JASON KAHN – Days Falling


The conceptual and inspirational architecture behind Days Falling, inclusive of heartfelt explanations for each piece, is thoroughly detailed by Jason Kahn in the liner notes, to which you should refer. In the last two appalling years, rarely an artist’s statement linked to the psychological and material consequences of Covid was found by yours truly uncontaminated by obviousness (and, sometimes, by rather selfish connotations). But decades of listening to his music have shown to this writer that Kahn is sustained by a completely different commitment.

In keeping with his current investigations of the acoustic guitar + voice pairing, Kahn managed to expel from his larynx, guts and brain the unbearable components of loneliness in the midst of enormous problems and consequent distressing thoughts. Feelings that, if not made explicit as cathartically as he does, could have possibly led to an out-and-out devastation of interiority. In that regard, these five improvisations are the ultimate expression of what might be defined as modern-day blues. 

Kahn is not concerned with peripheral aesthetic aspects. On the contrary, he seems willing to involve the listener in physical experiences: the liquids vibrating in a throat tightened to the extreme, the “desperately microtonal” howls of discharge. Not to mention the guitar’s vibrations and buzzes. He’s aware of expressing something not necessarily shareable with people used to play roles on a daily basis, escaping from uncomfortable truths, obsessed with their masks in front of others. All of the above may be tough to absorb if one’s not responsive to the performer’s message. That’s why this album – and, in general, Kahn’s more recent output – will result especially compatible with individuals who are fundamentally unambiguous or, at the very least, honest in the assessment of their actual position within this life.

In today’s world, the mentally ill can still elect to make anybody feel bad. If your defense against injustice and misfortune is a meaningless suggestion of heavenly faultlessness as a justifying container for every filthy occurrence, then it’s a really mediocre reassurance. It’s sweeping the dust of issues that would be solved with intelligence and sensitivity under the carpet of supposed equality. To get back to the real blues: it’s one thing to sing “The Thrill Is Gone” while flaunting manicured hands and precious rings glinting on a black Gibson; it’s quite another to grant a constructive glimpse of one’s anguish to someone perilously drifting away from a necessary self-centering. It’s called unintended teaching. Kahn gifted us with soul-cleansing private snapshots, and we relish his altruism.

Posted in Uncategorized