo[u]rs)

Meanwhile, Stanley Jason Zappa contributes Free Jazz Blog’s third review of this album [other reviews from Free Jazz…]:

…There is no doubt that Sikora is the most luminous of the three, so much so that this recording is, now and forever “one of Catherine Sikora’s early recordings.” This is less the recording’s fault and more the fault of Ms. Sikora’s continued emergence as a leading, steering voice on the tenor saxophone. [Read the rest…]

Stanley Jason Zappa (Free Jazz)

[More about this recording…] [All reviews…]

Also available for download…

Murray Campbell, Randy McKean with Han-earl Park, plus Gino Robair and Scott R. Looney: Gargantius Effect +1 +2 +3 (Nor Cal, 08-2011)

Gargantius Effect +1 +2 +3 (Nor Cal, 08-2011) [details…]

Performers: Murray Campbell (violins, oboe and cor anglais), Randy McKean (saxophone, clarinets and flutes) with Han-earl Park (guitar), plus Gino Robair (energized surfaces, voltage made audible) and Scott R. Looney (hyperpiano).

(cc) 2012 Murray Campbell/Randy McKean/Han-earl Park/Gino Robair/Scott R. Looney.

Han-earl Park plus Marian Murray: Park+Murray (Cork, 07-29-10)

Park+Murray (Cork, 07-29-10) [details…]

Performers: Han-earl Park (guitar) plus Marian Murray (violin).

(cc) 2012 Han-earl Park/Marian Murray.

Jin Sangtae, Han-earl Park and Jeffrey Weeter: Jin-Park-Weeter (Cork, 01–24–11)

Jin-Park-Weeter (Cork, 01-24-11) [details…]

Performers: Jin Sangtae (electronics), Han-earl Park (guitar) and Jeffrey Weeter (drums and electronics).

(cc) 2012 Jin Sangtae/Han-earl Park/Jeffrey Weeter.

Han-earl Park and Franziska Schroeder: Park-Schroeder (Cork, 03-26-09)

Park-Schroeder (Cork, 03-26-09) [details…]

Performers: Han-earl Park (guitar) and Franziska Schroeder (saxophone).

(cc) 2012 Han-earl Park/Franziska Schroeder.

Coming soon…

Paul Dunmall, Han-earl Park and Mark Sanders: Dunmall-Park-Sanders (Birmingham, 02-15-11)

Dunmall-Park-Sanders (Birmingham, 02-15-11) [details…]

Performers: Paul Dunmall (saxophones and bagpipes), Han-earl Park (guitar) and Mark Sanders (drums).

(cc) 2012 Paul Dunmall/Han-earl Park/Mark Sanders.

Free Jazz: Catherine Sikora, Ian Smith and Han-earl Park (Cork, 04–04–11)

artwork for Catherine Sikora, Ian Smith and Han-earl Park: Sikora-Smith-Park (Cork, 04-04-11)
Free Jazz Blog publishes a rare double review of the download release by Catherine Sikora, Ian Smith and Han-earl Park. In one review, Philip Coombs describes a “wonderful gem of a recording,” focussing, in particular, on Catherine Sikora’s sound:

These rare folk have the ability to spin a tale you have possibly heard before but can retell it with such clarity that you are captivated or better yet hypnotized. They can give you a new understanding of something you thought you already knew. This is a beautiful power and an ability that is rare to possess.

Catherine Sikora is such a person/player. She has a clean and colorful voice that could read me my autobiography and still have me in suspense….

The main story on the recording is track three. Clocking in at almost 25 minutes, Red Line Speed, is, to continue a theme here, the Shakespearian tragedy of the album. It starts with the chatter of a couple sitting at a table close to one of the microphones. The guitar comes in but the conversation continues in the background. Park changes up his percussive touch and somehow gets his guitar to sound like a tuba of sorts. The trumpet is next, adding to the subplot. By the time Sikora joins in, the stage has been set for quite the journey….

A wonderful gem of a recording. [Read the rest…]

Philip Coombs

Tom Burrisreview also puts the spotlight on ‘Red Line Speed’ while imaging hearing a lost “Sonny Rollins and Derek Bailey duet”:

…‘Red Line Speed,’ best represents the trio’s interplay and dynamics. There is a moment where you’d swear you were listening to a Sonny Rollins and Derek Bailey duet. Smith plays spastic trumpet figures with a mute, while Sikora plays fluid lines and Park darts in between them. Smith plays a short solo of hissing sounds. My favorite moment occurs when Smith sounds like a drunken bumblebee & Sikora plays spiral figures as if she’s waving her arms, shooing him away. Then Park appears with sonic smacks, clumsily chasing the bee with an oar. When the piece comes to an abrupt end, amid trilling saxophone, muted trumped, and guitar smears, it sounds like they ripped a peanut butter sandwich apart and smashed it back together with the captured bee inside.

Park is especially adept at steering the group down side streets they might have otherwise ignored and utilizes simple techniques to arrive at unique sounds, such as sticking a piece of metal between the guitar strings & then finger-picking to approximate an alien banjo. Sikora is often the anchor of the trio, grounding them in traditional sonic terrain while playing every bit as imaginatively as the more unconventional Smith and Park. Smith frequently surprises with blurts and burps in one second, and full open tones in the next. [Read the rest…]

Tom Burris

[More about this recording…] [All reviews…]

Also available for download…

rerelease: Han-earl Park and Franziska Schroeder (Cork, 03–26–09)
audio recordings: Paul Dunmall, Han-earl Park and Mark Sanders (Birmingham, 02–15–11)
audio recordings: Han-earl Park and Richard Scott (Berlin, 10–23–10)
audio recordings: Han-earl Park plus Marian Murray (Cork, 07–29–10)