“Uncharted Faith,” the new recording by the duo of Jason Kao Hwang and J.A. Deane is set for release Oct. 1, 2022. The way the project came about, and especially the way in which it was finished, and the circumstances of its completion, provide lessons in friendship and fortitude that are difficult to come by in times of national tragedies and world pandemics.
Jason Kao Hwang and J.A. Deane: a likely duo in unlikely circumstances
The sad fact of “Uncharted Faith” is that it was completed before J.A. Deane could see it finished. He revealed the state of his illness to Hwang before they were finished with the work of the album, but Hwang finished the project.
Deane, also known as “Dino,” to his friends, had suffered the loss of his life partner, Colleen Mulvihill in 2019. After that tragedy, he left Denver to live in the woods of rural Cortez, Colorado with his two dogs. There, he finished a book, titled “Becoming Music, Conduction & Improvisation as forms of QiGong.” He sent Hwang a copy in 2020. Hwang responded by sending Deane copies of his musical recordings. The two decided to collaborate on a musical project – – despite the pandemic.
On “Uncharted Faith” Hwang plays a Tucker Barrett solid-body violin. Deane contributes electronics such as Sensei Morph touch controller, Spacecraft granular synthesizer software, Akai MPC Live Digital Audio Workstation. The equipment sounds high-tech, but the themes the instruments are used to create are timeless.
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. “Uncharted Faith,” the title track, is the longest song at almost 20 minutes. It elevates and engages listeners. For some audiences, there may be more than one moment of “How did they do that?”
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From Musical Memoires 11 2022
JASON KAO HWANG & J.A. DEANE – “UNCHARTED FAITH” – Tone Science Music
Jason Kao Hwang, Tucker Barrett solid-body electric violin with a Richard Barbera bridge, Atomic amplifier 12 multi-FX processor (overdrive, distortion, fuzz, wah-wah, phaser, whammy, pitch shift, delay); J.A. Deane, electronics (Sensei Morph touch controller, Spacecraft granular synthesizer software, Akai MPC Live Digital Audio Workstation).
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. Dino (as his friends called him) had a long history of being in the music business, starting with a stint with Tina Turner. In the 1980s, he was playing with the Butch Morris Ensemble. More recently, after the death of his longtime partner, Colleen Mulvihill, J.A. Deane left Denver, Colorado and moved into a tiny house placed in a remote, rural field in Cortez, Colorado. His mission was to write and complete his biography. In December of 2020, he sent the finished product to his friend and fellow musician, Jason Kao Hwang. In return, Hwang sent J.A. Deane a couple of his duo albums, including one with Karl Berger. That was a recording Deane was particularly drawn to and he soon contacted Jason to suggest they record a duo project together. That’s how this album came to be.
“Despite the pandemic, we agreed to collaborate. I heard his zoom concert for the Red Room in Baltimore. Dino’s phantasmagoric symphonies, vivid and luxuriant, with unique sounds, were stunningly beautiful. … Dino proposed that I send him five to ten minutes of solo acoustic violin improvisations. He would work with it, then send me tracks to overdub. In March of 2021, I sent him my tracks. Every track on this CD, from both Dino and myself, are completely improvised,” Jason Kao Hwang reminisced.
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. Hwang’s most recent releases include “The Human Rites Trio” and “Conjure.” Both recordings have received critical acclaim. I completely understand why the El Intruso International Critics Poll voted him #1 for violin and viola music recordings in 2012, 2013, 2018, 2019 and 2020. His rich, sensuous sound punctuates this current production with beauty and surprise.
J.A. Deane was a pioneer of live electronics. He worked for some time with a popular San Francisco art/punk band called ‘Indoor Life.’ Deane originated the technique of ‘live sampling.’ He often incorporated this technique live and onstage. Today, live sampling permeates this generation’s music. Deane would record members of the band singularly while they were performing live, then manipulate the audio and play it back as though it were an instrument. He also created theatrical sound designs for many artists. He and his longtime love (Colleen) created over fifty works of musical art. Other artists who he collaborated with are Sam Shepard and Julie Hebert. In November of 2020, J.A. Deane published his book, “Becoming Music: Conduction and Improvisation as forms of QiGong.” 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.
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…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 Read Full Review
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 Read Full Review
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 Read Full Review
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 Read Full Review
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 Read Full Review
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 Full Review
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. Read Full Review
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. Read full review
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. Read Full Review