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.
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.
2:00pm: Welcome & Introduction (Paul Stapleton and Sara Ramshaw)
2:15pm: Panel 1: ‘Child Protection as Social Practice: Challenges and Possibilities’
Chaired by: Marcella Leonard (Independent Social Worker) with: Denise McBride QC (Senior Barrister) and John Devaney (Senior Lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast – School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work)
3:45pm: Coffee/Tea Break
4:00pm: Keynote 1: Ellen Waterman, ‘Improvisation and the Audibility of Difference’
5:00pm: Wine Reception
5:30pm: Double-bill concert: Okkyung Lee and Maria Chavez
Sat 30 May 2015
10:00am: Deep Listening Workshop (led by Pauline Oliveros)
11:00am: Parallel Workshops: Musical Improvisation / Hydra (Legal Improvisation)
Improvisation workshop musicians: Paul Stapleton, Adnan Marquez-Borbon, Maria Chavez, Okkyung Lee, Pauline Oliveros, Ellen Waterman, Tom Arthurs, Matt Bourne, Dave Kane, Steve Davis, Phil Smyth, Simon Rose, Michael Speers, Dennis Peters, Han-earl Park, Ed Devane, Bennett Hogg and Rachel Austin
1:00pm: Lunch break
2:00pm: Panel 2: Informal performances and open discussion about workshops
3:00pm: Keynote 2: Pauline Oliveros, ‘The Ethics and Practice of Listening’
4:15pm: Panel 3 & Plenary Discussion: ‘Imagining the Future’
Chaired by Georgina Born (Professor of Music and Anthropology, Oxford) with: Siobhan Keegan QC (President of the Family Bar Association of Northern Ireland)
5:15pm: Closing Remarks (Sara Ramshaw and Paul Stapleton)
Music by Han-earl Park, Catherine Sikora and Josh Sinton.
Recorded live, March 26, 2013 at Freddy’s Bar, Brooklyn.
Performance presented as part of On The Way Out curated by Michael Evans and Anders Nilsson.
Recorded by Don Mount.
The performers were Mark Trayle (electronics), Gascia Ouzounian (violin), Chris Brown (piano), Paul Stapleton (percussion), Dan Goren (trumpet), Don Nichols (percussion), Simon Rose (saxophone), Gustavo Aguilar (drums), Han-earl Park (guitar), Ulrich Mitzlaff (’cello), Tasos Stamou (zither), Dominic Lash (double bass), Christopher Williams (double bass), Nuno Rebelo (guitar), Richard Scott (synthesizer), Steven Davis (drums), Pedro Rebelo (piano), Justin Yang (saxophone) and Franziska Schroeder (saxophone). Shortly after the performance, I wrote:
Thanks in to the members of my local trio (as Richard pointed out, it’s very hard not to feel the pull of tribalism), Ulrich Mitzlaff and Gascia Ouzounian; to the emergent section leader of the neighboring trio Pedro Rebelo (with whom, during the rehearsal/trial run, I would share looks when things (creatively) self-destructed); to the Simon Rose-Dan Goren-Paul Stapleton unit which, in the best possible sense, seemed to have an agenda entirely their own; to the two bass players, Dom Lash and Christopher Williams, who entertained my left ear; to the remarkable drummers, Gustavo Aguilar and Steve Davis, who always knew, better than the rest of us put together, how to push/pull such a large ensemble during free play; to Franziska Schroeder for soaring over the group; Chris Brown for the asymmetrical hocket between Pedro, Justin and myself; to the electro-dudes, Mark Trayle and Richard Scott, who always sounded like themselves (especially the bass sample, Richard) and who generously gave visual/physical cues in relation to their performance; to the other guitarist, Nuno Rebelo, who artfully avoided collisions—I think we played well together, even if we rarely played at the same time; and to Justin Yang for creating, with Gustavo, that all too brief Shepp/Sanders moment—a moment of ascension—that helped to remind me what this was all about.
And of course, thanks to Pedro, Steve and Franziska for hosting, organizing and inviting, and to Evan Parker for taking time to guide us and the music.
I feel privileged to have been part of a large ensemble of improvisers of that caliber… and to have, through necessity and accident, found myself seated in the ideal position on stage (right in the middle—between the two pianos, the two drummers). I’m still thinking through the implications of tactics within such a context (especially in open improvisation), and am itching to do it again. [Original article…]