Avant Scena Contemporary music blog Jason Kao Hwang – “Blood”

(True Sound Recordings, 2018)

Nov. 16. 2018  


“Blood” is a new release of “True Sound Recordings”. Abum was released on October. It was recorded by Jason Kao Hwang (composer, violin), Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet, flugelhorn), Joseph Daley (tuba), Andrew Drury (drums set, concert bass drum, percussion), Ken Filiano (string bass), Sun Li (pipa), Steve Swell (trombone) and Wang Guowei (erhu). All musicians of this ensemble are original and individual players. They have own and specific playing manner, unique sound and expressive, moving and touching improvising style. They like spontaneous and fresh musical experiments, vivid and sudden changes, dynamic turns, bordering dynamics and all kinds of unusual and modern musical language elements. Musicians use extremely huge variety of expressions, sounds, timbres, chords, scales and other elements. Musical pattern is wide and in stylistic way. Music is based on avant-garde and experimental jazz, free improvisation, academic avant-garde and contemporary academical music. Colorful, natural and sensible combination of these styles lets musicians to create original, expressive and bright sound, who has whole wide palette of colors, expressions and timbres. 

“Blood” is filled with bright, intensive and energetic sound. The compositions are based on mix of all musical language elements. Different expressions, innovative and traditional instrumentation’s decisions, unusual sounds, special effects, coloristic elements, furiously fast passages, sparkling and colorful melodies and dozens of other elements are gently mixed here. Musicians are inventive and creative improvisers – they are searching all the time for new forms, innovative playing techniques, weird sounds and suggestive expressions. The experiments are made in various sections of musical language. That makes an effort to formation of structure and sound. Compositions have free structure. Abstract musical pattern, free and open form lets musicians to integrate their own, fresh and adventurous ideas. They are improvising with passion and expression. Moving, rapid, aggressive and sharp solos fill all layers of musical pattern with colorful, effective and driving sound. It’s very hard to say there this music is going to turn next – it’s changing all the time. Dynamic turns, sudden stylistic changes and simultaneous used expressions, playing techniques, scales, chords and timbres reveal original point of view of improvisers and helps them to create fabulous and passionate sound. It’s difficult to describe exactly, what kind of style it is – the compositions are based on mix of Europe and Asia cultures, ethnic music elements, contemporary academical music, academic avant-garde, free improvisation, experimental music and various styles of avant-garde jazz. Though, free improvisation is the basic element, who join all the compositions and give them something in common. The music isn’t closed in some kind of strict frames or rules. Musicians are using numerous of experimental musical decisions, innovative expressions, modern harmony, unconventional musical decisions and other elements. They are the masters of fusing all that together in natural and original way. Each instrument group is effecting certain section or whole musical pattern. The melodic section is suggestive, expressive, passionate and solid. It’s constructed from several groups of instruments. Trombone, tuba, flugelhorn and cornet form firm, impressive and tremendous brasses section. It’s multi-colorful, bright, luminous and vibrant. Dark, rough, vibrant and deep bass line, heavy and energetic solos of flugelhorn, trombone and tuba contain static, but very effective and essential basic of melodic section. It’s twisted with sparkoing, moving, passionate and driving cornet solos. Marvelous and remarkable melodies, furiously rapid and splendid solos, vibrant, roaring and effective blow outs, passionate and virtuosic passages, colorful expressions, unusual and weird timbres, dynamic rhythmic, free improvisations and spontaneous musical decisions – all these and many other elements of musical language make a huge effort to brass section. It makes it one of the most important instrumental groups of all – active, solid, independent and luminous section brings energy, passion and life to the compositions. Heavy, bright, powerful and vibrant brasses are connected with Asian ethnic music;s instruments – pipa and erhu. Exotic melodies, specific melodic and rhythmic intonations of Asian music gently fit together with other instruments and make new, specific and exotic color of the compositions. It’s used as a basic instrument, and someitmes  – as coloristic and background element. Extravagant, colorful, turning and moving melodies, weird and strange timbres, exotic sounds make an effort to solid and gorgeous variety of coloristics. String’s section is based on violin and string bass. Harsh, shrieky, dramatic and aggressive, or gentle, joyful, playful, soft and light – all wide spectre of different playing techniques, sounds, moods and expressions are expressed in violin’s improvisations. All musical material is played with passion and very suggestive playing manner. Emotions are very important to the improviser – he tries to express as wide variety of it, as is possible. The music is filled with bright,exciting, moving and vital melodies, flowing and fantastic passages, strict and furiously rapid roulades, gentle pizzicatto, colorful glissando and dozens of other expressions and playing techniques. Dark, deep, solid and stable string’s bass melodies contain the bass line and gently fit with other instruments. It brings calm mood, subtle sound and fascinating searches of unusual timbres. Bass player likes free improvisations with surprising changes, sudden turns and astonishing musical experiments in all cases of musical language. That effects whole sound – brings more colors, sounds, innovations and unconventional musical decisions to it. Percussion’s and drums section is especially wide. Roaring and eclectic rolls, strict and loud fanfars, stormy and vigilent culminations, turbulent and noisy improvisations, free place for exotic stylistic and instrumental fusions and huge variety of colorful, extravagant, tremendous and passionate percussion… These and other elements make bright, solid and original rhythmic section, who is highly contrasting with other forms and sections. All music of this album is simply beautiful, luminous and passionate – it has driving, crazy, bright and innovative sound.


Read review at Avant Scena