6 min read 🤓

Playing Apart Together: Chuncheon↯Paris

may 2, 2021

"...and weren't they wicked, 'The Sounds' ...!?"

For the 73rd edition of unPublic, and the eight one in con-fine times, with a pandemic that continues to impose severe restrictions on global mobility, we imagined a way for an improvising trio in Paris, France (Arnaud LePrët, Rébus & Har$) to « play apart together » with a trio of improvising musicians in Chuncheon City, South Korea (Youngran Jin 진영란, Jinmook Kim 김잔묵 and Ian-John Hutchinson), in a basically 'non-tech' way. ( * )

The 18th of April was a beautiful day in Chuncheon, the capital of Gangwon Province (auto-spelling correctors will try to make you believe it rather should be Gangway Province) in the north of South Korea, not so far away from... North... Korean borders. Chuncheon City. Located in the basin that is formed by the Soyang and Han rivers. That's from where Ian-John messaged us.


Ian-John originally is from New Zealand, but has been living and working in South Korea for many years. Rébus met him on his frequent pre-corona visits to Korea, and Ian-John visited Paris in 2014. He was with us for the 11th ( "dropping cowbells dawn [sic] the stairs" ) unPublic, that we did in La Générale on the avenue Parmentier, joined then-there as well by Yoko Miura, and, most notably, solo-performed a few days later, in classic Anti-Noise Brigade fashion whipping it out on top of a favorite 'hidden island' of ours just a bit outside of Paris: the socle of the forever unfinished Beethoven monument in the Fontenay part of the Bois de Vincennes.

Ian-John on beethoven

Ian-John also was one of four unPublicians performing on the beach of the South-Korean island of Daebu, in the summer of 2015 (unPublic #18), an event that he also wrote quite extensively about, making him one of the (very) rare Soundblog guest-authors...

So it was from Chuncheon City that Ian-John messaged us earlier this year. "Chuncheon is a small city," he told us," about 120kms from Seoul, with no improv sound culture to speak of. But I am making visits to several sound interested people. I think it's important to connect people up, so I want to try and establish conditions for a small improv scene. It's what I'm missing here."

On the 18th of April in Chuncheon City Ian-John was with Youngran Jin, a singer who studied a traditional Korean folk expressionist vocal style known as pansori 판소리, and Jinmook Kim a self-taught player of bass-clarinet, flute, saxophones and other intstruments and leader of a 'Trot' (post war pop) group. The three of them got together in Jinmook's rehearsal studio.

Youngran Jin
Ian-John Hutchinson
Jinmook Kim

Also Paris that Sunday bathed in bright sunny Spring light. We were in the 14th arrondissement, in La Générale's music room, as I continue to call it because it's where is the Kawaï baby grand piano that the municipal music school left behind when they moved out—probably because it was too cumbersome to get it out of the small space, that, by the way, other Généralistes name the Salle Pleyel for the same reason: that there is the piano inside (or maybe 'Pleyel' used to be its name in the music school days, I can't remember)—but that also goes by the name of Bureau 4. So that makes 3. Names.

There Rébus and me joined Arnaud Laprêt, a Paris based drummer, percussionist and sound designer, who this Spring's April month did a four week working residency at La G, investigating the improvised interactions of his playing of a varied collection of percussion instruments, with electronic effects, synthesisers and custom programmed Max/MSP patches.

percussion instruments

It takes a light beam—and hence any information carrying signal—at least 30 milliseconds to get from here to there. Hence our common now could not be but slightly unfocused. Still, simultaneously in this blurred sens, separated by the spatial distance of approximately 9000 kilometers as the crow flies, and fully disconnected (no VoIP or other cyber-links), each of our two trio's digitally recorded an improvised performance of about 20 minutes.


Immediately after these first two simultaneous sets, we exchanged our recordings via internet. Upon reception each trio then recorded a second performance, this time playing along with and in response to a playback of the received recording of the earlier performance by the other trio...

Thus we « played apart together » ... defying space, transcending time, warping variable waves that ripple gravitational fields ... 🤓



« ... in a river basin where meet the rivers Soyang and Bukhan, upon remains of prehistoric settlement emerges Chuncheon city (CC)...it is unrecorded, unclear, but Youngran Jin and Ian-John Hutchinson appear to have met at local cultural events, sometime perhaps as early as 2015. CC is a place where all is within cycling distance...,

...related incident 2018?, Jinmook Kim, as instigator of a music/theatre venture, and requiring in minor role a foreigner approached Hutchinson...though, that these three have worked together, April 18th 2021 is the first...

…certainly, in some way it is The Sounds that have succeeded in imposing themselves across this incident,...many actions have been taken by local government and business to reduce exposure to undomesticated Sounds, and to create a more acoustically cohesive community, a good example of this being the remodelling of the Seoksa Stream environs...removal of riverbank trees, reeds and other wetland vegetation,

...landscaping support has secured concrete pedestrian pathways on both sides of the waterway…thanks to these improvements the area is now largely free from migratory birds (egrets, herons…) and insect pests…the hum of traffic and industry may flow uninhibited through the area, and incidences involving unregulated Sounds have declined...

though not without blame Jin, Kim and Hutchinson are not entirely at fault regarding the April 18th event (unPublic #73), The Sounds having been weakened and displaced by the safer city initiative appear to have exploited these impulsive people, and to have used them to their own purposes, the purposes of The Sounds.

By overwhelming these three characters The Sounds gained a precious opportunity for exercise, and more and further, to reproduce and transform themselves as necessary, in order to enjoy further transmission route ...in this case, a path to distant Paris XIV, despite the many intermediary screening regimes...

The Sounds may have chosen to operate within the Kim studio because of its secluded and private location in a relatively quiet old neighbourhood of a provincial city. It may be that the amateur and largely self-taught reality of the enthusiasts allowed The Sounds to easily coerce and dominate them.

This is merely a single event, however the concern is that unfamiliar Sounds, Paris origin, have now been broadcast (office speakers were used) and have entered the environment as mechanical pressure waves...which may still be active in CC in proximity to vulnerable networks/population... »


The documentary digital album contains the resulting four recordings: the two original trio performances ('Chuncheon City', 'Paris XIV'), and the two where each of the two trio's performed with a playback of the recording of the other trio's performance ('Chuncheon in Paris', 'Paris in Chuncheon'), made just before on the other side of this world.

Thank you for listening !

notes __ ::
(*) One can actually very well imagine doing a PAT-t(h)ing as we are about to describe here in an analogue way, using pre-digital technology, not using the nowadays ubiquitous digital recordings that may be exhanged near to instantaneoulsy via our global computer networks, but by recording on magnetic tape, and then exchanging the tapes via some snail mail service or other. Each of the exhanging participants can then do and record a second performance, playing along to the other's recording. This would be the way one could have done a similar experiment in the 1970's or 1980's, the only difference then being the necessarily far greater temporal distance between the two performances at the two localities ... Which makes me wonder whether this actually has been done in some form or other by someone in those days? Would be really interested to see/hear an example. Myself I'm not aware of one at this time of writing (other than a number of 'chain recording' projects that I vaguely remember) ... [ ^ ]

Read about unPublic on the SoundBlog:

(2023, november 3-..) - Ethereal Reverberations. A Decade of unPublic (« Dix ans qu'on fait la musique sans public ») (uP#100)
(2023, august 20) - Three days of residency at Les Ateliers Claus, Brussels (uP#65, uP#93, up #94)
(2022, september 2) - Three Musketeers Musicking Maastricht & La Générale (uP#86, up #87)
(2022, august 4) - Berlin: Zero Cohesion (3) (uP#84)
(2022, july 24) - Berlin: Zero Cohesion (2) (uP#83)
(2022, july 11) - Berlin: Zero Cohesion (1) (uP#82)
(2022, july 2) - X-unPub (uP#81)
(2022, march 13) - "Manifeste" (uP#80)
(2021, june 13) - Die Stillgestandenen (The Stillstands / Standstills / Stillstanders) (uP#67)
(2021, may 02) - Playing Apart Together: Chuncheon↯Paris (uP#73)
(2018, november 02) - "Five years stuck on my eyes" (Lustrum Non Publicum) (uP#56)
(2018, september 01) - t'Obsolete or not t'Obsolete ... [iv] (uP#54)
(2018, august 13) - Rage, rafts & refugees (uP#49, uP#50)
(2018, august 10) - t'Obsolete or not t'Obsolete ... [iii] (uP#45)
(2017, june 11) - Moving out, of, on ... [ii] (uP#42)
(2016, june 10) - unPublic #18 - 대부도 (Daebu-Do), 14 June 2015 (uP#18)
(2016, may 07) - In Praise of Slowness (uP#21)
(2015, july 15) - Bridges, troubles, water (uP#19)
(2015, april 14) - Mal-là--colisé dans l'espace et dans le temps (uP#16)
(2014, august 02) - Appearance and Reality (uP#8)
(2014, march 08) - "12 - 11 - 9 - 10 - 3 - 6 - 7 - 1 - 2 - 8 - 4 - 5" (uP#5)
(2013, december 31) - Candles, Cassettes & Champagne (uP#4)
(2013, november 23) - unPublic 1, 2 (sauf riverains) (uP#1, uP#2)

Read about unPublic on Medium:

April 16, 2022 - Playing Apart Together (uP#66-#69)
March 17, 2022 - All delusion is expansive (uP#80)
November 10, 2021 - The Future always was Yesterday

Read about unPublic in Gonzo (Circus) [Dutch]:

Gonzo #143, januari/februari 2018 - Met kop noch staart: muzhakdag! (uP#48)
Gonzo #139, mei/juni 2017 - De waan, de wil, de weg

Read about unPublic elsewhere:

Plus-X-Creative, january 2022 - Playing Apart Together
Electronic Cottage, november 2018 - unPublic - 'Five Years stuck on my eyes' -sketch as a memoire

To listen, download & support, visit unPublic @ Bandcamp.

tags: unPublic, Korea, La Générale Nord-Est

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