Swiss improviser Jason Kahn continues his forays into vocal experimentation with this solo album, recorded in the rooms of a former Swisscom telephone relay station in Zurich, recorded in a single take, pushing himself over the edge in these unique vocal compositions that are stark examples of his creative and confrontational skills.
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Catalog ID: Editions 004
Squidco Product Code: 21145
Format: 2 LPs
Packaging: Double LP in Hand Painted Sleeves
Recorded in Zurich, Switzerland, on January 12th, 2015, by the artist.
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1. Songline - A - 20:46
1. Songline - B - 20:56
1. Songline - C - 20:47
1. Songline - D - 20:50
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sample the album:
"An extended voice/radical vocality album, Songline was recorded during one evening in the rooms of a former Swisscom telephone relay station in Zürich. I decided to use the main room, which was entirely empty. Its linoleum floors, bare walls and many windows made for a very resonant space. Double glass windows sealed off the world outside but many sounds still emanated from somewhere deep in the bowels of the building.
My vocal work goes back a few years now, appearing here and there on various recordings. Songline is my first studio recording devoted solely to voice. Each of the four pieces from this session reflect different thematic and technical areas I've been working in. And all pieces are improvised, without any post-recording editing. What the listener hears on this record is what took place in this room. This was a challenge to myself, to go through these pieces as if I stood before an audience: no stopping, re-starting. To pull through. Which, in retrospect, was much more difficult than I'd anticipated, as when performing live the energy of the audience and the dynamics of the situation tend to propel me through a performance. There is adrenalin and a certain sense of urgency. All of which I didn't have going for me on the evening I recorded these pieces. I was alone in front of the microphones. I hit the record button and that was it.
What I love about singing is the sense of peril. I'm not a trained singer and I guess my technique is pretty primitive by conventional standards. A lot of what I do is about pushing myself towards the brink of failure, of crashing. That kind of onward thrust towards the cliff. Can I do this, will I make it through the performance, do I have the stamina, where is this going to go? All questions which could conceivably run through my mind during a performance, but which never actually make it to my consciousness. Because if they did, I'd seize up. The show would be over.
But these feelings are there when I sing. And each performance somehow feels fresh, like I'm exploring new ground, reaching for the cracks in my vocal chords, pushing the voice to break. And when it does, to go with this, to welcome it. Sometimes I feel in control and sometimes my limitations determine the direction I can take. But mostly I go where my voice will lead me.
When I perform live I feel acutely tuned into the social space of the situation. Which means for me that space between performer and audience. Of course, every performer is aware of this, whatever instrument they play. As with myself, regardless of sitting behind the drums or playing electronics. But with the voice I feel like an exposed nerve. There is nothing to hide behind, no instrument, nothing between me and the listener.
I perform acoustically, so there is not even the option of using the sound system to take refuge in. I'm just there, in front of you. I'm sitting in a chair and singing. And though I sometimes find it a bit terrifying, putting myself through this, I also feel exhilarated by my vulnerability. This is alive, we are sharing this place in time together. Resonating the social space with my voice. Standing waves of energy.
I feel influenced by much of my work as an electronic musician. The notion of noise and distortion and sounds pulled to their breaking point. But more than this, I feel inspired by the social fabric all around me: all the anguish and joy and the crazy lunacy and dumbness that life is. Sometimes I just want to scream or wail or howl. There is a certain catharsis to this but I just don't want to empty my soul out, vomiting all my innermost feelings for the audience to wade through.
As ambiguous as this all might sound, I want to convey emotion and a sense of being here, being present and that we're all in this together beyond the length of my set or even this life here, moving on to higher ground."-Jason Kahn
• Show Bio for Jason Kahn
" is a musician, artist and writer. He was born 1960 in New York and grew up in Los Angeles. He re-located to Europe in 1990 and is currently based in Zürich.
As an electronic musician, vocalist and drummer Kahn collaborates regularly with many musicians, both in improvised settings and in the context of graphical scores which he composes for specific groups.
Kahn has exhibited his installations in museums, galleries, art spaces and public sites internationally. These works focus on the idea of space: the conceptual and physical juncture points, its production and dissolution, and our relation to it as a political, social and environmental medium.
Kahn's other activities include sound pieces for radio, film, dance and theater. He has also designed numerous CD, LP and cassette covers. As a writer, his work has appeared in books, magazines and as liner notes to many audio publications.
Performing regularly around the world, Kahn has given concerts throughout Europe, North and South America, Australia, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey and South Africa.
In 2011 Kahn started the Editions imprint to publish his own recordings and writings."-Jason Kahn Website (http://www.jasonkahn.net/biography/index.html)
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