Chinese-American violinist Jason Hwang is one of New York's unsung new-music heroes. On this, his second and best release as a leader, his trio forges a music of startling originality, uncompromising in its search to express a new cultural reality.
Korean-born Sang-Won Park on the zither—like kayagum and Japanese-born percussionist Yukio Tsuji ground the music in their respective traditions. But the freedom with which different national elements mix, and the fluid improvised dialogue among band members, places the music squarely in the African-American tradition.
Still, jazz listeners may be taken aback at the non-Western speech patterns and vocal inflections that permeate Park's improvisations on "Caverns" and "Palmistry". Likewise the balance of sound and silence and the ritual stateliness of percussionist Tsuji on "Early Hour Vision" and "Still Water, Movement, Memories and Ice" aren't jazzlike in any conventional sense. And the elegant electronic timbres of the leader Hwang's electric violin deepen the mysterious quality of "Early Hour Vision" and the title track. The music's dry and austere textures, asymmetric shape, and blend of traditions make for a rewarding outing.
- Ed Hazell, The Boston Phoenix, February 24, 1997