Expériences de résonnances et d’occupation de l’espace sonore. Très dramatique sans narration. Tout l’espace est occupé, toujours de manière surprenante, avec peu de sons, peu de matière (toutefois l’occupation peut se densifier sans rupture), travaillée finement, une dentelle de musique. Des allers et venues des sons comme de personnages sur ce qu’on peut vraiment appeler une scène musicale. Un travail de legato général, structurel, dans la rupture permanente des sons individuels. Un disque étonnant dans lequel les sons de l’automate sont reconnaissable sans être décalés. Les humains ne jouent pas comme s’ils étaient entre eux, le robot les influence, l’inverse est vrai. [Read the rest…]
Numbers is a complex melange of retro/futurist synth sounds, glitch electronica, guitar-sourced whammy-bar pitch-bending and hard-scrabble picking over bridge and pickups: a volatile stream of fractal note-data and complex electro-acoustics, all slippery switchbacks and other such abrupt transitions.
This makes for kaleidoscopic music, a rubato flux of superimposed noises in which lightning-fast progression from one galvanising sound event (noise thru silence) to another, and the musicians’ constant attention to overall form, carry far more weight than developmental foresightedness or melodic thrust: it’s music of the moment, a process of constantly tweaked evolutionary recombination.
The duo are tenacious in their work of sonic abiogenesis, and the six Numbers pieces are all longish…. The sound events comprised by tracks like “Ankpla” and “Uettet” are as disjointed as they are contiguous, but the overriding sense impression is that each whole flows nicely, and the album as a whole rewardingly absorbs attention. [Read the rest…]
The interaction between io and the three other players is really supple… and I like very much the gritty complexity of io’s vocabulary, and the fine sense of shaping, timbrally and in terms of gesture….
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…]
More reviews of ‘io 0.0.1 beta++’ (SLAMCD 531) including Vittorio’s big thumbs-up at MusicZoom where he hails the recordings as a “total hymn to modernity”, in which the human musicians “throw themselves with passion on the ideas from the inanimate object”, and the listener will be “fully repaid by that which is a successful experiment”:
Il titolo da romanzo o di sigla di messaggio segreto è il nome della macchina sparamusica/rumori che fa bella mostra di sè sul palco e che senza alcun intervento dei musicisti intorno tira giù il suo catalogo di suoni con cui gli altri si trovano a confrontarsi. Un´idea che sarebbe piaciuta ai futuristi di omai un secolo fa, un inno totale alla modernità. Altro che strumenti acustici!
I tre musicisti coinvolti insieme alla macchina sono Han-earl Park alla chitarra, Bruce Coates al sax alto e sopranino e Franziska Schroeder al sax soprano. Non hanno nessuna paura per il confronto e così si avventano con passione sulla proposta dell´oggetto inanimato.
La session completamente improvvisata richiede molta attenzione da parte dell´ascoltatore, ripagata completamente da quello che è un esperimento riuscito. [Read the rest…] [English translation…]
Meanwhile, what to me is ‘playful’ may be ‘uncompromising’ to someone else:
Fra segmenti più atmosferico-minimali, e altri invece più frammentati e nervosi, si procede così, talora arrestandosi a una sorta di limbo emozionale, di quieta truculenza, peraltro sempre ammirevole per coerenza e rigore. [Read the rest…]
On the other hand, Ed Pinsent of The Sound Projector highlights the (fun, playful) material and interactive dimensions in the meeting between human and machine musicians:
The guitarist Park, sometime member of Mathilde 253 whose fine CD impressed us in March this year, is joined by two improvising saxophonists, Bruce Coates (from the Birmingham Improvisers’ Orchestra) and Franziska Schroeder (member of the trio FAINT), and the record documents the meeting of this trio with the “machine musician” io 0.0.1 beta++. This device is an automaton, a musical robot if you will, built by Mr Park; it’s not just another computer programme that plays random sounds or builds an “interactive” space for other laptop musicians, but actually occupies physical space and performs on the stage alongside its human counterparts. Shades of Pierre Bastien…. The multi-media artist Sara Roberts from California writes the liner notes and she does a much better job than I possibly could in articulating the cultural resonances of this man-meets-automaton event. [Read the rest…]
And Rui Eduardo Paes hears a meeting in which the human musicians bring their varied experience, in avant-jazz and in the space between electroacoustics and contemporary music, and in which the automaton “interactively reacting to what they do and even giving them cues”:
Os músicos de carbono envolvidos ora trabalham na área do ‘avant-jazz’, ora na da electroacústica de fronteira com a música contemporânea: Park com Charles Hayward, Wadada Leo Smith e Paul Dunmall, Coates com Tony Oxley, Lol Coxhill e o compositor indeterminista Christian Wolff, e Schroeder ao lado do pianista português Pedro Rebelo e em colaborações com Pauline Oliveros e Evan Parker. Todas essas experiências se reflectem em temas como ‘Ground-Based Telemetry’ e ‘Laplace: Instability’, sempre com o io a reagir interactivamente ao que fazem e até a dar-lhes deixas. [Read the rest…] [English translation…]
Closing track here, Return Trajectory is a good for instance of the excellent rapport existing among the aforementioned [“flesh-and-blood”] players, whose parallel traveling seems to suggest a good dose of telepathy—check the final moments, the two winds going towards a note in teleological mode. This is the track that, in my opinion, clearly shows more than a trace of these musicians’ formative influences, with Schroeder’s soprano reminding me of Evan Parker (elsewhere on the album she sounds quite more personal), while Coates’ alto is clearly reminiscent of the zig-zag wondering of Anthony Braxton (an influence that is also quite apparent elsewhere on the album, both on alto and sopranino). Han-earl Park’s guitar sits somewhere halfway between Joe Pass and Derek Bailey, being quite aware of the jazz vocabulary and the art of comping, though of course filtered through a modern sensibility, starting with timbre, but not as ‘indifferent’ to the surrounding as Bailey’s sometimes could be.
Were the album as good as its closing track, well… we’d only have a good album, nothing more. But—surprise!—as per its title, we have an ‘unknown quantity’ called io 0.0.1 beta++: a ‘musical automaton’ created by Han-earl Park whose improvising—so rich when it comes to timbres (which are sometimes more than a bit old-fashioned, a fact that goes well with its bizarre physical aspect, so reminiscent of 50s sci-fi movies), so mysterious when it comes to its decision-making—works as a valuable stimulus for its fellow musicians.
If on an aesthetic plane the main parallel that I can trace (one that I hope can be useful to readers) is with mid-80s Company, here the work as it’s offered to the listener appears to highlight the issue of the decisional process which is at the basis of improvisation when seen as a conscious ‘discipline of choices’. And in the CD liner notes penned by Sara Roberts I seemed to detect more than an echo of those debates which flourish about the famous (?) Turing Test. [Read the rest…] [In Italian…]
François Couture’s review of the “faux-quartet” with the “créature mécanique”io 0.0.1 beta++ which is “physically present on stage… and it interacts and improvises with the human improvisers”:
Ce quatuor (ou faux-quatuor, à la limite) propose des improvisations libres exigeantes faisant appel à de nombreuses techniques étendues, des pièces aux gestes décomposés, aux timbres déstabilisants, mais à la synergie impressionnante.
This quartet (or faux-quartet, if you prefer) performs demanding free improvisation calling on a range of extended techniques. Pieces of dismantled gestures, destabilizing timbres, and impressive synergy. [Read the rest…]
…More rare is that these three human musicians are improvising with a machine called io 0.0.1 beta…. Io was constructed by Han-earl Park and is an integral part of this quartet…. Io… adds its own diverse yet fractured sounds to the blend. On “Pioneer: Dance” Mr. Coates plays slightly twisted alto sax while io adds similar textural sounds. If I didn’t know better, I would think that this was a successful session of European improv by a quartet of gifted yet thoughtful [human] players who take their time to explore similar textures and terrain together. I am not so sure that machines will ever take the place of human improvisers in the future, however this disc shows that someone is working in the right direction. [Read the rest…]