Korean pianist Park (born March 4, 1964 – one day before yours truly) is endowed with an impressive curriculum, highlighted by various stints as the artistic director of major avant-garde festivals, a role as improvising accompanist of silent movies and dance performances, and collaborations with names such as Kang Tae Hwan, Alfred Harth and Wolfgang Stryi. Given the above facts and that he plays the piano since 38 years ago or so, I had anticipated something along the lines of an Eastern version of Keith Tippett, or just the umpteenth practitioner of the hundreds of tricks allowed by an archetypal preparation of the instrument. Well, never follow your expectations. Infinite Finitude is an album in which the reduction of the gestural action is inversely proportional to the interior echoing of the resulting aural symptoms.
Although there are moments in which the eruptive quality of the music comes out with a vengeance – the fourth segment being emblematic of that approach – what this man prefers is starting from complete emptiness, then gradually shift on a single note, or a restricted gamut of pitches, and begin a thorough inspection of anything connected to that, with particular regard to the resounding aspects of the instrument’s percussive components. That said, the dominant character is shaped by the hammering repetitions of fragments set within harmonically emaciated structures, alternated with more solitary tones executed either on the very keyboard or by hitting the exposed strings. There’s a lot of time and space left for the sounds to reverberate, and silence is also an essential factor in this equation: playing this CD from the speakers in utter stillness is a must. Let the resonance do the work, welcome the deceivingly low density of these now sparse, now sturdy haikus. And be pleased for a new name to keep an eye on.