Numbers is a high-energy, quick-footed, scatter-brained two hander—a looping, convoluted, interactive dance made audible—a musical fender bender involving electroacoustic complexities and (physio)logical splutter-cuts, jump-cuts and match-cuts—an intense white-knuckle extemporization unit—the duo of composer, performer and electronic musician Richard Barrett and guitarist, improviser and constructor Han-earl Park.
Celebrated for his dense, complex, intricate music, Richard Barrett is perhaps best known for his work with Paul Obermayer as part of FURT, as part of the Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, and his close collaborations with the Elision Ensemble. At home in both composition and improvisation, Barrett’s music increasingly problematizes the distinction between them. Described by Brian Morton as “a musical philosopher… a delightful shape-shifter”, Han-earl Park is drawn to real-time cyborg configurations in which artifacts and bodies collide. He has performed with some of the finest practitioners of improvised music, and is part of Mathilde 253 with Charles Hayward and Ian Smith. First performing together as duo in at AUXXX, Berlin, October 2010, Barrett and Park engage in a continuing improvisative conversation; alternately claiming autonomy and independence, and group action and solidarity.
And a big, big thanks to Richard Barrett for the pushing/pulling me. I’m in awe of Richard’s skill and craft, and I hope I managed to keep up with his energy and creativity. I recall, during our twenty-five minute duet, at least four points during which I fumbled the ball, but I still think he got some of the best playing out of me. It was certainly a mental and physical workout, and I leaned a lot during that performance. Hope to play again!
As always, thanks to all who came to listen/watch—it was a pleasure to share the journey.
Richard Barrett is equally active in electronic free improvisation and notated composition. Recent compositions have been premiered by the London Sinfonietta and the Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, and in 2010 he has performed at the Venice Biennale, Inventionen (Berlin), Jazz em Agosto (Lisbon), Spark (Minneapolis), Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ (Amsterdam), MusikTriennale Köln and elsewhere. He is currently a guest professor at the Instituut voor Sonologie in Den Haag, where he leads a workshop in electroacoustic improvisation. Current work in progress includes CONSTRUCTION, a two-hour composition for voices, twenty instruments and electronics, which is the latest result of his twenty-year collaboration with the Elision Ensemble and whose premiere is planned for November 2011. He and Paul Obermayer have been working together as the electronic duo FURT since 1986 and formed the electroacoustic octet fORCH in 2005. He also performs regularly with vocalist Ute Wassermann, in the Evan Parker Electroacoustic Ensemble and in many other contexts, and has recorded for NMC, Matchless, Unsounds, ECM, Creative Sources, Psi and others.
Improviser, guitarist and constructor Han-earl Park (박한얼) works from/within/around traditions of fuzzily idiomatic, on occasion experimental, mostly open improvised musics, sometimes engineering theater, sometimes inventing ritual. He feels the gravitational pull of collaborative, multi-authored contexts, and has performed in clubs, theaters, art galleries, concert halls, and (ad-hoc) alternative spaces in Denmark, England, Ireland, The Netherlands, Scotland and the USA. He is involved in ongoing collaborations with Bruce Coates, and with Franziska Schroeder, fifteen year long associations with Alex Fiennes and Murray Campbell. Recent performances include ensemble Mathilde 253 (Park, Charles Hayward and Ian Smith) with Lol Coxhill, a duo concert with Paul Dunmall, a trio with Kato Hideki and Katie O’Looney, an improvisative meeting with Thomas Buckner and Jesse Ronneau, and the performance of Pauline Oliveros’ ‘Droniphonia’ alongside the composer. He has appeared at festivals including Sonic Acts (Amsterdam), the Center for Experiments in Art, Information and Technology Festival (California), dialogues festival (Edinburgh), Sonorities (Belfast) and VAIN Live Art (Oxford). Park founded and curates Stet Lab, a monthly improvised music space in Cork, Ireland, and teaches improvisation at the UCC School of Music.