“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 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…]
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!
This has been my favorite tour! Excellent company; exemplary hosts; faultless, above-and-beyond support from all. Everyone here worked so hard for no material gain to make the musicians’ journey as effortless as possible. My hosts have reminded me why we all do this; that creative music brings gradations and spectra to the sometimes hard-edged world, that it refuses and resists and rewrites the 1-bit world into something altogether more colorful and toneful and rhythmic and noisy.
I am forever grateful; it was a true pleasure to work with y’all.
Thanks to Rica Zinn and the entire creative crew of the MS Stubnitz! Thank you for the force-of-nature hospitality (plus the best shower, and the best stock-and-carrots combination), the sound, and the acoustics! Thanks to Georg Hajdu who initially got us in touch with Rica, to Heinrich Metzger and Michael Maierhof of Verband für aktuelle Musik Hamburg for their support, and to Steffen Schindler for the awesome photography.
Thanks to Jakob Drong Jensen, Jonas Vognsen, , and everyone at Jazz Club Loco, Bryggekælderen, and Jvtlandt for putting together an awesome gig (tied, musically, as my favorite of the tour).
Warmest thanks to Stuart Wilding for being a truly wonderful host; cooking wonderful meals, bringing together a great company of people (including Mark Unsworth for the playful and fascinating visuals, Anthea Millier for the gezellig accommodation, and Jamie Dawson for the amplifiers), and allowing us to play in that fantastic space.
To the mastermind behind OUT FRONT!, the busiest man I know, Corey Mwamba! Thank you so, so much for finding time in your busy schedule to put on a performance, and thanks for your apparently limitless enthusiasm for creative music! Thanks also to Walt Shaw for helping at the door, and to the fantastic Chris Trent for documenting the performance.
Thanks to everyone at the mighty Jazz North East: to Paul Bream for securing the work permits; to Ken Drew for the photography; to Charlie McGovern for the recording; and especially to Wesley Stephenson for his indefatigable work organizing this event, and patiently and graciously addressing my queries. What a great team, great city, and what a great way to end the tour!
Special thanks to all the musicians who graciously shared the bill with Eris: to Eugene Chadbourne; to Sonja LaBianca and Heine Thorhauge Mathiasen; and to Herve Perez, Martin Archer and Peter Fairclough (a.k.a. Inclusion Principle). And thanks to John Pope for hosting an informal session the day after the tour.
And, of course, none of this would be possible without the awe-inspiring generosity of the backers of our Kickstarter project: Cath Roberts, Franziska Schroeder, Owen Green, Han-Ter Park, Richard Hollis, Tom Duff, Jan Langedijk, Thomas Buckner, Liam Nagle, Andrew Raffo Dewar, Randy McKean, Anton Hunter, Marte van der Loop, Ian Boswell, Nancy Meli Walker, David M. Morris, Nicholas Croft, Eva Zelig, Bart Mallio, Jeremy Clarke, Martin Pyne, Josh Sinton, Moon Soon Han, Eun-He Moon, Yoon-Mi Cho, 고항심, Katie O’Looney, Jamie Smith, Phil Burk, Andrea Wolper, Kyoko Kitamura, DIDI, Caroline Pugh, Edozie Edoga, Yu Seon Hee, Danny McCarthy, Richard Barrett, Leejiyoung, Ed Bennett, Young-Shin Park, Ga Hyun Noh, Inkyung Kim, Keith Stonell, Peter O’Doherty, Viv Corringham, Korhan Erel, Tony O’Connor, Vikram Kapur and Maneesha Chawala, and our anonymous backers.
And my warmest thanks to Nick and Catherine. From the unexpected to the unexpected: from concise chamber noise (Hamburg), to the forged-by-sheer-force-of-will difficult music (Copenhagen), to soaring, luxurious sci-fi spirituals (Cheltenham), to the creative reexaminations and revisitations (Derby), to the pitch-perfect distillations of discord and affinity (Newcastle). I could not have asked for better travel companions; artists who revel in the unknown and unknowable with spirit and good humor. A no-brainer (or plush-pony)—there be prawn crackers of silent screams—I think we kept the poodle warm on the toaster 😉
Finally, as always, thanks to all who came to listen. For those who continue to patronize these events at Stubnitz/VAHM, Bryggekælderen/Loco/Jvtlandt, Xposed, OUT FRONT!, and Jazz North East, know that you are part of something alive and so very, very special.
by Han-earl Park, Nick Didkovsky and Catherine Sikora
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…]
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.
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.”
The saxophonist displayed characteristic versatility with her instrument, while the guitarist played in his unique percussive style. The two had a resonance in their sound immediately, producing a pensive breathiness with foreboding overtones throughout the 40 minute performance. They seemed to cast away vulgar, simplistic attempts at clarity, preferring to open a liminal space between the benign expected and chaotic nothingness: a glimmer of deeper and deeper windows into the unexplained and undefined, all the while delving towards utter truths in their exploration. Laubrock’s percussive intensity that ultimately erupted into brilliant exclamations over Park’s mellower staccato ultimately merged into receding thunder. [Read the rest…]
As part of his regular JazzTokyo column reporting on the new New York “21st Century Improvised Music” scene, Cisco Bradley (with Japanese version of the text by Takeshi Goda) writes about Anomic Aphasia (“one of the most interesting recent releases” in which “they dot, occasionally splash, and, at times, tear their collective portrait as they momentarily build, then cut, rearrange, dismember”), and talks of some of my collaborations in New York:
[One of the most interesting recent releases is Anomic Aphasia (SLAM Productions), led by guitarist Han-earl Park, including music from two different trios. The first is Eris 136199 with guitarist Nick Didkovsky and saxophonist Catherine Sikora and the latter is Metis 9 with Sikora and reeds-player Josh Sinton. Released on February 19, this record features Park with his signature percussive approach to guitar in five improvisations. The album is bookended by jagged, angular pieces by Eris surrounding the more wholesome, fluid numbers by Metis. The record is a product of Park’s two-year stint in New York during which time he built working relationships with the above groups as well as figures such as saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, vocal artist Viv Corringham, and electronics master Andrea Parkins. On this record, Park paints a sparse canvas with his sound and inspires his bandmates to do likewise. Together, they dot, occasionally splash, and, at times, tear their collective portrait as they momentarily build, then cut, rearrange, dismember. After his return to Cork, Ireland in late 2013, Park has been sorely missed here in New York.]
Thanks to Cisco for the profile. I am very happy and privileged to presented among such an amazing group of creative people… including a few old comrades (Hey, Andrew, Josh, Ingrid, Mike!).
After his return to Cork, Ireland in late 2013, Park has been sorely missed here in New York.
Ah, makes me a little homesick for Brooklyn. Hope to be back one of these days!
The saxophonist [Laubrock] displayed characteristic versatility with her instrument, while the guitarist [Park] played in his unique percussive style. The two had a resonance in their sound immediately, producing a pensive breathiness with foreboding overtones throughout the 40 minute performance. They seemed to cast away vulgar, simplistic attempts at clarity, preferring to open a liminal space between the benign expected and chaotic nothingness: a glimmer of deeper and deeper windows into the unexplained and undefined, all the while delving towards utter truths in their exploration. Laubrock’s percussive intensity that ultimately erupted into brilliant exclamations over Park’s mellower staccato ultimately merged into receding thunder. [Read the rest…]