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Jason Kahn
"Noema"
(2014)
Editions 003 Double LP

Edition of 250
Heavy weight 180 gram vinyl.
Hand-painted covers on thick gray cardboard.

Source material recorded July to October 2012 in Kyoto.
Pieces composed January 2013 to March 2014 in Zürich.
Mastering, liner notes and LP artwork Jason Kahn.

Download liner notes here.

Side A (15.51):
1. Warning Tone (1.14), 2. Temple Dance (1.55), 3. Checkout (1.38), 4. Haunted House (2.05),
5. Winds Away (1.21), 6. Sporting (1.56), 7. Musician (1.16) 8. 100 Yen (1.59)
9. Shopping Arcade (1.38)

Side B (17.32):
1. Kids (2.05), 2. Outside Karaoke (1.47), 3. Hara (2.07), 4. Kyoto Station (1.22), 5. Big Ship (1.30), 6. Parlor (1.51), 7. For Alms (1.12), 8. Fire Warning (1.34), 9. Flea Market (1.34),
10. Ghost Pond (1.36)

Side C (18.49):
1. Sender (2.00), 2. Summer Phase (2.01), 3. Shopping (2.06), 4. Kamogawa (1.38),
5. Temple Ground (2.09), 6. Daybreak (2.10), 7. Footstep (1.55), 8. Enryaku-ji (2.05),
9. Little Shrine (2.00)

Side D (17.16):
1. Shimogama (1.57), 2. Rains (1.35), 3. Underground (1.55), 4. Above (1.43), 5. Coffee Shop (1.43), 6. Announcement (1.25), 7. Night Out (2.19), 8. Sword Fight (1.40), 9. Casting Wish (2.11)

Excerpts:















Price including post to Europe: 25.00 euros

Price including post to rest of the world: 30.00 euros

Noema is a collection of 37 short pieces composed from source material I recorded in and around Kyoto during a three-month stay there with my family in 2012.

The over-arching theme of the record is the idea of exploring social space through everyday sound--and especially in the case of Kyoto, not just focusing on what we've come to know the city for (temples, shrines, etc.--though some of these are in there as well).

The pieces also deal with the idea of memory, much as the famous "episode of the madeline" in Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past, in which the taste of the madeline dipped in tea triggers a flood of involuntary memories. For me, many of the sounds used in these pieces work the same way.

The word noema is often used in philosophical discourse to describe the object of thought--and in the case of this record, the sounds themselves and the structures they contribute to in the production of social space..


Reviews:

Part of what makes a drummer good is his or her awareness of what goes on beyond the drum kit. Obviously, it helps to listen to what the other players are playing, and to adjust accordingly. But beyond that, there's listening to the space you're in, and how it transforms whatever sounds pass through it. The trap kit stopped being Jason Kahn's primary instrument a long time ago, but he plays the ones he's taken up--electronics and collected sounds--with an awareness of the influences of acoustic space.
Noema's material was collected during a three month residency in Kyoto, Japan. Kahn's wife and children accompanied him there, and they are recurring presences across the album's four sides. "Sweet deal," you might be thinking. "The guy not only gets someone to put him and his clan up for a season in a foreign land, they get to call their audio souvenir an art project." It is true that he did just that, but what he does with these mementos is hardly obvious and definitely rigorous. Within a track, you'll hear pauses, juxtapositions of in and outdoor events, and echoes and other effects. The sounds of old women catching up in an alleyway cut away to a loop of a karaoke bar heard from the sidewalk. Rain on a roof competes with incidental music blaring in a train station. Again and again, inside and outside jostle against one another, sometimes complimentarily and other times in carefully constructed conflicts.
The word Noema denotes an object of thought, and what elevates its 37 tracks from mere documentation of space is the thought he put into deciding what he would turn them into. Kahn didn't just present sounds; he thought about what stories they might tell if assembled in a particular way, and what else they'd say if he chopped them up into pieces so small, there's no telling what they once were. By the time they get to the LP, they no longer belong to the spaces and people who made them; they have become things that Kahn manipulated and remade into something else. Thus it makes sense that he would press them into a couple of vinyl records, since they are solid objects created to preserve expressions of his ideas, and also since it's hard to tamper with his sequences of sounds.
> Bill Meyer, Dusted In Exile, 10.2014

A surprising record self-published as a double LP and featuring sound collages realized with field recordings made in Japan. 37 vignettes -- they're all very short, nothing over 2:30 -- from everyday life: kids in a school yard, shopping centres, insects on the balcony. There is a certain level of composition at play -- or de-composition, with interruptions (suddent insertions of pauses) and editing. It's nice, well recorded, and presented simply. I have issues with the interruptions, although I do understand that they are a metaphor for the gaps in our recollections. Still, an enjoyable record. 180 gr, hand-painted cardboard sleeve.
> Francois Couture, Monsieur Delire, 10.2014

Les quelques mois qu'a duré le séjour nippon de Jason Kahn en 2012 semblent avoir donné plusieurs occasions de documenter les activités représentatives des centres d'intéręt du musicien : en trio avec Tetuzi Akiyama & Toshimaru Nakamura (ihj / ftarri) ou Takahiro Yamamoto & Takuji Naka (Yugue), en duo avec Tim Olive (Two Sunrise), en contemplateur écrivant (In Place : Daitoku-ji and Shibuya Crosssing), mais aussi en promeneur écoutant, micro ā la main...
Bien différente des Fields ou des Songs for Nicolas Ross des années 2000, la collection -- regroupée sur deux luxueux vinyles -- qui témoigne de ces déambulations se compose de trente-sept vignettes (moins des haīkus que des capsules) intelligemment agencées et finement gravées : carrousel de sirčnes ; tintements ; beats, bips et bribes de voix ; coups de vent chargés de lambeaux de musique (religieuse ou commerciale) ; suzumushi buzzant ; flux de la mousson et du trafic urbain... La bričveté de ces instantanés qui se déposent et forment mosaīque peut surprendre ; elle demande une attention particuličre, kaléidoscopique, minutieuse ou flottante.
Soigneusement rédigés pour le livret, les petits textes accompagnant les pičces sonores leur confčrent la perspective personnelle, touchante, qui les transforme ; contextes, circonstances et pensées ainsi induites donnent une belle épaisseur ā l'ensemble. Et c'est lā, dans cette combinaison, cette interaction des mots et des sons, que Kahn élčve l'élégant catalogue au rang de journal : et intime et vraiment partageable.
> Guillaume Tarche, Le Son du Grisli, 10.2014

Man, I miss those beautiful covers by Kahn for his sadly defunct Cut label. It was a pleasure seeing this one, hand done in, I think, gouache; just fantastic.
The cover, made of a kind of cardboard open on three sides so, in a way, a folder, houses two LPs which contain 37 short tracks, all recorded in and around Kyoto in 2012. Kahn writes, "The over-arching theme of the record is the idea of exploring social space through everyday sound-and especially in the case of Kyoto, not just focusing on what we've come to know the city for (temples, shrines, etc.-though some of these are there as well)." It's clearly a very personal collection, which Kahn acknowledges via a reference to Proust's madeleine. Kahn devotes a descriptive paragraph to each track int he accompanying insert.
I won't comment on each of the tracks but at the same time, generalizing does them a disservice as does calling them sonic snapshots" or some such. Each deals with a specific environment or set of environments, each appears to have been constructed from several recordings, sometimes overlapping, sometimes spliced together roughly. There's little pure "naturalism" despite, as near as I can determine, all the sounds being sourced directly from real world activities, natural or man-made. "Memories" isn't a bad, if banal, signifier, in the sense of someone recalling a small sequence of events from, say, a few days prior, certain events/sounds foregrounded in retrospect, including things that may have seemed trivial at the time and, one assumes, "major" occurrences forgotten. Canned music and various electronic manifestations figure prominently, as do voices, conjuring (often) nighttime images of the sort Westerners often have of Japan, the crowds, the sales, the bright displays but also the single events happening amidst the quiet darkness. Kahn manipulates the sounds, sometimes overtly ("Parlor", for instance, or "Kamogawa") but I have the feeling that there's often post-recording construction going on that's more seamless and has escaped me. It's difficult picking stand-outs, senseless perhaps, but the radio scans of "Sender" are pretty fabulous.
My natural tendency is to find the short form in use here to be a bit disorienting; I want to hear these type of things (and the sounds themselves are virtually all quite wonderful) explored at length. So I have to readjust my listening aspect and almost hear these as songs, pop songs maybe. So here's a brief suzumushi (bell cricket) duet, there's a chorus of shoppers. The sporadic appearance of actual pop music (often seized upon and looped by Kahn, as in "Shopping"), something that seems to ooze out of many Kyoto crannies, makes this approach a conducive one. The closing track, featuring coins jangling in a cup in front of an ambient urban hum, is quite moving.
I still find it a tough album to grasp in its entirety, tending to isolate this or that track but individually, all of those cuts are fine and fascinating. I'd certainly recommend giving it a try and especially so for field recording fans and, of course, it's automatic for admirers of Kahn's fine body of work.
>Brian Olewnick, Just Outside, 9.2014

Américain émigré en Suisse depuis pas mal d'années maintenant, Jason Kahn est également un musicien reconnu pour sa pratique de l'électronique, męme s'il officie également ā la batterie et ā la voix maintenant. C'est aussi un musicien qui a eu de nombreuses occasions de pratiquer l'improvisation, mais qui a tendance ā s'en écarter de plus en plus. Preuve en est Noema, le dernier vinyle qu'il vient de publier sur son propre label.
Ce disque regroupe 37 petites pičces enregistrées en 2012 lors d'une résidence au Japon. Il s'agit uniquement de field-recordings, d'enregistrements en tous lieux et en tous genres, édités et mixés en 2013 ā Zurich. Un peu de la męme maničre que Bryan Eubanks, je n'admire pas Jason Kahn pour sa virtuosité, mais pour la force de ses idées le plus souvent. Et ici, c'est encore le cas. Les enregistrements de Kahn ne sont pas tellement exceptionnels, leur mixage non plus. Mais l'écoute et la sensibilité de Kahn doivent bien l'ętre pour que ces enregistrements se révčlent aussi passionnants. Il y a quelque chose de profondément musical dans ces enregistrements, Kahn a su capter une ambiance sonore particuličre lors de chaque enregistrement (qu'il contienne ou non de la musique). Qu'il soit dans un temple bouddhiste, dans un parc, un magasin, une station de métro, un restaurant, ou que sais-je encore, dans tous les lieux qu'il a eu l'occasion de visiter et d'explorer durant ces quelques mois, Jason Kahn a su capter comme l'essence sonore de ces lieux. Les enregistrements décrivent trčs bien l'atmosphčre des lieux, et semblent capturés pour leur intéręt sonore et musical, mais lors du mixage, Jason Kahn a également su rendre compte de sa maničre d'envisager chaque atmosphčre, de rendre compte d'environnements drôles, intrigants, oppressants, austčres, bruyants, calmes, musicaux, bruitistes, mystiques, citadins, naturels, etc.
Il ne s'agit pas lā d'une grande composition de musique concrčte, ni de field-recordings remarquables. Il s'agit de partager des moments sonores avec un musicien ā l'oreille et ā l'attention fines. De partager des ressentis, des impressions sonores, et des souvenirs. C'est fin, personnel et sensible, c'est beau et intime.
>Julien Héraud, Improv Sphere, 9.2014

Stunning 2xLP 180g art edition LP from composer/sound thinker Jason Kahn, with deep connections to the Australian/Breakdance The Dawn underground as well as NZ avant-thought, in a hand-numbered private press edition of only 250 copies, all copies of which are individually hand-painted by Kahn himself: a departure from Kahn's last celestial big band working and somewhere altogether from his jams with Bruce Russell of The Dead C and Richard Francis, Noema documents a three month stay in Kyoto in Japan in 2012. Across 37 short piece Kahn creates an hallucinatory and very personal sound journal by using field recordings culled from shopping centres, deep haunted pools, subway sirens, conversation, snippets of popular and traditional song, street noise, temple rituals and more, cutting them together in a way that expands on how the sounds of social spaces work their particular magic while riffing on fragments of sound and sight that work as nostalgic jumping-off points for the process of memory. The set comes with extensive liner notes and track-by-track commentary and it works best when read alongside the record, mapping Kahn's movements and memories of the city via "a rain of nunchuks splintering the hot summer night", melting in the summer heat, dropping microphones into secret waters and other geomantic workings across his stay. The tracks themselves are deep, laminal constructions that conflate environmental sound and song, the drone of the city asleep at night with minimalist composition and the sound of madmen on the streets with the music of the spheres. A beautiful set, endlessly replayable and a truly magickal transport -- very highly recommended!
>David Keenan, Volcanic Tongue, 8.2014

The third release on Jason Kahn's excellent private press Editions continues his interrogations of social space and interaction, this time through location recordings of Kyoto. He casts his net wide, takin gin people, public places, street scenes, radio grabs and more. But rather than long captures, he has broken up his recordings into 37 crisp miniatures, and further sliced those into fragments lasting no more than a few seconds. It's the intervention that makes these pieces work, as Kahn teases out momentary rhythms, hidden resonances and strange repititions. But more importantly, these recordings are dense with memories, specifically Kahn's, if you read along with the Proust-inspired sleevenotes where he riffs on what each of them triggers. The notes, along with Kahn's deft treatments, are essential, because they otherwise deepen what would be a series of rich but anonymous place recordings. They remind you what's vital in location recordings: personal perspective, and the way a space gets charged with meaning through memory and interpretation.
> Matt Wuetrich, The Wire, 9.2014

37 korta stycken, vart och ett baserat på en fältinspelning i Kyoto, där Jason Kahn vistades med sin familj i tre månader 2012. Kahn driver själv bolaget Editions för att ge ut egna verk.Här har han gjort det mesta. Inklusive en ovanligt välfunnen form till de två skivorna. Allt är ändå enkelt och andas DIY. Vilket känns underbart. Presentationen är också fin.
De 37 små styckena presenteras i korta prosatexter, som berättar var det är inspelat och vid vilket tillfälle, men inte bara det, här är också dagboksliknande anteckningar, så vi förstår betydelsen för Kahn. Vad han minns. Hur han associerar till de olika platserna. På så sätt skapar han en platsernas dagbok. Jag som aldrig varit i Kyoto känner mig tacksam, då han förklarar till exempel vad det är för tempeldans han spelat in eller vad det är för elak varningston som skär så högt.
Det får jag veta och kan sitta i min fåtölj och fantisera, medan styckena far förbi. Det blir som en resa. Ibland lockar Kahn bort mig i sina texter, om han till exempel börjar tänka på någon som inte har ett skvatt med det hela att göra. Vad blev det av Peter Hollinger frågar han sig. Och jag är nära på att fara upp för att försöka ta reda på det. (Vad blev det av honom förresten?) Men musikstyckena då?
De bjuder på både motstånd och oväntad underhållning. Kasten är många, inte minst mellan verken, men också i dem. En dansant figur, en exotisk klang, en skärande ton kan snabbt bytas ut i sin motsats. Det är klangligt och rytmiskt sorterat så att jag utan vidare lyssnar rakt igenom på alla fyra sidorna. Samtidigt kan jag stanna upp.
Med andra ord är upplägget litet förstrött, avspänt. Det motsvarar Kahns egen rapsodiska minnesförmåga, som hängts upp på alla dessa ljud. Från oansenliga små till stora som tar plats. En mycket ovanlig musikalisk reseberättelse, som jag gärna tar till mig eftersom det känns så anspråkslöst. Och för att nå dit, det måste tilläggas, har Kahn mixat, klippt, komponerat med minutiös noggrannhet. Det är bara att mödan inte märks.
Fältinspelningar som väcker samma intresse som en resedagbok eller en svit kammarmusikaliska verk.
>Sound of Music, Thomas Milroth, 8.2014

This double album is packed in the same cardboard that Kahn used for his CD releases when he still had the Cut label. Now his new enterprise is called Editions, and releases his own work. With this thick grey cardboard and two pieces of vinyl, this feels like a heavy package. The music is something different than you would expect from Kahn. Normally you'll find him with an analogue synthesizer, percussion or laptop playing minimally dense patterns of sounds; on this double LP he offers a collection of thirty-seven short pieces all recorded in Kyoto. A Polaroid if you will from the city, 'exploring social space through everyday sound', and not just focusing on things you may associate Kyoto with, shrines and temples. Each piece is described on the insert, which provides some nice reading material. I visited Kyoto many years ago, and it's a beautiful Japanese city - but I might be biased: I think I like Japan - so you could think these sounds are familiar to me, but they aren't. It's been seven years ago and perhaps I was listening in the same way as Kahn did. However the sounds he recorded, the interaction between people in everyday situations, from perhaps odd recording perspectives, allowing sounds to drop in which you might not expect makes this a truly fascinating, aural trip to the city. Street sounds, shops, temples, pachincko, semishigures and other nature sounds. Topped with Kahn's writing on the cover it might even make sense for those who never been to Kyoto. A beautiful product. It makes me wanna go back straight away (ok, perhaps not in July, the hottest of all months over there, I believe).
>Vital Weekly, Frans de Waard, 8.2014

 

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