The overall depth and the level of interior summoning-up typical of Kahn and Asher’s work – recently savoured thanks to their Vista on And/OAR – is confirmed by this CD. The fruit of a September 2008 performance at Boston’s Axiom Gallery, Planes rewards abundantly, highlighting the respective personalities throughout a soundscape where nothing sounds blissful, the sun is persistently obscured but nevertheless life continues one way or another, as demonstrated by the recurring voices of children at play appearing like miniature ghosts amidst menacingly clattering drones and insidious diffusions of breath-hindering substances, generated by Kahn’s analogue synthesizer and (mostly) bowed and scraped percussion. Asher, credited with “recording and playback devices”, is in all probability responsible for the patina of hiss and just perceivable underground noise, fusing his own research – which as always moves around the coordinates of metropolitan unrest – with Kahn’s eliciting of encrusted upper partials in measured crescendos smoothed by soft cymbal touches and elusive percussive strokes.
Certain artists try to constantly surprise – at the risk of repeated slip-ups – to offer something “new” to the listener. This diligent pair belongs to the opposite category: explorers so confident in what they’re doing, eager to exploit the whole extent of the field of action down to the tiniest component, that individuating alien elements in the music becomes an impossible task. And, as every human knows, we feel better when the likelihood of a satisfying outcome is there, a sure thing when these gentlemen are involved.