Guitarist Han-earl Park joins those improvisers who conceive of a playbook for interactive tactics….
As the guitarists clip staccato whines with ingot-like density from below the bridges and along the necks, her [Sikora’s] wistful soprano saxophone variations preserve the linear form, eventually making common cause with offbeat folksy strums from one string player. Hear Sikora’s final unaccompanied cadenza as potential human triumph over, or coexistence with, the widening machine-produced tremolo pumps. A folk-like overlay also makes its appearance on the concluding “Stopcock”, although the tenor saxophonist’s concentrated upwards snarls and magnetic near-string-tearing pops from guitar strings make the track so atmospheric as to become almost frightening.
The wailing vigor of Sinton’s bottom-pitched horns adds to the reeds’ aleatoric strategies on the other three
tracks. Nearly verbalized reed tones are so euphonious on “Flying Rods” that the subsequent layered lines nearly move into songbook territory. But Park’s parallel flanges and hard thumping keeps the results electronically plugged in as well as pointedly blended.
Sardonically printing a faux questionnaire about Metis 9 application in the CD booklet shows that Park champions music over theory. With associates like Sikora, Didkovsky and Sinton, it appears he can have it both ways. [Read the rest…]
When a recording is offered to me, I listen to it and consider, is SLAM the right place for it? I don’t have a style template to which the music must fit. The SLAM slogan has always been ‘Freedom of Music’. I remember years ago playing a concert with Lol [Coxhill]. He was asked to play a solo piece and was going to play ‘Autumn Leaves”. “But this is a free gig, Lol” someone said. “So,” said Lol “Am I free to play what I want?” What ties the SLAM catalogue together is the objective of preserving music that may otherwise be lost and making this music available to a listening public. To try to ‘educate’ or lead a public would be counterproductive but the music is there to be discovered. [Read the rest…]
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…]
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…]
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…]
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…]