JASON KAHN – On Metal Shore


Jason Kahn: all sounds, composition

To give you an idea of the silent ire deriving from the impossibility of reviewing as much as I’d love to, think that just about three years have passed without a Jason Kahn album analyzed in this website. A macroscopic ignominy, in view of my sincere esteem for the man and his output. I’m going to perform a catchup job in the upcoming weeks, attempting an examination of the releases put out by Kahn on his own label, On Metal Shore being the first in chronological succession (the LP dates in fact back to 2011).

Differently from other artists specializing in long and somewhat “minimal” shapes, the Zurich-based composer always manages to channel an impression of joint forces at work – softly, clamorously, or anything in the middle – which ultimately coagulate into something that sounds organically consistent and “harmonic”, in the latter adjective’s widest sense. Listen carefully to this assemblage of metals and open-air environments: there’s a bit of everything in there that has to do with living in coherence with ourselves and our surroundings, by virtue of a connection facilitated by the subtlest properties of a given pattern and the resonant qualities of a predetermined (or less) source.

A regular pulsation can change state to a thrumming fortress, a sheltering area where the ears can absorb therapeutic essences and the mind is delivered by stupid priorities inevitably leading to anxiousness. Attention is granted to an efficacious temporal arrangement of events in varying dynamics. The first part is “smooth” enough, regardless of the blistering features of selected timbral placements; the second comprises abrupt variations and perhaps a more abundant gamut of frequencies, from subsonic to ear-piercing. It’s interesting to compare the humanity expressed by Kahn in the liners, as he recalls his recording experiences around lakes and docks, and the often ferocious assault brought to the listener. As an example, in the last six minutes a monstrously expanding acid mass brings the whole on the verge of detonation until a sudden alteration in the mix throws us amidst chirping birds, a relatively slow percussive roll ceaselessly underlining the finale.

Music where things happens for a reason, expressing rationality yet also tickling emotions. Kahn seems to know the exact point where apparently colliding energies form an aura of conscious acceptance of the unknown rather than producing noxious effects. Quite frequently one cannot really ascertain what lies behind the frequency curtain; however, the intuition (make that “belief”) generated by an attentive approach will cause psychically equipped audiences to smile knowingly.

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