live reviews: Mathilde 253 at Freedom of the City, London

Mathilde 253: Charles Hayward, Han-earl Park and Ian Smith (Freedom of the City, London, May 6, 2012). Photo copyright 2012 Andrew Newcombe.
Mathilde 253 (Freedom of the City, London, May 6, 2012). Photo © 2012 Andrew Newcombe.

In his review of this year’s Freedom of the City festival, Tim Owen at Dalston Sound calls Mathilde 253’s set on May 6 “one of the punchiest performances”:

…A trio featuring ex-This Heat drummer Charles Hayward, electric guitarist Han-Earl Park and trumpeter Ian Smith. Hayward was playing at his most impressionistic, Smith’s trumpet correspondingly all smears and blurs, offset by Park’s scrabble of overlapping notes and smears…. Park and Smith were the new discoveries of the festival for me; names to add to the must-see list, for future reference. [Read the rest…]

Han-earl Park (Freedom of the City, London, May 6, 2012). Photo copyright 2012 Scott McMillan.
Han-earl Park (Freedom of the City, London, May 6, 2012). Photo © 2012 Scott McMillan.

Meanwhile, Scott McMillan at The Liminal points out the “youthful energy and invention”:

Han Earl-Park’s idiosyncratic guitar style was beguiling, his array of tiny, sharp sounds glinting like fragments of broken glass – the interplay between him and trumpeter Ian Smith was almost telepathic, changing directions as one, and the music coming to two seemingly unplanned and instinctive dead stops. [Read the rest…]

More photographs of FOTC: [Andrew Newcombe’s…] [Scott McMillan’s…]

CD available: Mathilde 253

‘Mathilde 253’ (SLAMCD 528) CD cover
‘Mathilde 253’ (SLAMCD 528) CD cover

Released as part of SLAM Productions’s January 2011 CD catalog: Mathilde 253’s eponymous debut CD (SLAMCD 528).

[Get the CD via the discography entry…]
[Slam Productions catalog page…]
[Read the reviews…]

teaser (photomontage by Jenny Gallego)


Charles Hayward (drums, percussion and melodica), Han-earl Park (guitar), Ian Smith (trumpet and flugelhorn), Lol Coxhill (saxophone) tracks 6 and 7. Mathilde 253 is the real-time musical meeting between legendary avant-rock drummer Charles Hayward (This Heat, Massacre), “careful and crafty” guitarist Han-earl Park (Paul Dunmall, Kato Hideki), and mainstay of the London improvised music scene Ian Smith (Derek Bailey, London Improvisers’ Orchestra). Mathilde 253 was born out of an opportunity to explore the spontaneous mashup of avant-rock, African-American creative musics, European free improvisation and noise. Joined by the veteran iconoclastic saxophonist Lol Coxhill, this recording documents the weaving of physical virtuosity and humorous sound poetics, a patchwork of restraint, subtlety and recklessness.

Recorded live at Cafe OTO, London on April 18 2010. Recorded and mixed by Chris Trent. Mastered by Han-earl Park.

Design and artwork by Han-earl Park. Photographs by Seán Kelly.

Thanks to Hamish Dunbar and Keiko Yamamoto at Cafe OTO, Chris Trent, Alex Fiennes, Kato Hideki, Han-ter Park, Melanie L Marshall and Jeffrey Weeter.

All music by Charles Hayward, Han-earl Park and Ian Smith, except tracks 6–7 by Lol Coxhill, Charles Hayward, Han-earl Park and Ian Smith.

© 2010 Han-earl Park. ℗ 2010 SLAM Productions.


Mathilde 253: Charles Hayward (drums, percussion, melodica), Han-earl Park (guitar) and Ian Smith (trumpet, flugelhorn), plus Lol Coxhill (saxophone; tracks 6 and 7).

track listing

Kalimantan (18:29), Similkameen (8:22), Ishikari (10:09), Jixi (8:09), Matanuska (6:52), Aachen (11:42), Oaxaca (10:52). Total duration: 74:37.