JASON KAHN – Vanishing Point

23Five

An artist mostly renowned for the restrained tones of his music, Jason Kahn is also able to introduce those nearly imperceptible gradations in situations where overshadowing heaps of sonic layers determine the practical impossibility of looking for alternative courses of analysis for those who listen.

Vanishing Point is a proposition generated by the combination of live and studio materials in which we individuate three different phases, initially characterized by the virtual absence of Kahn’s exemplarily elusive nuances and intangible decays. The opening is in fact an abrupt in-your-face declaration of discomfort, a wall of coarse noise and short waves that only after a while allows to spot something under the blur, the percussive arsenal gradually finding its way towards the midpoint of our consideration. Circa 18 minutes in, this somewhat aggressive avalanche disappears to reveal more of the structures created by the composer, mainly via rolling/roaring drums and cymbals together with lots of supplementary insertions, whose intimidating escalation continues for protracted periods of uneasiness. In certain circumstances one thinks of Jon Mueller, if just for short glimpses.

Yet it’s exactly in this instant that we realize about the staying supremacy and, to some extent, reassuring stability of this accumulation, as the auricular membranes start recognizing a basic code of vibration which permits the acceptance of this controlled brutality in the same manner in which people living in industrial areas become used to the constant din and feel at home in it. The difference lies in the application of hardly measurable shades in the encircling buzzing energy – which is precisely what identifies the composition, attributing a harmonic cryptogram of sorts to what untutored ears might judge as sheer racket. The third and last phase determines the conclusion of the process, the transition from potential confusion to the discernment of weak colours and alterations which were practically impossible to perceive at first. The continuous stifled resonance of a tuned drum, easily mistakable for a gong, accompanies the gradual morphing of the piece into pseudo-quietness during the final stages.

Throughout the conception of this work Kahn thought deeply of his daughter Louise, whose death due to SIDS, at 3 months of age, had occurred not long before. Naturally, the concept of vanishing became extremely important in regard to that sad circumstance. Nevertheless what I see represented almost graphically is the symbolization of the ascension to a superior level, the passage from the infected reality of earthly life to the state of completely uncontaminated being, leaving corporeal impediments behind. Not a disappearance, then: a transformation.

An intense, strong set confirming Kahn among the mainstays in the lands of non-generic artistic expression, Vanishing Point is informed by a sense of responsive acuity and insightful propensity to the emotional expansion of physical phenomena.

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