J.A. Deane – Electronics (Sensei Morph touch controller, Spacecraft granular synthesizer software, Akai MPC Live Digital Audio Workstation)
Jason Kao Hwang – Tucker Barrett solid-body electric violin with a Richard Barbera bridge, Atomic Amplifire 12 multi-FX processor (overdrive, distortion, fuzz, wah-wah, phaser, whammy, pitch shift, delay)
J.A. Deane, called “Dino” by his friends, passed away before this CD was completed. Dino started his musical life touring with Tina Turner and eventually became a great innovator of electronic music, which is by any measure, an extraordinary journey. I met him in the mid-1980’s, playing together in various Butch Morris ensembles. Here is the story of Uncharted Faith, his last project.
After his life partner Colleen Mulvihill passed away in 2019, Dino moved from Denver to a tiny house parked in a rural field in Cortez, Colorado. There, alone in nature with his two dogs, he completed his book, Becoming Music, Conduction & Improvisation as forms of QiGong, which he sent me in December 2020. I reciprocated by sending him my CDs, including Conjure, my duets with Karl Berger, which he especially loved. Despite the pandemic, we agreed to collaborate on a duo recording! On January 28, 2021, I heard his zoom concert for the Red Room in Baltimore. Dino’s phantasmagoric symphonies, vivid and luxuriant with unique sounds, were stunningly beautiful. We corresponded further and our duo project gained momentum. Dino proposed that I send him “5 to 10 minutes of solo acoustic violin” improvisations. He would “work with it,” then send me tracks to overdub. In March I sent him my tracks. All tracks on this CD, from both Dino and myself, are completely improvised.
Dino edited the tracks into “57 gestures” that he would then “map a subset to another instrument (Sensei Morph touch controller & Spacecraft granular synthesizer software).” On May 12 Dino cryptically mentioned health issues. On May 14, he sent me the first five tracks, not yet titled but in the same order as this CD. He wrote: “Every track was created on an Akai MPC Live Digital Audio Workstation (and your original sounds have been shifted and mutated intensely), and then performed and recorded in real-time. I’m obsessed with exploring, exploding & exalting the DNA of sound. Now there is no question that many of these pieces are harmonically dense. I encourage you to embrace and multiply that density with multiple overdubs if you choose to go that way.” On July 2, I completed my overdubs on a Tucker Barrett solid-body electric violin (with a Richard Barbera bridge) through an Atomic Amplifire 12 multi-FX processor with expression pedals assigned to wah, whammy, and delay feedback. I asked him to send me one more track, which surprisingly, he had ready to go. Only for track 5, Speaking in Tongues, and track six, Uncharted Faith, did I record multiple violin tracks.
On July 11, Dino wrote: “I have been avoiding this because I didn’t want it to negatively shade your contribution to what is probably going to be the final project of my life. I am honored that it will be with you. I have stage four throat cancer. Please follow your heart with how you want to play into this final world. Please forgive me and understand that I simply didn’t want the weight of this to shade your performance as you were coming from a place of such joy, the same place I was coming from when I created my performances.” Dino had a concrete belief in the spirit world, having communicated to Colleen through psychic mediums several times. He decided not to receive treatment and on July 12 wrote: “What is compelling is to be with Colleen in spirit form. I am making a conscious journey to transition.” On July 13 I wrote: “Your decision is courageous and from a deep spiritual wisdom gained through your extraordinary musical journey. I am deeply moved by your faith. I am so thankful that we have created music together. You opened my mind and ears to the expressivity of electronic processing, which enriched my life. I had not heard anyone play in that sonic universe with your boundless imagination and soul. I know your journey forward will be full of beauty and wonder, just like your music.” On July 15, I began sending him mixes and he gave me insightful suggestions. He also empowered me to name the tracks and complete this production. On July 23, 2021, J.A. Deane transitioned in New Mexico with his dearest friends, Joe Sabella and Katie Harlow at his side. Born on February 16, 1950, he was 71.
– Jason Kao Hwang
…As Deane orchestrates jagged thunder, violin writhes like the cries of avenging spirits, before etching mournful lines against a darkening sky. At the end violin spirals upwards into the stratosphere, conjuring the transmigration of souls… there is a poignant twist. Even before the project began, Deane knew he was terminally ill, though he didn’t reveal this to Hwang until after completion to avoid coloring his contributions. He died before the album could be released, but it stands as a reminder both of his singular talent and a long friendship. - John Sharpe, NYC Jazz Record
When I heard this album, I felt as though I was being transported from Earth to outer space. It’s an Avant-garde production with emphasis on electronics. J.A. Deane was an electronic master. Unfortunately, he passed away before this album came to fruition.. I am completely in awe of Jason Kao Hwang’s lovely and quite unique approach to playing the electric violin. He masterfully incorporates his spontaneous creativity and technical abilities into the modern music that he and J.A. Deane have composed. His rich, sensuous sound punctuates this current production with beauty and surprise… J.A. Deane was a pioneer of live electronics. In 2021, J.A. Deane transitioned from this world to the next, but he leaves behind a legacy of electronic music and innovation for us to enjoy. – Dee Dee McNeil, musicalmemoirs.com
This quiet stunningly opulent, and wholly heartfelt new album opens on the atmospherically-charged Parallel Universe and the jaggedly scattered melodies within Singularity and follows those up seamlessly with the searingly crystalline Crossing the Horizon, the harmonically frazzled Shamans of Light, the album rounding out on the lighter, quietly frenetic fare of Speaking in Tongues, closing on the euphorically reaching, titular Uncharted Faith. - Ann Carlini, Exclusive Magazine
In six songs, and almost 50 minutes, the Hwang and Deane create enthralling soundscapes that become more poignant considering the duo’s backstory. Of particular interest are “Parallel Universe,” one of the shorter songs on the recording that sets the tone for the “futuristic” feel of the recording... a listener cannot help but hearing triumph in the moods and movements provided on “Uncharted Faith.” - Dodie Miller-Gould, Lemonwire
Hwang has long established himself as one of the most interesting voices in the creative melting pot that remains of New York's Lower East Side… He has just released "Uncharted Faith", another duo album, this time with electronic manipulator J. A. Deane (1950-2021), aka Dino…Deane was a creator of intriguing electronic worlds, which find in Hwang's mutant electric violin a valuable counterpart. The initial pings of the violin in the extensive title piece, the nerve center of the album, trigger synapses that lead me to sonic landscapes of different configurations, planar or rustic, always deeply visual…"Uncharted Faith" is a kaleidoscopic and intelligent work, which demands patience and an open mind to be fully unveiled. (google translation from Portuguese)- António Branco, jazz.pt
The otherworldly music the duo produced is more than difficult to describe and any words following such a story would pale by comparison. Keep in mind that all sounds are completely improvised, highly imaginative, beautiful in some ways but hauntingly stark, sometimes shrill, and perfectly fitting for one crossing into the spirit world. Hwang’s titles do a reputable job alone in describing these sounds across six tracks – “Crossing the Horizon,” “Shamans of Lights,” “Parallel Universe,” and, of course, the almost twenty-minute closing title track with the eeriest fade-out likely on record. If you’ve gotten this far, you have little choice but to immerse yourself in this project. - Jim Hynes, makingascene.org
My string orchestra, Myths of Origin, had a great performance at the Vision Festival. The music is an outgrowth of my years with Butch Morris, organizing the Strings for Leroy Jenkins for Billy Bang and my Spontaneous River Orchestra.
Jason Kao Hwang’s composition, Myths of Origin, performed by his improvising string orchestra with drums, defies mainstream society’s enduring fetish for Orientalist fantasies, a history woven inextricably into unconscious biases that can, as evident in this past year’s exponential increase of hate crimes against Asian Americans, progress into explicitly racist violence.
Myths of Origin, inspired by jazz, funk, new music, classical and world traditions, forges a unique language, free of genre expectations, to revolutionize our relationships to each other. It will be performed by Jason Kao Hwang’s improvising string orchestra, which is comprised of musicians from a wide variety of backgrounds.
Through a notated score interacting with improvisations that are shaped by a lexicon of conducting gestures, the orchestra will conjure images of mercurial beauty. Vibrations rise and fall in a life cycle whirling and grooving through consciousness faster than the speed of thought. The flow of spontaneous moments illuminates the possibilities of our journey, revealing truths of who we can become. To be transformed by possibilities grounded in truth, is to transcend all Myths of Origin.
REVIEWS OF JASON KAO HWANG/HUMAN RITES TRIO
Violinist/violist Jason Kao Hwang's trio with Ken Filiano (bass) and Andrew Drury (drums) is one of the most finely honed small groups in the improvised music scene...It all comes together on the closing "Defiance", the telepathic interplay, the storytelling, the rotating narratives and the sterling musicianship. Robert Bush, New York City Jazz Record. Read Full Review
The veteran New York violinist/violist Jason Kao Hwang, who's worked with Anthony Braxton, William Parker and the late Butch Morris, among others, creates work under his own name that resist categorization: Sometimes it's jazz, sometimes cham,ber music and sometimes entirely uncategorizable ... Which is to say that this is heavy, profound music. - Philip Freeman, Downbeat Magazine Read Full Review
...features playing of the high-wire, rough-and-tumble variety, the trio's expressions rooted in the rapport the musicians have developed over time. Such unpredictability makes for exciting and engaging music, and the greatest takeaway has less to do with the compositions and more with the always evolving interplay between them. Ron Schepper, textura.com
With 15 years of mutual collaboration and musical understanding, Hwang, Filiano and Drury have developed a natural, fascinating language that is fully expressed on Human Rites Trio. - Filipe Freita, jazztrail.net
It's a marriage of complete control and artful abandon that's never short on surprise...Jason Kao Hwang, Ken Filiano and Andrew Drury know themselves well enough to be lost and found in each other's sounds, and that beauty points to what's right with Human Rites Trio's music. - Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz
The near-12 minute opulence of the pure, thrusting, raw string-shredding expressionism through hybrid Afro-Asian ecumenicism, of the dynamic 'Battle for the Indelible Truth' is a breathtaking work of musical art, in and unto itself, and then the album comes to a close on the fingering-finesse, and drum/percussion, dynamic call and response between composition and improvisation core found within 'Defiance.' - Anne Carlini, Exclusive Magazin
The three virtuoso musicians are recognized for their exploration of the potential offered by the respective instruments. Individual voices intertwine in such a way that at every moment our senses are impacted in an unpredictable and deeply intentional way, creating firm bonds that unite musicians and listeners. - António Branco, Jazz.pt
…when it comes to improvised music, I consider Jason’s violin/viola work to be right up there at the TOP! … I give Jason and his bandmates a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) score of 4.99 for this highly engaging sonic experience. - Rotcod Zzaj, Contemporary Fusion
Read all the complete reviews under Press
Below is a video of Jason Kao Hwang/Human Rites trio with music from the CD.
My thanks to the 2022 the Downbeat Critics Poll for their votes. I share their love with all the musicians I have ever played with. We make this music together!
Premiere of Jason Kao Hwang's Uncharted Faith. Jason Kao Hwang - violin/composer, Andrew Drury-drum set, Joseph Daley - tuba, Sun Li - pipa, Herb Robertson - trumpet, Dick Griffin - trombone, Anders Nilsson - guitar, Haruna Fukazawa - flute
Mixashwan - multiple reeds; Jason Kao Hwang /Human Trio: Jason Kao Hwang (composer/violin/viola, Andrew Drury - drum set, Ken Filiano - string bass)
Composer/Conductor/Violin - Jason Kao Hwang VIOLINS: Charles Burnham, Mark Chung, Keir GoGwilt, Gwen Laster, Gabby Fluke-Mogul, Rosi Hertlein,Talice Lee, Elena Moon Park, Ben Sutin, Tom Swafford, Johnna Wu
VIOLAS: Ginger Dolden, Melanie Dyer, Judith Insell, Pete Lanctot, Eric Salazar
CELLOS: Dara Bloom, Kirin McElwain, Lester St. Louis, Tomas Ulrich
GUITARS: Che Chen, James Keepnews, Anders Nilsson, Hans Tammen
STRING BASS: Ken Filiano
DRUMS: Andrew Drury
Yoshiko Chuma, Miriam Parker, Emily Mare Pope (dancers), Jason Kao Hwang (violin), Steve Swell (trombone), Aliyah Ultan (cello)
Matthew Shipp(piano), Jason Kao Hwang (violin/viola), Michael Bisio (bass), Jay Rosen (drums)
Awakening will include the Premiere of Unity - Choreography by Nai_ni Chen and PeiJu Chien Pott, Music by Jason Kao Hwang with Deanna Relyea (voice), Andrew Drury (perc). Thurs-Sat @ 7:30 pm, Sun@ 2pm
Violin: Charlie Burnham, Ben Sutin, Sana Nagano, Fung Chern Hwei, Keir GoGwilt, Rosi Hertlein, Tom Swafford, Julianne Carney, Mark Chung Leonor Falcon Violas: Melanie Dyer, Joanne Mattrey, Eric Salazar, Ginger Dolden Cello: Dara Bloom, Tomas Ulrich Bass: Ken Filiano, Max Johnson Guitars: David Ross, Hans Tammen Drum set: Andrew Drury
Jason Kao Hwang - composer/electric violin, Anders Nilsson - electric guitar, Michael T.A. Thompson - drum set
World Premiere of Jason Kao Hwang's composition, "Myths of Origin," for improvising string orchestra and drum set.
Violins: Charlie Burnham, Eddy Kwon, Rosi Hertlein, Talice Lee, Sana Nagano, Benjamin Sutin, Tom Swafford
Violas: Leonor Falcon, Judith Insell, Gwen Laster, Eric Salazar
Cello: Lester St. Louis, Tomas Ulrich
Bass: Ken Filiano, Hill Greene
Guitars: Che Chen, David Ross, James Keepnews
Drum set: Andrew Drury
Jason Kao Hwang - composer/electric violin, Anders Nilsson - electric guitar, Michael T.A. Thompson - drums. Presented by Arts for Art.
Jason Kao Hwang - composer/violin/viola, Andrew Drury - drum set, Ken Filiano - string bass. Tickets $10
For the eighth installment of False Harmonics, a musical series meant to explore alternative approaches to composition, improvisation and performance, pianist Matthew Shipp, bassist Michael Bisio and violinist Jason Hwang will collaboratively create a live score for Alex Harsley’s experimental video work The First Light. A complex montage of flickering images and symbols, the video takes viewers on a nonlinear journey across parallel dimensions, and metaphorically alludes to the cosmological origins of time and energy.
Their set will collide with poetry readings by Ama Birch and David Henderson, in a fusion between art, music and poetry that harkens back to the original spirit of Minority Photographers, Inc. and The Fourth Street Photo Gallery. Shipp, Birch and Henderson are all longtime colleagues and friends of Harsley’s, each having developed their creative practices in the East Village and on the Lower East Side.
$15 Presale; $20 Day of Show
Joe McPhee - reeds/brass, Jason Kao Hwan - violin, Rosi Hertlein - violin/voice, James Keepnews- guitar, Brandon Lopez, Michael Bisio - bass, Warren Smith - vibes, Jay Rosen - drums