Jason Kao Hwang; J.A. Deane
Tone Science Music/Blue Coast Music TSM 00013
A combination of triumph and tragedy, this devastating six-track project was created over a two-month period as New York violinist Jason Kao Hwang and Colorado synthesizer/software expert J.A. Deane improvised live sounds sent to one another over the Internet, which were then tone-shifted, synthesized, mixed and mutated into this comprehensive program. Believing in spiritual transition, Deane, 71, had already refused treatment for his illness and died of cancer just as the CD was completed.
Using electric and acoustic violins, Hwang’s initial and overdubbed string sweeps and strained buzzes are amalgamated with a series of watery whooshes and constantly rotating live processes from Deane whose screaming and gonging reflect fiddle glissandi at the same time as they mutate them. The mid-point Shamans of Light moves the timbre fusion to even higher levels as two separate layers of string stops and strums become audible. As granulated synthesized tones widen into thunderous drones, Hwang’s angled violin swipes include brief lyrical interludes. These remain during the climactic title track. A concluding sequence, Uncharted Faith, finds Deane’s processed wash of interlocking textures projecting an organ-like tremolo continuum over which near-melodic violin drones pitch-shift, connect and highlight disparate parts of the reconstituted improvised mixture.
A fitting memorial to an electroacoustic pioneer, the CD once again confirms the sympathetic interaction of Hwang’s playing in many and some seemingly difficult contexts.
- Ken Waxman, The Whole Note