We watch and listen carefully because we know we’re seeing a kind of manifesto in action. What is an automaton? A sketch, a material characterization of the ideas the inventor and the inventor’s culture have about some aspect of life, and how it could be. io and its kind are alternate beings born of ideas, decisions and choices. It is because io stands alone, an automaton, that the performance recorded on this CD not only is music, but is about music.
Sara Roberts (from the liner notes)
An extraordinary meeting between human and machine improvisers. Featuring the machine musician io 0.0.1 beta++ with guitarist Han-earl Park (Mathilde 253, Wadada Leo Smith) and saxophonists Bruce Coates (Birmingham Improvisers’ Orchestra, Paul Dunmall) and Franziska Schroeder (FAINT, Evan Parker), the recording is part critique and part playful exploration, both a boundary-breaking demonstration of socio-musical technologies and an ironic sci-fi parody.
Constructed by Han-earl Park, io 0.0.1 beta++ is a modern-day musical automaton. It is not an instrument to be played but a non-human artificial musician that performs alongside its human counterparts. io 0.0.1 beta++ represents a personal-political investigation of technology, interaction, improvisation and musicality. It whimsically evokes a 1950s B-movie robot—seemingly jerry-rigged, constructed from ad-hoc components including plumbing, kitchenware, speakers and missile switches—celebrating the material and corporeal.
The performances with this artificial musician highlight society’s entanglement with technology, demonstrate alternative modes of interfacing the musical and the technological, and illuminate the creative and improvisative processes in music. The performance is a radical and playful engagement with powerful and problematic dreams (and nightmares) of the artificial; a dream as old as the anthropology of robots.
With liner notes by the California-based interactive media artist Sara Roberts.
io 0.0.1 beta++ was constructed by Han-earl Park with funding from the Arts Council of Ireland, and with significant input and feedback from Bruce Coates, Franziska Schroeder, Murray Campbell, Sara Roberts and Phil Burk.
We would like to thank John Hough, Melanie L Marshall, Alex Fiennes, Kato Hideki, John Godfrey, Clair McSweeney, Riccardo Vallebella, Paul Everett, Mel Mercier, Kevin Terry and Stephanie Hough.
The recording preceded the performance at Blackrock Castle Observatory which was presented with funding from the Music Network Performance and Touring Award, and support from Blackrock Castle Observatory, the Castle Bar and Trattoria and the UCC Department of Music.
io 0.0.1 beta++ whimsically evokes a 1950s B-movie robot, constructed from ad-hoc components including plumbing, kitchenware and missile switches. Its celebrates the material and corporeal; embracing the localized and embodied aspects of sociality, performance and improvisation.
io 0.0.1 beta++ is an interactive, semiautonomous technological artifact that, in partnership with its human associates, performs a deliberately amplified staging of a socio-technical network—a network in which the primary protocol is improvisation. Together the cyborg ensemble explores the performance of identities, hybrids and relationships, and highlights the social agency of artifacts, and the social dimension of improvisation. Engineered by Han-earl Park, io 0.0.1 beta++ is a descendant, and significant re-construction, of his previous machine musicians, and it builds upon the work done with, and address some of the musical and practical problems of, these previous artifacts.
The construction of io 0.0.1 beta++ has been made possible by the generous support of the Arts Council of Ireland.
Improviser, guitarist and constructor Han-earl Park (박한얼) has been working within/from/around traditions of fuzzily idiomatic, on occasion experimental, mostly open improvised musics for over fifteen years, 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 Austria, Denmark, Germany, England, Ireland, The Netherlands, Scotland and the USA.
A constructor of low- and mid-tech electronic and software devices, and an occasional score-maker, he is interested in partial, and partially frustrating, context-specific artifacts; artifacts that amplify social relations and corporeal identities and agencies, and, in some instances, objects that obscure the location of the author.
He is part of Mathilde 253 with Charles Hayward and Ian Smith, is involved in collaborations with Bruce Coates, Franziska Schroeder, Alex Fiennes and Murray Campbell. Recent performances include Mathilde 253 with Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith; duo concerts with Paul Dunmall, and with Richard Barrett; trios with Matana Roberts and Mark Sanders, with Catherine Sikora and Ian Smith, and with Jin Sangtae and Jeffrey Weeter; as part of the Evan Parker-led 20-piece improvising ensemble; and the performance of Pauline Oliveros’ ‘Droniphonia’ alongside the composer. Park has also recently performed with Lol Coxhill, Pat Thomas, Corey Mwamba, Mark Trayle, Pedro Rebelo, Alexander Hawkins, Mike Hurley, Chick Lyall, Thomas Buckner and Kato Hideki. Festival appearances include Sonorities (Belfast), Sonic Acts (Amsterdam), dialogues festival (Edinburgh), VAIN Live Art (Oxford), and the Center for Experiments in Art, Information and Technology Festival (California). His recordings have been released by labels including SLAM Productions and DUNS Limited Edition.
Park founded Stet Lab, a monthly improvised music space in Cork, Ireland, and taught improvisation at the UCC Department of Music.
Bruce Coates has been heavily involved with free jazz, free improvisation and experimental music for more than 15 years. He has collaborated and performed with a long list of some of the best-known names in these areas. He is cofounder of the Birmingham Improvisers’ Orchestra, has a long standing working relationship in many different guises with guitarist Jamie Smith, a regular trio with David Ryan and bassist John Edwards and runs the monthly Birmingham FrImp night.
Recent collaborations have included regular performances with the saxophonist Paul Dunmall, appearing alongside Dunmall on his DUNS label (the only saxophonist to do so); the Paris-based Blackberry Orchestra led by Peter Corser and involving some of France’s best known improvisers including Denis Charolles and Guillaume Roy; and a CD with the Amsterdam based Mount Fuji Doom Jazz Corporation released on the Ad Noiseam label in 2007. Current ensembles include SCHH with Chris Hobbs, Mike Hurley and Walt Shaw; Magtal with Mark Sanders and Jonny Marks; and the performance art oriented Mutt with Marks and Shaw. His ever-growing eclectic list of collaborators also includes Tony Oxley, Lol Coxhill, Christian Wolff (performing alongside the composer at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London), Hilary Jeffrey, Phil Gibbs, Paul Rogers, Trevor Lines, John Coxon, Misterlee, Bong Ra, Simon Picard, Tony Bianco, Han-earl Park, Tony and Miles Levin and Tony Marsh.
Franziska Schroeder is a saxophonist and theorist. She received her saxophone training in Berlin and Australia and later from Marie-Bernadette Charrier / Conservatoire Supérieure in Bordeaux.
With her trio FAINT Schroeder released a CD of improvised and electroacoustic music in 2007 with Pedro Rebelo (piano and instrumental parasites) and Steven Davis (drums), and a second CD, both on the creative source label. Schroeder has performed with many international musicians including Pauline Oliveros, Stelarc, the Avatar Orchestra, Chris Brown, John Kenny, Tom Arthurs, Nuno Rebelo and Evan Parker.
She holds a PhD from the University of Edinburgh and has written for many international journals, including Leonardo, Organised Sound, Performance Research, Cambridge Publishing and Routledge. Her book “Re-situating Performance Within The Threshold: Performance practice understood through theories of embodiment” appeared in 2009. Schroeder also published a book on user-generated content for Cambridge Publishing Scholars in 2009.
Schroeder is on the development committee of NMSAT (Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline), and has been on the programming committee for the DRHA (Digital Resources in the Humanities and Arts) conference since 2009. She was the Program Chair for the DRHA 2010. Schroeder has been an AHRC Research Fellow and is now a Lecturer/RCUK Fellow at the School of Music and Sonic Arts in Belfast, where she coaches 3rd year recitalists and MA performance students.