Thursday, May 28, 2020
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Artist: Jason Kahn (@)
Title: Things Fall Apart
Format: CD
Label: Herbal International (@)
Rated: *****
I was not very familiar with Jason Kahn's work, but the liner notes provide considerable background into the project. In case you were wondering, yes, this album was inspired by Chinua Achebe's novel 'Things Fall Apart,' and yes, there was a brief perception that the recording session had fallen apart (noise from a wedding party next door, horse carts clattering outside), but the result is still quite satisfying. The liner notes state that there was minimal processing and no overdubs in these compositions. As such, it makes sense that these tracks would be raw and really stripped down and that is what we have here. The tracks here range from vocal sounds, percussion improvisation, to noisy field recordings. The sound sources attributed to this recording include: 'Drum set, voice, metal objects, radio, mixing board, contact microphones, magnetic coil, speaker, computer, chairs, plastic bags.' Where some field recording projects suffer because of the lack of variety in the compositions, Kahn manages to draw the listener in by combining things in interesting ways. For example, 'We Fall' mixes improvised percussion with quiet singing in a way that seems almost intimate. Several of these tracks use percussion and ambient sounds to good effect, such as 'Wait,' with its vocals and cymbals and 'Mornings,' with field recordings punctuated by drone and percussion. Other tracks use the voice more as an instrument than as a way to convey words, such as 'Night' with long, droning singing reminiscent of Arcanta and 'Calling,' which features long, sustained calls of notes held for a long time, which ends with yells. Overall, this is interesting experimental music and good improvisation. This album weighs in at around 53 minutes.