Crossroads Unseen by Jason Kao Hwang
By Susan Frances
Associated Content from Yahoo
Improvisational music is a wide field open to individual interpretations, and violinist/composer Jason Kao Hwang uses this method of playing to amass a vast catalog of music which bridges melodic and distorted chord patterns to produce polarized textures that expand the listener's mind about what is music. Hwang's recent offering, Crossroads Unseen is a melting pot of sharp stucco rubbing of the violin strings entwined with the frazzled toots of Taylor Ho Bynum's horns, the undulating grooves of Ken Filiano's bass, and the rhythmic throbs of Andrew Drury's drumming. Both bowed and refracted, leaping and dragging, tightly teased or loosely rung, Hwang's strings cover a broad breadth of action which keeps the track evolving and moving through a natural course of events.
Filiano treats his bass strings with the limberness of a violin along "The Path around the House." Hwang's compositions are primarily made from intervals spliced and layered to form wild creations. Both savage-like and scintillating, the compositions display multiple characteristics which enable the music to jump out at the listener. Drury's drumming undergoes several metamorphoses throughout "Transients" as Hwang's strings express stylized chord patterns which move through a gamut of changes. Though the music displays instability on the surface, the core of the music is stemmed by a singular leading principle which aligns every track to share a kindred spirit. The rises and descents along the title track have a whimsical penmanship and the angular liaisons made along "One Day" are driven by the temperamental sway of Hwang's strings.
Sealed and stamped with Hwang's kneading strings, interpreting ideas into a musical form,Crossroads Unseen is a product of progressive thinking. Produced by Hwang, the recording is based on individual concepts brought together and fashioned into a cohesive body of freestyle musings. Hwang's ability to cross cultures in his music has made him an eclectic composer and an exciting live performer. He has worked with such luminaries as Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, and Reggie Workman and is the founding member of The Far East Side Band. He has composed music scores for numerous films and continues to branch out as motivating force in jazz and chamber music formats.
- Susan Frances, Associated Content, October 4, 2011