Jason Kahn

Blinks

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You may or may not know that Jason Kahn and Günter Müller are both former percussionists and that, to some extent, they still use percussion as their main sound source. In that regard, Blinks delivers a total redefinition of the term "percussion." Recorded in May of 2003, Blinks is a bleak, bleeping set of duos owing much more to click'n'cuts and experimental ambient electronica than to percussion as an instrument or free improvisation as a form of expression. And yet, one does hear cymbal strokes (sampled and reconfigured), bass drum rumbles (soundwaves triggered by the use of unusual devices on top of the drum), and clicks and hits that could be originating from stones or pure electronics. Then again, after a few minutes it becomes obvious that the tools should not be the focus. Blinks, like all of Kahn and Müller's music of recent years, is about breathing, placement, an ingeniously warped sense of aesthetics, and the irremediable blurring of all "normal" musical parameters. This set, consisting mostly of very quiet granular textures, soft crystalline feedbacks, and clicking sounds, shares strong similarities with Müller's solo CD Eight Landscapes and Kahn's then-latest solo album Miramar. Double the musicians does not mean double the energy, dynamics or sound palette. In fact, these two are constantly attempting to hide behind one another. Luckily, the result is not too shy. Set at the proper volume, the music on Blinks inhabits the room, turning it into a rocket ship command center where all the radar bleeps and equipment hums fall strangely in synchronicity, living at their own pace, in their own part of the universe.