These are stories about failures. Failures of imagination, of peoples and groups, of how lofty goals can be deceptions. And those deceptions can be limiting, and affect violence. I want to move to a point where we can discuss, critically, both the utopian promises of the practices, processes, tribes and communities surrounding improvisation, and their destructive and violent potentials.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the above stories of improvisation-in-crisis are from events with self-professed lofty goals…. I think, in both cases, those of us involved took community, solidarity, resilience, trust and empathy for granted. It’s not just that the groundwork of trust and safety was never established for the group (although that’s part of it), but that we lazily subscribed to the dogma that the nature of improvisation would itself somehow save us. [Read the rest…]
Thanks to Laonikos Psimikakis-Chalkokondylis at The Sampler for asking me to write the piece. In writing this piece I’m indebted to exchanges and conversations with several improvisers. Big thanks, in particular, to Caroline Kraabel, Corey Mwamba, and Lauren Sarah Hayes.
The Eris 136199 tour was made possible through the support from Jazz North East, Jvtlandt, Jazz Club Loco, OUT FRONT!, Xposed Club, Verband für aktuelle Musik Hamburg, and MS Stubnitz, and the awe-inspiring generosity of the backers of our Kickstarter project:
Cath Roberts, Franziska Schroeder, Owen Green, Han-Ter Park, Richard Hollis, Tom Duff, Jan Langedijk, Thomas Buckner, Liam Nagle, Andrew Raffo Dewar, Randy McKean, Anton Hunter, Marte van der Loop, Ian Boswell, Nancy Meli Walker, David M. Morris, Nicholas Croft, Eva Zelig, Bart Mallio, Jeremy Clarke, Martin Pyne, Josh Sinton, Moon Soon Han, Eun-He Moon, Yoon-Mi Cho, 고항심, Katie O’Looney, Jamie Smith, Phil Burk, Andrea Wolper, Kyoko Kitamura, DIDI, Caroline Pugh, Edozie Edoga, Yu Seon Hee, Danny McCarthy, Richard Barrett, Leejiyoung, Ed Bennett, Young-Shin Park, Ga Hyun Noh, Inkyung Kim, Keith Stonell, Peter O’Doherty, Viv Corringham, Korhan Erel, Tony O’Connor, Vikram Kapur and Maneesha Chawala, and our anonymous backers.
Belated kudos—I’ve been stuck in a bit of behind-the-scenes scheming (more on that soon…)—to all involved in the recent series of performances (and workshop) in Cork…
Thanks to all the people and the partner organizations in helping us make music: to Paul O’Donnell and Kelly Boyle of FUAIM; to John Godfrey and Christine Dennehy at the UCC Music Department; to Franziska Schroeder and Simon Waters at SARC; and to the Arts Council for their generous support. Special thanks to Hugh McCarthy of CIT Cork School of Music for coming forward with a new venue help us patch a date, to Mike McGrath-Bryan and Ann Rea (at the Firkin Crane) who helped in that process, and to Jonathan Stock who supported the project right from its inception back in May 2016.
For the all their technical support and know-how, big thanks to David Bird (SARC), David Slevin (CSM), and John Hough (UCC). (Thanks also for the photography, John!) Thanks to Dave Whitla and Niall McGuinness for helping source a double bass for Dom. Thanks to Ros Steer, Kevin Terry and Megan Gallen for the essential FOH work. And a big thanks to Alex Fiennes for his sound creativity—always a pleasure!
As always the warmest thanks to everyone who came to listen.
Finally, thanks to all the performers: thanks to Dan Walsh (or CIMC) and Catherine Sikora for their faultless and unfaltering musicality, and to Dom, Mark and Caroline! As I said in an interview published in the Evening Echo the day before our last performance:
Here’s what the group sounds/looks like from where I sit on stage: Dom Lash’s confident and enthusiastic interjections in sound and line; Mark Sander’s unerring inventiveness—leaping any and all obstacles to musicality with gestures small and large; and Caroline Pugh’s pulling in-and-out of musical and linguistic spaces with her spontaneous conlangs.
Four performances in March. (Another mini-tour, but, hey, for the first time, I’ve actually tied-together an album release and a tour—never happens!) A privilege to have shared the stage with smart, creative performers, and to have been performing to some wonderful community of listeners. So, quick thanks to everyone on/off stage at Monmouth, London, Belfast and Derry….
Big thanks to all the venues, promoters and supporters. Thanks, in particular, to Lyndon Owen, a person of apparently limitless enthusiasm, and the team at Monmouth (what a wonderful community); to Peter O’Doherty at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin for the incredible work bootstrapping the Derry scene; to Eduard Solaz at IKLECTIK for running such a wonderful space; and to Brian Carson at Moving on Music, and to Simon Waters at SARC for presenting, promoting and hosting.
Thanks for David Bird at SARC for all his work above-and-beyond the call of duty. (Hey! I owe you and Craig a beer.) Kudos, David Lyttle for loaning us your double bass for a couple of days.
As always big, big thanks to everyone who came to listen. I’ll particularly remember the adventurous and genuinely interested listeners in Monmouth and Derry. And a special thanks to Jeremy (he’ll know why 😉 ).
Finally, thanks to all the performers: to James King for the gibberish; to the acoustic frenzy of FAINT (big thanks to Franziska for all her help (starting in February 2016!) getting the Belfast performance together—it’s been a long road, but worthwhile!); and, of course, biggest thanks to Dom, Mark and Caroline for the music (See you in April!)!
Faint has been playing free improvised music since 2007, recording their first album on the Creative Source label. For this performance the trio will be joined by Lisbon-based improviser Ricardo Jacinto, to make Faint+.
Sirene 1009 features improviser, guitarist and constructor Han-earl Park. The molten, musical core of the ensemble comprises of virtuosic bassist, composer and sound artist Dominic Lash, with arguably the most sought-after avant-jazz and free improvisation drummer of his generation, Mark Sanders. The experimental folk singer and electronics performer Caroline Pugh brings an additional layer of levity and exuberance to the already playful trio.
With such a diverse collection of performers, it is only wise to prepare for a performance that fragments and recombines musical lines, leaping unexpectedly between noise, melody, dissonance, harmony and rhythm.
Performed at the Sonic Arts Research Centre, Sirene 1009 will make full use of the cutting-edge audio space, for an experience that simply couldn’t be replicated in any other Belfast venue.
By Han-earl Park, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh
Thoughts and questions in response to Translating Improvisation’s symposium back in May from the POV of an institutionally unaffiliated, sometimes teacher, amateur scholar and anthropologist [previous twitter transcripts…]. Below the fold is an unedited twitter transcript of my observations from Just Improvisation. My original observations came in the form of tweets (some written ‘live’, most posted subsequently) via @hanearlpark that spanned the first panel discussions, Ellen Waterman’s keynote presentation, concert performances by Okkyung Lee and Maria Chavez, the Deep Listening Workshop with Pauline Oliveros, and the workshop-performance which forms the main subject of my discussions.