Jason Kahn


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On Sihl, Jason Kahn refines and perfects the form he used for Miramar, his previous album for the Portuguese label Sirr. Again, identifiable percussion sounds are reduced to tinting bells and the occasional rumble of a floor tom, either played or set to resonate by a synthesizer tone. High-pitched sine waves, queasy midrange tones, and low growls account for the backbone of the music, with various textural drones and extremely light percussion work (brushes on cymbal, for instance) providing subtle nuances. Kahn is credited for percussion and analogue synthesizer, but, listening to Sihl, one is more prone to think of computers and field recordings made in extremely remote locations. Miramar was a 70-minute set of five pieces. This one clocks in at a little over 45 minutes and racks up a dozen pieces. Brevity is the key: Kahn devises an aural landscape, selecting a combination of tones and textures, lets it unfold for four minutes or so, then abruptly pulls the plug and sets up again. It feels like watching a slide show of evocative photographs, with someone regularly startling you out of contemplation by shouting "Next!" A strange feeling indeed. Yet, Kahn's studied settings reclaim your attention every time and, in the end, the short durations work out for the music. Is the crude editing making a point? One cannot be sure, and some listeners will find that annoying, but don't let it deter you.