Grunting tonal bursts? atmospherics? weaving sinuous melody? In his review of Eris 136199’s Peculiar Velocities, Paul Acquaro at Free Jazz describes a “masterful slice of trifurcated dialog” by turns “haunting, gracious and grating”, with tones that cut “like an exacto-blade.” He writes that, by the third track (‘Peculiar Velocities I’) of the album:
The guitars have adopted a slightly different aesthetic, using choppy, brittle sounds, they lay down a fractured soundscape replete with sonic barbs and suspended tones. Sikora finds her footing on this shifting ground and plays freely. As the track continues into ‘Peculiar Velocities II’ the fascinating part is realizing how connected the three actually are: this is not parallel play, rather it connects deep in the sub-systems. [Read the rest…]
This music does stem from a knowledge and practice of free improvisation, and can fit inside various ‘art music’ categories, but on one level to me it feels as good as any ‘noise rock’ served up by Sonic Youth, The Dead C, or any new-wave influenced beat combo who tend to attract the ‘angular’ adjective. [Read the rest…]
Having previously selected Peculiar Velocities as one of the Best of 2020, Dave Foxall writes in aJazzNoise that:
It’s mind-twisting stuff. Intensely ‘musical’ (whatever that means) and harshly jarring, gently testing Broca’s convolutions, seeking points of entry and storage, delicately inserting sounds, probing for reaction, disconcertion and delight. (i.e. It gets inside your head)….
An uncomfortable joy, a can’t-be-reproduced-in-the-laboratory combination of rare elements, a new musical alloy, an ongoing experiment, the perfect distillation of uneasy listening. [Read the rest…]
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Surprises abound on this disc from the collision of three seemingly incompatible notions of time and rhythm in [the title track] ‘Peculiar Velocities’; to ‘Sleeping Dragon’ which insistently claims to be one thing but reveals itself to be something else; to the aural love letter to No Wave that is ‘D-Loop’….
Moments of absolute clarity, where two of us may deliberately hit exactly the same notes, are juxtaposed by equally comfortable bursts of raging chaos and easy silences.
— From the liner notes‡
Formed in New York in 2012, Eris 136199 is the chaotic-slamming one-person rhythm section of Han-earl Park (Sirene 1009), the deep melodic intelligence and big-tenor sound of Catherine Sikora (Clockwork Mercury), and the anthems of glitch, experimentalism and riffage of Nick Didkovsky (Doctor Nerve). Recorded during the trio’s 2019 European tour, Peculiar Velocities (BAF002) is Eris 136199’s third CD, and first studio album. The album is the follow-up to the eponymous Eris 136199 (BAF001, 2018) described as “like letting an insane brain surgeon in through your ear” (aJazzNoise, Best of 2018), and Anomic Aphasia (SLAMCD 559, 2015) which was described as “a beautiful noise” (KFJC 89.7 FM).
Recorded with a lean, efficient boldness by Sean Woodlock, and mastered by Richard Scott, the album captures music that leaps from wispy, delicate webs to massive weather-beaten mountains. Recorded over just three hours in a single live room, Peculiar Velocities catches Eris 136199 between the first date of the tour at The Vortex (London) and their performance at Jazz em Agosto (Lisbon).
Insectoid ASMR glitches to powerful ballads of weight and light; gentle, languorous shimmers to startling No Wave noise; raspy double-guitar hockets to gutted, dismantled chorales.
Han-earl Park is the instigator and mastermind behind Eris 136199, as well as groups including Sirene 1009 with Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and rit. (f.k.a. Caroline Pugh), and co-conspirator in projects with Richard Barrett and others. Park is the constructor of the machine improviser io 0.0.1 beta++, and of Metis 9, a playbook of improvisative tactics. He has performed with Wadada Leo Smith, Paul Dunmall, Evan Parker, Lol Coxhill, Josh Sinton, Louise Dam Eckardt Jensen, Ingrid Laubrock, Gino Robair, Tim Perkis, Andrew Drury, Pat Thomas and Franziska Schroeder. His ensembles have performed at festivals including Freedom of the City (London), Brilliant Corners (Belfast), ISIM (New York), CEAIT (Los Angeles) and Sonic Acts (Amsterdam).
Saxophonist, improviser and composer Catherine Sikora, known for her big sound and lyrical melodic work, works as a solo performer and with Eric Mingus, Enrique Haneine, Brian Chase, Han-earl Park, Ethan Winogrand, Christopher Culpo and Ross Hammond. In recent years Sikora has toured in Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia. She was a featured soloist in Eric Mingus’ radical reimagining of Tommy by the Who (Adelaide Festival 2015), and was artist in residence at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris in 2014 and in 2020.
Guitarist, composer, and computer music programmer Nick Didkovsky has composed music for Kathleen Supové, ETHEL, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Meridian Arts Ensemble, New Century Players, ARTE Quartett, as part of the Fred Frith Guitar Quartet, and his own bands Doctor Nerve, Vomit Fist, Häßliche Luftmasken, and others. His compositions and guitar performances appear on more than 50 records. For over 30 years, his avant-metal big band Doctor Nerve has fueled Didkovsky’s intricate compositions with the energy of rock, punching holes through the walls between heavy metal, contemporary music, and improvisation, and performing at festivals including Moers, FIMAV, and the Whitney Museum’s ‘Whitney Live.’ With computer music pioneer Phil Burk, Didkovsky developed the computer music language Java Music Specification Language (JMSL).
Ballad of Tensegrity I (≥ 5:12), Ballad of Tensegrity II (2:28), Peculiar Velocities I (3:46), Peculiar Velocities II (3:36), Sleeping Dragon (5:22), D-Loop I (≥ 6:16), D-Loop II (5:13), Polytely I (≥ 5:01), Polytely II: Breakdown (5:33), Anagnorisis I (2:09), Anagnorisis II (2:19). Total duration ≥ 46:54.
A big thanks to the backers of our Kickstarter project for their awe-inspiring generosity; helping bring this music to you! A massive thanks to Phillip A., Bruno Bissonnette, Mike Borella, Colin Cahill, Jeremy Clarke, Gary Couse, Nicholas Croft, Don Davis, Andrew Raffo Dewar, Tom Duff, Erik Ellestad, Lee Rice Epstein, Goldi, Owen Green, Rich Hollis, Martin Hoogeboom, Terry Kattleman, Gary W. Kennedy, Liam, Bartholomew R. Mallio, walt mattes, Andrew McKenzie, Rob Miller, Eric Mingus, John Minnock, david m morris, Neil, Matthew Nolan, Michael Rogers, Steffen Schindler, Ken Shimamoto, Craig Sines, j. sinton, Marte van der Loop, Tom Ward, Bernd Wimmer, aJazzNoise, and the Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music, and to our anonymous backers.
Track listing: Therianthropy I (≥ 3:43), Therianthropy II (8:56), Therianthropy III (3:55), Therianthropy IV (6:30), Adaptive Radiation I (6:44), Adaptive Radiation II (8:48), Adaptive Radiation III (5:54), Universal Greebly (10:58), Hypnagogia I (8:03), Hypnagogia II (4:45). Total duration ≥ 68:25.