Threads of metallic (in)coherence (reviews: Of Life, Recombinant)

Fractions of stillness close to being shattered? warped halos of reverberating pitches? a very seducing utopia? Massimo Ricci of Touching Extremes describes the experience of listening to Of Life, Recombinant (NEWJAiM9):

We listen, we wait. Breathing deeply, relaxed enough yet ready to be sucked in by some vortex of illusion. We absorb the blows of sudden mutations connected by threads of metallic (in)coherence. Twisted harmonics, miscellanies of tones whose fluidity belongs more to states of exhausted drowsiness than labyrinths of analytical overspill. Superimposed images gradually losing the distinctness we had laboriously achieved in our mind. Bursts of paroxysm that, in the long run, disclose unexpectedly appeasing qualities. Each spin adds further layers of interpretation, not to mention the sheer aural thrill. As per Park’s words, “I’d like to think that listeners might find their way into their own space, and find their world refracted through it.” There will be no problem with that, if that audience is awake and profoundly receptive. [Read the rest…]

I really appreciate that Massimo Ricci embraced the subjective and poetic. It’s the kind of approach that I’d hoped that reviewers would take when writing about this work.

Elsewhere, Ken Waxman of JazzWord describes a bullet-train journey of ‘sound mutations’ between moments of ‘guitar-ness’ and the guitar as ‘sourced textures’:

Sometimes bell-ringing strums, power crunches or mechanized drones are emphasized to the extent that expected guitar sounds are at a premium and arise unexpectedly…. The concept is evolved at its greatest length during the almost 29½-minute title track. With whispered sibilant vocalized noises sometimes snarling in the ether, muted rumbles inflate to voltage buzzes that include oscillated hisses with silent interludes before hardening into a wavering horizontal line. As over-amplified knob twisting tones and shaking bullet-train-like rumbles become aurally prominent besides the electronic impulses, by midpoint is appears that a psychedelic-era freak-out may be in the offing. Although the narrative echoes from harsh to harsher, yet following an elephantine-like chord variation fragmented parts blend into nearly opaque solid matter and abruptly stop. Like a notable train trip, gratification come from sights glimpsed… not the final destination. [Read the rest…]

And, writing in salt peanuts*, Jan Granlie finds “a kind of meditative music for sophisticated souls”, a music that is “consistently melancholic while simultaneously arch-modern and exciting”:

Og selv om dette er musikk som krever en del av lytteren, skal man gi gitaristen tid. Man skal lytte gjennom hans lydverden flere ganger og etter hvert plukke opp detaljer og, kanskje også, forstå hva den godeste gitaristen vil fortelle oss. For selv om dette ikke er det enkleste historiene, så er det fascinerende å følge med i hva han skaper av lydbilder med gitaren. Og i sistesporet, «Of Life. Recombinant», hvor han har «damer på rommet», og er platas hovedspor som varer i nesten en halv time, skjer det utrolig mange spennende ting man skal følge med på. [Read the rest…]

[About this album…] [Get the CD/download from NEWJAiM (Bandcamp)…] [All reviews…]

video discography

I’ve created a video discography—a YouTube playlist of video ‘trailers’ for selected albums. (This now joins the video playlist of selected performances and 13 hours or so of ‘recent’ performances.)

The albums currently represented in the playlist are Numbers (CS 201 cd) with Richard Barrett [more info (get the CD)…]; io 0.0.1 beta++ (SLAMCD 531) with Bruce Coates and Franziska Schroeder [more (CD/download)…]; and Mathilde 253 (SLAMCD 528) with Charles Hayward and Ian Smith plus Lol Coxhill [more (CD/download)…]; with more to come.

CD cover of ‘Numbers’ (CS 201 cd) with Richard Barrett and Han-earl Park (copyright 2012, Creative Sources Recordings)

Numbers (CS 201 cd) [details…]

Performers: Richard Barrett (electronics) and Han-earl Park (guitar). [About this duo…]

© + ℗ 2012 Creative Sources Recordings.

‘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.


09–22–14: embedded playlist starts with Numbers.

…and more CD reviews: io 0.0.1 beta++

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

Two more reviews of ‘io 0.0.1 beta++’ (SLAMCD 531) with two contrasting takes on the meeting between human and machine musicians. Ken Waxman, on the one hand, juxtaposes the “unobtrusive and egoless” machine with the human improvisers who display, for example, “thoughtful pauses”:

Han-earl Park personifying Dr. Frankenstein, has created a non-human artificial musician from ad-hoc components including speakers, kitchenware and missile switches. This CD is a literal record of how the non-human, prosaically named io 0. 0. 1 beta++, sounds in concert with flesh-and-blood counterparts….

io 0. 0. 1 beta++ is unobtrusive and egoless enough… to warble its staccato particle contributions without trying to engulf or show up the humans. Its contributions are unique enough on their own.

For instance on the initial ‘Pioneer: Variance’ and ‘Pioneer: Dance’ contrasting alto and soprano saxophone trills and squeaks are put into bolder relief as the otherworldly flutters, oscillated tones and flanged rotations of the machine are kept in a straight line by Park’s legato picking. The thoughtful pauses audible in the guitar playing confirms Park’s human-ness, especially when compared to the grainy whistles and juddering vibrations that arise from io 0. 0. 1 beta++….

Nonetheless the machine further demonstrates its versatility on the 59-second ‘4G’, with metallic muted trombone-like snores and even raises the question as to whether io 0. 0. 1 beta++ or extended saxophone techniques are creating the air pops and abrasive tongue flutters on subsequent tracks. In the main crackling reductionist resonations are attributed to its properties, while any legato or lyrical intermezzos are, more likely than not, propelled from the instruments and imaginations of full-fledged Homo sapiens.

Succinctly as the three demonstrate on ‘Return Trajectory’, during which io 0. 0. 1 beta++ appears to have taken five, an additional voice—human or otherwise—is necessary to create a pleasing sound picture. The guitarist’s connective down strokes plus the swelling layers of contrapuntal reed timbres are distinctive and solipsistic enough on their own. [Read the rest…]

— Ken Waxman (JazzWord)

Romualdo Del Noce at Jazz Convention, on the other hand, hears a “charmingly imperfect interplay” between human and machine musicians becomes a drama of the ‘human,’ the ‘other,’ and of cyborgs. An interplay in which Han-earl Park improvises a “rugged plateau” and “hyperacid notes”, and Franziska Schroeder enriches “the other half of the sax… with a naked and experimental voice, together in harmony and dissonance with parallel and converging streams of the thoroughbred free-player Bruce Coates”.

Le corde tese di Park imbastiscono un plateau scabro ma di lungo e persistente respiro, vivente nelle articolazioni e nella tessitura della sua fisica elettroacustica; mentre sul versante “meccanico” dell’instrumentarium i modi performanti di Franziska Schroeder arricchiscono l’altra metà del sax (a fianco delle Matana Roberts, Alexandra Grimal, Ingrid Laubrock etc.) di una voce sperimentante e nuda, in sintonia e insieme dissonanza con i flussi paralleli e convergenti del free-player purosangue Bruce Coates, e il tutto si dipana entro uno svolgimento a canovaccio libero e istantaneo, lungo il suo deviante svolgimento interrogandosi (senza eccessivo paradosso) se l’autentica “alienità” sia rispettivamente appannaggio della cosa o, piuttosto e viceversa, dell’ “umano”….

Insomma, l’avanguardia è tornata: non che fosse mai stata davvero latitante, ma gli interrogativi sonori, lacerati e critici, del trio pongono come oggetto radicale la disumanizzazione progressiva e le implicazioni del sempre più preponderante avvento della macchina, forse retrodatando le intenzioni alle prime decadi del secolo scorso e alle relative allarmistiche dottrine, ma riprendendole lungo le forme acutamente nervose e l’attenzione creativa dei medianici e cyborghiani performers e del loro interplay attrattivamente imperfetto. [Read the rest…] [English translation…]

— Romualdo Del Noce (Jazz Convention)

‘io 0.0.1 beta++’ (SLAMCD 531) with Han-earl Park, Bruce Coates and Franziska Schroeder is available from SLAM Productions. [More info…] [All reviews…] [Get the CD…]

arts council logo

The construction of io 0.0.1 beta++ has been made possible by the generous support of the Arts Council of Ireland.

…and more CD reviews: Mathilde 253

‘Mathilde 253’ (SLAMCD 528) CD cover
‘Mathilde 253’ (SLAMCD 528) CD cover

A couple of more reviews of Mathilde 253 (SLAMCD 528) including Ken Waxman at JazzWord who says that it’s a “textbook example of high-class improvising” (and I’m a “sharp-witted” guitarist):

Riveting in its scope and cohesion, this seven-track slice of Free Improv captures the sounds made one night at a London club by an ad-hoc assemblage of players, who ordinarily may not have been expected to jell so effectively….

Blowsy pedal-point from the trumpeter; shuffles and drags from [Charles] Hayward; and remarkable strategies from the guitarist which involve investing each string with a different weight as he coaxes tones from near the machine head all the way down past the bridge. Half-valve plunger work from [Ian] Smith includes bent note flutters; while the drummer’s railway signal-crossing-like bell ringing and repetitive cymbal slams provide perfect matches for the guitarist’s flattened string patterns and note extensions…. [Read the rest…]

— Ken Waxman (JazzWord)

How’s your Italian? Romualdo Del Noce apprently compares us to the four musketeers:

Ronzante, provocatorio, mai davvero eccessivo ma comunque sfuggente, il contributo di questi quattro moschettieri non è eccepibile sul piano del coinvolgimento, testimoniando un action-playing contemporaneamente colto, “palestrato” e pregno di flussi idiosincrasici. [Read the rest…]

— Romualdo Del Noce (Jazz Convention)

Mathilde 253’s eponymous debut CD (SLAMCD 528) available on SLAM Productions. [More info…] [All reviews…] [Get the CD…]