Caverns is the first release by a New York-based trio of first and second generation Asian-American musicians from different cultures: Chinese, Korean and Japanese. There's no precedent to compare this group's music to; while the musicians have different backgrounds in jazz, classical and their ethnic traditions, the group's free improvisations can't be characterized by any one particular style. Leader Jason Kao Hwang has an extensive jazz background, playing with Reggie Workman, William Parker, Butch Morris and Henry Threadgill's Very Very Circus. The jazz influence is felt not in notes or style, but how naturally the group's improvisations flow. The original sounds, melodies and rhythms are the result of creative playing on a variety of instruments. Hwang's violin (an eerie, processed electric violin) moves from pizzicato plucking to shrill chirps (played along with bird whistles) to lyrical lines bringing to mind traditional Chinese folk-music. Sang-Won Park, best know for his early-80's improvised album with Henry Kaiser and Charles K. Noyes, plays the kayagum andajang (Korean stringed zithers) and sings in p'ansori (solo Korean folk-opera) style (the liner notes call it "haunting", I'll say it's downright spooky). Yukio Tsuji drums, shakes and bangs a wide variety of Japanese traditional percussion and non-traditional percussion (air hoses?!), as well as playing shakuhachi (bamboo flute) and singing. The salient quality of the Far East Side Band lies not merely in the stretching of musical boundaries or the mixing of cultures, but in the exciting and adventurous music produced by three masterful improvisers who make music unlike anything else you've heard.
- David Newgarden, College Music Journal, April 10, 1995