I grateful to have received a 2023 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
Jason Kao Hwang - composer/electric violin
Anders Nilsson - electric guitar
Michael T.A. Thompson - drums
In Book of Stories, arising from composition, improvisation, synergy, and truth seeking, Critical Response challenges the disillusionment and divisiveness that encircle this moment in history.
Michael T.A. Thompson and I performed many times with choreographer/dancer Patricia Nicholson. Both Michael and the late J.A. Deane, encouraged me to explore multiple FX processing. I have been listening to Anders Nilsson for years and knew that this trio would bond, and we have. Beginning in 2018, then interrupted by the pandemic, at long last, I am thankful to be sharing this CD with the world.
- Jason Kao Hwang
BEST JAZZ ON BANDCAMP, JULY 2023
Book of Stories is arresting, captivating, and, at times, massively thrilling. Jason Kao Hwang’s trio with electric guitarist Anders Nilsson and drummer Michael T.A. Thompson dives into an adventurous fusion session where the musical influences never sit still, the trio changing their composition, playing with the ratios, and exposing the multitude of permutations inherent to fusion. The ultimate impression is of music that’s moving simultaneously in different directions—inward, to a meeting point between influences; and outward, past the hazy lines of genre boundaries. The most striking moments are those when the violinist cuts straight to the heart of things with a melodic statement—a thing of beauty that also brings about shape and structure. I’ve been listening to this album pretty frequently since it first landed on my radar, and it’s blindingly obvious that it still has so much left to reveal. - Dave Sumner, Bandcamp. Read at Bandcamp
Like writing letters, each as if the last, to the dearest friend in the thick of circumstance, J.A. Deane and Jason Kao Hwang imbue their remarkable final collaboration, Uncharted Faith, with hope beyond bounds that we might better know ourselves in perpetuity...…Uncharted Faith is testament to a rare kinship forged in the ardors of freedom and love and a befitting memorial to Deane, whose creative wisdom—as ceaseless as water seeking its levels—will continue tracing uncharted courses. – Joshua Steffey, veilofsound.com.
Jason Kao Hwang is an extremely talented artist with an iconoclastic vision, and here he takes the company of an equally unique mind, J.A. Deane, who handles electronics like few others will even attempt. Take Effect.
The technical aspects of Uncharted Faith, given Deane's use of multiple electronic processors and programs, are overwhelming....The closing title track is a hypnotic enigma; featuring fragments of melody, it is both intricate and even soulful, a quality absent in most electronic music. The variety of electronic effects alters and manipulates the sound of Hwang's solid-body electric violin, creating a rich, otherworldly soundscape. It is a captivating musical journey and a pioneering collection of experimental avant-garde music for adventurous ears... Karl Ackerman, All About Jazz
…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
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...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
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
The results are transcendent, with atmospheric sonic washes, lush tones, and cinematic like changes of fanciful frames of mind… Hwang’s bowed conversation simulates the human voice in its pacing of phrases, pauses, emphases of notes/words, cries, and whines, while Deane establishes the electronic environment for the dialogue. ..Each track of Uncharted Faith differs in emotional bearing, musical complexity, and technical design. - Bill Donaldson, Cadence 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. Read
A record that grows undoubtedly one listening after the other, Uncharted Faith is a great attempt to push the boundaries of improvised and electronic music forward, in territories …that in Deane and Hwang practice are for sure thrilling and demanding. If you decide to commit, they will leave you satisfied and wanting for more. – Gian Paolo Galasi, completecommunion.
For Hwang’s latest, the deeply spiritual, fascinatingly chaotic, edgy and densely packed Uncharted Faith, the violinist records for the first time with J.A. Deane, an electronic music innovator the violinist first played with in the 80s with various Butch Morris ensembles... Listening to any of the intricate, brilliantly crafted avant-garde recordings by violin master and sonic visionary Jason Kao Hwang poses a series of unique challenges best solved by understanding the thematic context in which he created it…Surrounded by friends, Dean transitioned July 23,2021 – leaving behind this unusual, sometimes maddening but often beautifully wondrous work, along with a legacy that was a true gift to Hwang and the rest of the world. - Jonathan Widran, jwvibe.
And the Uncharted Faith album is in front of you, if you want to hear it, plunge into the electronic sea, in which the sounds of the electric violin are splashing. They may not always be identified as the sound of a violin, but at the heart of this music is pure and inspired improvisation. - Leonid Auskern, jazzquad.
Free jazz violinist Jason Kao Hwang collaborates with the late electronics, synthesizer artist J. A. Deane as the Dino Duo. This is a rather edgy endeavor created over distance during the pandemic. It would be Deane’s final recording as he succumbed to throat cancer. Uncharted Faith is like what you’d expect or imagine in an intergalactic space tour. Among the best is the title track. Considering the circumstances, it is indeed transitional. - D.Oscar Groomes, OsplaceJazz.com
The final collaboration of innovative electronic artist J.A. Deane, working remotely with violinist Jason Kao Hwang who sent Deane improvised solo acoustic violin recordings that Deane edited into 57 gestures, mapping them to a keyboard and creating six tracks of morphed electronics which Hwang improvised over with an electric violin to complete this unique and fascinating album. - Squidco.com