Balancing act between your body and physics

Jazz North East has just released The Sound of Science documentary by Euan Preston from The Palace of Science / Objectiv Pictures.

There’s this balancing act between your body and the mechanics of elastic collisions, and Newtonian physics, and all those things, and you’re creating music from balancing these things out…. [Watch to the rest…]

Sound of Science took place at Gosforth Civic Theatre in March 2022. If you missed my talk and performance as part of the festival, you can watch the archived livestream.

The word I use sometimes is ‘interface.’ So if you start thinking about creativity as this thing that happens between surfaces, that’s interesting in a way that the idea of the single auteur is much less interesting…. And as an artist you can do interesting things by kind of shifting you position within that boundary. [Watch to the rest…]

Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe

Funded by Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

Beauty into dread-inducing dreamscapes and the detritus of a creative life

A new galaxy in Park’s universe? David Lynch vs. Andrei Tarkovsky? And what’s hidden that will be unearthed? Lee Rice Epstein reviews Of Life, Recombinant (NEWJAiM9) in Free Jazz:

Of Life, Recombinant tells multiple stories at once, opening up a wide aperture and displaying stunningly drawn vistas. The four-song suite makes for a fantastic headphone album, as small details invite your attention ever more deeply throughout…. The fugue-like state is but one-layer of Park’s suite. As they progress, ‘Game: Mutation,’ ‘Naught Opportune,’ ‘Are Variant,’ and the 30-minute ‘Of Life, Recombinant’ continually pitch one direction, pivot on multiple axes, and branch out in new directions. That’s true as much for the sonics—with pre-recorded material mixed and matched over itself—as it is for the emotional throughlines, in some cases leading listeners down long corridors of chilly anticipation, in others playing up the subtle intimacy of quiet tones…. And unmistakably, Park’s guitar is itself a treasure chest of delights—long, thrilling sections of beauty fold into chilly, dread-inducing dreamscapes, each of which will enchant and delight in equal measure. [Read the rest…]

[About this album…] [Get the CD/download from NEWJAiM (Bandcamp)…] [All reviews…]

Creative Dead Ends in Music

Elsewhere, J. Vognsen, writing in Perfect Sound Forever, asked composers and performers (including myself) for our thoughts on failure in the context of creative work: “Why does some music end up not in the ears of listeners but in the dustbin, or perhaps never leaving the mind of the creator in the first place?”

Every piece I do leaves behind detritus of a creative life: abandoned exercises, studies, mockups, etcetera. A lot of my time and energy as a performer, specifically as an improviser, is spent in preparation; off-stage, in practice and in study. Testing things out, sometimes speculatively, sometimes with a particular goal in mind, sometimes creating studies to more clearly define a problem or problematic; these exercises and studies can help me hone in on a particular technique or strategy, they can help me discover better ways of getting from A-to-B….

But sometimes the creative detritus can be unplanned and have a greater impact—a greater impact on energy expended, on time and effort. [Read the rest…]

The piece is very much worth reading. In particular, I enjoyed reading, and really related to, Carla Kihlstedt’s take (“my creative failures… fall into three basic categories: The Hollow, The Half-baked and The Missed Marks”), and Nick Didkovsky’s telling of The CHORD Origin Story is a total blast.

If you enjoyed that piece, please also check out some of my recent written work including ‘Broken Families: Collectivism, Violence, Imagined Utopias and Improvisation,’ and my reflections on working through times of uncertainty, anxiety, and of doubt.

Poetic, messy, terrifying and mesmerizing (article in Jazz Right Now)

As part of the ‘New Work’ series, Jazz Right Now has published my piece on work(ing) during these pandemic times; times of “uncertainty, anxiety, and of doubt.” In the article, I reflect on the perverse desire for artistic ‘productivity’; the breaches between public and private spaces; the artistic commemoration this time, this condition; and the need for creative work that frustrates:

The rogue strand of RNA danced its dance with humanity. It’s beautiful in its own way. Poetic—messy, terrifying, mesmerizing—in its own way.

R-nought.

New words and expressions entered the vernacular. Old words came to denote less—more specific things—but encapsulate and carry more meaning: of fear, uncertainty, yes, but also fascination. We’re being transformed, across porous borders, through language. Soon, those of us who lived through this, might share these as shorthands. ‘Variant’ means something. It has a texture and resonance and feel and vibe that can’t be captured by a Merriam-Webster.

I reflect on how pre-pandemic cultures (and culture-industrial complexes), with its obsession with authority and coherence and narrative, ill prepared us for the complexity and discord and messiness of the present. That maybe if we had held closer these prickly, uncomfortable, inconvenient, noisy heterophonies we, as societies, may have been more capable of facing the chaos, or dancing the dance of humanity v. RNA. [Read the rest…]

Thanks to Cisco Bradley for inviting me to contribute to this series, and thanks so much to Cristina Marx for the photography.

Watch the rest of the #lockdownminiature series on Twitter and Facebook.

Out now on NEWJAiM Recordings

cover art (copyright 2021 NEWJAiM)

Of Life, Recombinant (NEWJAiM9) [details…]

Personnel: Han-earl Park (guitar) with Anne Wellmer (voice on track 4).

Track listing: Game: Mutation (5:38); Naught Opportune (≥ 10:42); Are Variant (≥ 8:06); Of Life, Recombinant (≥ 29:22). Total duration ≥ 53:48.

© 2021 NEWJAiM Recordings.
℗ 2021 Han-earl Park.

Thanks: Derry, Dublin, Letterkenny, Leeds, London and Newcastle, March 2022

Photo collage: Han-earl Park, Una Lee, rit., Lara Jones and Pat Thomas.
Photos © 2022 Pete Woodman (Han-earl Park), © 2022 Mickey Rooney (Una Lee and rit.), © 2022 Cath Roberts (Han-earl Park, Lara Jones and Pat Thomas), and © 2022 Han-earl Park (backgrounds).

Apologies for the delay in posting these acknowledgements (but no pandemic-era tour would be complete without at least a little drama), but I would like to quickly post a note of thanks to everyone who made my return, after two+ years, to touring.

A warm, heartfelt thanks to everyone who joined me on my travels, to those who worked behind-the-scenes to make the performances happen, to my hosts, to my fellow performers, and to those who came to listen. Thanks to everyone at Gosforth Civic Theatre, Hyde Park Book Club, Unit 44/Kirkos Ensemble, Regional Cultural Centre Letterkenny, and Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin. Special thanks to Fielding, Shaun and Conal at Cafe OTO, and to Laura, Pete, Oli and Chris at Fusebox. Shoutouts to Johnny Hunter and his Pale Blue Dot ensemble, to Crawler’s Kyra, and to Corey and Graeme, and I’m grateful to have shared the stage with Lara and Pat, and with rit. and Una.

And finally I would like to thank Wesley Stephenson at Jazz North East, and Peter O’Doherty of Northern Lights Project for their enthusiasm, hard work, genuine love of the music, and care for the artists who make it. In Wesley and Peter, I know two of the greatest supporters of creative musicians and adventurous listeners. Thank you so very much.

I am truly grateful to everyone’s support. Despite the difficulties of traveling and performing in the present-day condition, it has been a pleasure to bring my music to you.

Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe

Funded by Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

Out now on NEWJAiM Recordings

cover art (copyright 2021 NEWJAiM)

Of Life, Recombinant (NEWJAiM9) [details…]

Personnel: Han-earl Park (guitar) with Anne Wellmer (voice on track 4).

Track listing: Game: Mutation (5:38); Naught Opportune (≥ 10:42); Are Variant (≥ 8:06); Of Life, Recombinant (≥ 29:22). Total duration ≥ 53:48.

© 2021 NEWJAiM Recordings.
℗ 2021 Han-earl Park.

Threads of metallic (in)coherence (reviews: Of Life, Recombinant)

Fractions of stillness close to being shattered? warped halos of reverberating pitches? a very seducing utopia? Massimo Ricci of Touching Extremes describes the experience of listening to Of Life, Recombinant (NEWJAiM9):

We listen, we wait. Breathing deeply, relaxed enough yet ready to be sucked in by some vortex of illusion. We absorb the blows of sudden mutations connected by threads of metallic (in)coherence. Twisted harmonics, miscellanies of tones whose fluidity belongs more to states of exhausted drowsiness than labyrinths of analytical overspill. Superimposed images gradually losing the distinctness we had laboriously achieved in our mind. Bursts of paroxysm that, in the long run, disclose unexpectedly appeasing qualities. Each spin adds further layers of interpretation, not to mention the sheer aural thrill. As per Park’s words, “I’d like to think that listeners might find their way into their own space, and find their world refracted through it.” There will be no problem with that, if that audience is awake and profoundly receptive. [Read the rest…]

I really appreciate that Massimo Ricci embraced the subjective and poetic. It’s the kind of approach that I’d hoped that reviewers would take when writing about this work.

Elsewhere, Ken Waxman of JazzWord describes a bullet-train journey of ‘sound mutations’ between moments of ‘guitar-ness’ and the guitar as ‘sourced textures’:

Sometimes bell-ringing strums, power crunches or mechanized drones are emphasized to the extent that expected guitar sounds are at a premium and arise unexpectedly…. The concept is evolved at its greatest length during the almost 29½-minute title track. With whispered sibilant vocalized noises sometimes snarling in the ether, muted rumbles inflate to voltage buzzes that include oscillated hisses with silent interludes before hardening into a wavering horizontal line. As over-amplified knob twisting tones and shaking bullet-train-like rumbles become aurally prominent besides the electronic impulses, by midpoint is appears that a psychedelic-era freak-out may be in the offing. Although the narrative echoes from harsh to harsher, yet following an elephantine-like chord variation fragmented parts blend into nearly opaque solid matter and abruptly stop. Like a notable train trip, gratification come from sights glimpsed… not the final destination. [Read the rest…]

And, writing in salt peanuts*, Jan Granlie finds “a kind of meditative music for sophisticated souls”, a music that is “consistently melancholic while simultaneously arch-modern and exciting”:

Og selv om dette er musikk som krever en del av lytteren, skal man gi gitaristen tid. Man skal lytte gjennom hans lydverden flere ganger og etter hvert plukke opp detaljer og, kanskje også, forstå hva den godeste gitaristen vil fortelle oss. For selv om dette ikke er det enkleste historiene, så er det fascinerende å følge med i hva han skaper av lydbilder med gitaren. Og i sistesporet, «Of Life. Recombinant», hvor han har «damer på rommet», og er platas hovedspor som varer i nesten en halv time, skjer det utrolig mange spennende ting man skal følge med på. [Read the rest…]

[About this album…] [Get the CD/download from NEWJAiM (Bandcamp)…] [All reviews…]

Reminder: Han-earl Park, rit. and Una Lee (Belfast, Derry, Dublin and Letterkenny)

Han-earl Park, rit. and Una Lee
© Jazz em Agosto

This week! performances by Han-earl Park, rit. and Una Lee in Dublin (Thursday, March 24, 2022), Letterkenny (Friday, March 25), Derry (Saturday, March 26) and Belfast (Sunday, March 27). [Get tickets…]

Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe

Funded by Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

Bodies, agency, ‘the material,’ automata, cyborgs and improvisation

“Once I have those parameters, I can reconfigure the body and the instrument so it kind of runs itself….

“The word I use sometimes is ‘interface.’ So if you start thinking about creativity as this thing that happens between surfaces, that’s interesting in a way that the idea of the single auteur is much less interesting…. And as an artist you can do interesting things by kind of shifting you position within that boundary.” [Listen to the rest…]

Tonight

Tuesday, March 22, 2022, at 8:00pm: Han-earl Park performs at Hyde Park Book Club (27–29 Headingley Lane, Leeds LS6 1BL).

Also coming up

Han-earl Park is also performing with rit. and Una Lee, in Dublin (24), Letterkenny (25), Derry (26) and Belfast (27). See the performance diary for details.

Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe

Funded by Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

Reminder: The Sound of Science, Newcastle (plus London, Leeds, Dublin, Letterkenny, Derry and Belfast)

Platinum electron configuration (© 2022 Andrew Delanoy and Wesley Stephenson)
© 2022 Andrew Delanoy and Wesley Stephenson

This Saturday (March 19, 2022), at 7:00pm (doors: 6.30pm): Han-earl Park performs as part of The Sound of Science event at Gosforth Civic Theatre (Regent Farm Road, Gosforth, Newcastle NE3 3HD). The event is free, but booking is recommended. [Get tickets…]

Also in March 2022

Han-earl Park is also performing in London with Lara Jones and Pat Thomas (March 20), performing a solo set in Leeds (22), and, with rit. and Una Lee, in Dublin (24), Letterkenny (25), Derry (26) and Belfast (27). See the performance diary for details.

Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe

Funded by Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

More #lockdownminiature(s)

I think where Nº 8, for me, fell short is how it was unable to engage with the vernacular of wah-wah guitar. I mean, if you wanted to strip the wah of all its funk, that was how to do it. So Nº 11, I hope, goes some way toward redressing that. [Read the rest…]

Watch more miniatures in the series on Twitter and Facebook.

Out now on NEWJAiM Recordings

cover art (copyright 2021 NEWJAiM)

Of Life, Recombinant (NEWJAiM9) [details…]

Personnel: Han-earl Park (guitar) with Anne Wellmer (voice on track 4).

Track listing: Game: Mutation (5:38); Naught Opportune (≥ 10:42); Are Variant (≥ 8:06); Of Life, Recombinant (≥ 29:22). Total duration ≥ 53:48.

© 2021 NEWJAiM Recordings.
℗ 2021 Han-earl Park.

Performance diary (Belfast, Derry, Dublin, Letterkenny, Leeds, London, Newcastle) 030622

upcoming performances
date venue time details
March 19, 2022 Gosforth Civic Theatre
Regent Farm Road
Gosforth
Newcastle NE3 3HD
England
7:00pm (doors: 6:30pm) Han-earl Park (guitar). A solo performance, plus a discussion (with Corey Mwamba) as part of The Sound of Science. Also performing and presenting: Johnny Hunter’s Pale Blue Dot with Mark Hanslip, Seth Bennett, Gemma Bass, Aby Vulliamy and Michael Bardon. Presented by Jazz North East.
Free but ticketed.
[Details…]
[Gosforth Civic Theatre page/tickets…]
Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe
March 20, 2022 Cafe OTO
18–22 Ashwin Street
Dalston
London E8 3DL
England
8:00pm Han-earl Park (guitar), Lara Jones (saxophone) and Pat Thomas (keyboards).
£12, £10 advance, £6 members.
[Details…] [OTO page/tickets…]
Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe
March 22, 2022 Hyde Park Book Club
27–29 Headingley Lane
Leeds LS6 1BL
England
8:00pm Han-earl Park (guitar). Also performing: James Banner and Stephanie Lamprea. Presented by Fusebox.
£5 (free to Leeds Conservatoire students).
Details to follow…
Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe
March 24, 2022 Unit 44
44 Prussia Street
Dublin
Ireland
7:00pm Han-earl Park (guitar) plus Una Lee (voice and electronic) and rit. (voice and electronics).
Presented by Northern Lights Project.
[Details…] [Get tickets…]
Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe
March 25, 2022 Regional Cultural Centre
Cove Hill, Port Road
Gortlee
Letterkenny
Ireland
7:00pm Han-earl Park (guitar) plus Una Lee (voice and electronic) and rit. (voice and electronics).
Presented by Northern Lights Project.
[Details…] [Get tickets…]
Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe
March 26, 2022 Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin
37 Great James Street
Derry BT48 7DF
N. Ireland
7:00pm Han-earl Park (guitar) plus Una Lee (voice and electronic) and rit. (voice and electronics).
Presented by Northern Lights Project.
[Details…] [Get tickets…]
Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe
March 27, 2022 The Black Box
8–22 Hill Street
Belfast BT1 2LA
N. Ireland
7:00pm Han-earl Park (guitar) plus Una Lee (voice and electronic) and rit. (voice and electronics).
Presented by Northern Lights Project.
[Details…] [Get tickets…]
Berlin Senate Department for Culture and EuropeEVENT CANCELLED.

Continue reading “Performance diary (Belfast, Derry, Dublin, Letterkenny, Leeds, London, Newcastle) 030622”

Han-earl Park at The Sound of Science, Newcastle

Platinum electron configuration (© 2022 Andrew Delanoy and Wesley Stephenson)
© 2022 Andrew Delanoy and Wesley Stephenson

Saturday, March 19, 2022, at 7:00pm (doors: 6.30pm): Han-earl Park performs as part of The Sound of Science event at Gosforth Civic Theatre (Regent Farm Road, Gosforth, Newcastle NE3 3HD):

Cyborgs, bodies, chaos, simulation and improvisation…

Han-earl Park will visit Newcastle to perform solo, and discuss [with Corey Mwamba and Graeme Wilson] his ongoing interest in chaotic systems, computation, and the collision of physiology and physics in his music, from guitar technique to the construction of musical automata.

Also performing will be Johnny Hunter’s ‘Pale Blue Dot’ Sextet (Johnny Hunter: drums; Mark Hanslip: saxophone; Seth Bennett: bass; Gemma Bass: violin; Aby Vulliamy: viola; and Michael Bardon: ’cello).

Set order
  1. 7.00pm: Han-earl Park (guitar).
  2. 7.40pm: Panel Discussion: Han-earl Park/Corey Mwamba/Graeme Wilson.
  3. 8.15pm: Panel Discussion: Johnny Hunter/Corey Mwamba/Graeme Wilson.
  4. 8.40pm: Johnny Hunter’s ‘Pale Blue Dot.’

The event is free, but advance booking is strongly recommended. [Get tickets…]

See the performance diary for up-to-date info. [Gosforth Civic Theatre page…] [Facebook event…]

The Sound of Science

To celebrate British Science Week 2022 music promoters Jazz North East are proud to present ‘The Sound of Science.’ With additional support from Newcastle University’s Faculty of Science and Gosforth Civic Theatre, audiences are welcomed to experience a series of concerts and discussions drawing connections between science and music.

Programmed events will specifically explore the interplay of chemistry, physics, ecology and biology, and the ways in which these disciplines have been employed by, and communicated through, composers and musicians. We will hear from 28 musicians, artists and scientists across the four day event.

“From climate change to vaccines, the importance of science to the way we live has never been clearer. Its relationship to music however is rarely explored and it is for that reason we have assembled those working in and between these two seemingly disparate fields. Our events shine a spotlight on the role of science within music composition and improvisation, with a view to inspiring audiences new to one or both subjects.

“Presented and discussed through music making practice, this project aims to increase understanding of science and its social implications, and build audience confidence in discussing these issues. Inviting all ages and every level of expertise, the festival will spark new ideas around how science and music can be communicated and combined.” — Wesley Stephenson (Festival Producer)

Acknowledgements and Thanks

Jazz North East gratefully acknowledges and thanks the support of Arts Council England, Golsoncott Foundation, Scops Arts Trust, the Royal Society of Chemistry, Newcastle University Faculty of Science, British Science Association, Soapbox Science, Euan Preston and Palace of Science, Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe, Fonds Podium Kunsten Performing Arts Fund NL, Jazz North, Sound and Music, Sunderland Culture, New Jazz and Improvised Music Recordings and Gosforth Civic Theatre.

Also in March 2022

Han-earl Park is also performing in and Leeds, and in London with Lara Jones and Pat Thomas, and, with rit. and Una Lee, in Dublin, Letterkenny, Derry and Belfast. See the performance diary for details.

Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe

Funded by Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

Han-earl Park, rit. and Una Lee: Belfast, Derry, Dublin and Letterkenny

Han-earl Park, rit. and Una Lee
HeP photo © Jazz em Agosto / Petra Cvelbar

Expect “a cyborg virtuosity in which mind, body and artifact collide noisily” (Han-earl Park), “tempestuous, syllable-timed glossolalia” (rit.) and “sounds, stories and sensations” (Una Lee).

Coming up in March 2022: performances by Han-earl Park, rit. and Una Lee in Dublin, Letterkenny, Derry and Belfast. See the performance diary for up-to-date info.

Big, big thanks to Peter O’Doherty at Northern Lights Project for putting these events together. I’m very excited to share the stage again with rit., and, for the first time, with Una!

Presented by Northern Lights Project in partnership with Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, and supported and funded by PRS Foundation, Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, and Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

Also in March 2022

I’m also performing in Newcastle, London (with Lara Jones and Pat Thomas), and Leeds. See the performance diary for details.

Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe

Funded by Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe.