Artist: Jason Kahn & Asher
Title: Vista
Catalog Number: and/31
Release Year: 2008
Format: CD
Status:  Available

Track List:
01. Vista  45:48
The work on Vista began in the summer of 2006 with recordings made by
Asher in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston. Walking through the alleys
and side streets he recorded the various mechanical rooms, generators,
ventilation systems and idling motors which were to be found there. These
recordings were processed and sent to Kahn.

Later that fall, Kahn sent Asher several pre-dawn recordings he had made
on the shores of Zürich Lake. Asher processed these in keeping with the
methods he had used with his own location recordings so as to create
continuity among the amassing material. Unprocessed wind recordings
made by Kahn in the Swiss Alps in the summer of 2007 comprised the final
batch of material used on
Vista. Asher and Kahn spent the remainder of that
year working on a final mix. Addressing the idea of hearing and seeing out
and beyond spatial planes, title
Vista references both the aural expanses of
Asher's home on a hill in the town of Somerville and Kahn's trips to the Alps
and Zürich Lake.

In processing and mixing the discrete details of a landscape, we hear them
from a real physical distance. Through the incidental combinations of
processed local sounds and sound materials which are entirely foreign to
us, an imaginative aural view is created which obscures any relationship to a
documentary account of the original locations recorded for
Vista.

Jason Kahn is a sound and visual artist based in Zürich. His work includes
sound installation, performance and composition. He was born in New York,
grew up in Los Angeles and relocated to Europe in 1990. Kahn has given
concerts and exhibited his sound installations throughout Europe, North and
South and America, Japan, Mexico, Korea, Israel, Turkey, Russia, Lebanon,
Egypt, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia. Kahn's work has been
published by many other labels such as his own imprint Cut , For4Ears, Sirr,
Crouton, Korm Plastics, Creative Sources, Longbox Recordings, 1.8 sec
records, Chloë and ATAK among others.

Asher (Thal-Nir) is still a relatively new sound artist living and working in
Somerville, Massachusetts who has already garnered quite a bit of acclaim
in just a few short years for his work using old cassette tapes and field
recordings. He also uses processed acoustic and electronic instruments.
His work has been published online by 12k / term, Con-v, Laboratoire
Moderne (EARlabs), and Homophoni, and on CDR and DVDR by Con-v,
Leerraum,  Conv, Winds Measure Recordings, Mystery Sea, The Land Of,
among others.

DISCLAIMER:
For full effect, turn up the volume and do nothing else but listen.
You may very well find that this is ALL you will be able to do anyway...  
Despite the cover images on the packaging, driving while under the influence
of this CD should be done with caution. This CD may induce a
"thousand-yard stare" (a long, unfocused gaze), instances of "missing time",
or audio hallucinations that could cause disorientation in the listener.
Bottom line: friends don't let friends drive under the influence of
Vista.
This CD is for recreational use only. ENJOY.
Smallfish  (September 2008)
A very interesting pairing indeed here. Kahn and Asher began swapping and
processing sounds and files relating to certain environmental locations
(Asher's home on a hill and Kahn's trips to the Alps and Lake Zurich) and
then produced this finely honed and very intense 45 minute work. The initially
sparse sounding lead in has an earthy tone which ever-so-slowly evolves
into a more bass-heavy drone. There are wonderful sounds there and the
harmonic quality is superb bringing to life the idea of the vista from the title. It
becomes more expansive as it moves one changing and morphing at exactly
the right rate to keep you completely hooked. I guess I have to call it a drone
work really and I'm mighty impressed with it. and/Oar is really a fantastic
label and this is another contemporary electronic release that they should be
absolutely proud of. Deeply excellent.  (Mike Oliver)
E / I  (November 2008)
The cross-hatching of field recordings from the town of Somerville, the Alps
and Zurich Lake found on Jason Kahn and Asher’s collaboration Vista
interrupts the stupor of lucidity and momentarily reawakens an oceanic
feeling for the world and its far-flung extremities. The recording is
indeterminate by reason of its fundamental structure. The two sound-worlds
interrelate without fusing or forming a unity; the mechanical rooms and
generators of Somerville amass and give rise to a resistance and a sense of
dimension of material space within and against the wind and water sounds
from Kahn. Vista is thus elemental, physical, yet also otherworldly, in fact,
more so than anything one is likely to find in the back-catalogue of either
artist, straining as it often does to frame a certain spectral presence.
Consisting of a single forty-five minute composition, the work begins in a
state of liquid insubstantiality, before being broken up and veering off into
time-shifts. A grimy generator thrum is set to some rich sonic mush and a
mechanical pulse that incrementally multiplies in density. All of these
elements fold back and entwine themselves chokingly around a sound
(water beating up against a rock?) that is both strangely muffled and
claustrophobic. What at first ripples and rises darkly as if through obscured
glass, near the end of the album is brutally, unforgivingly and starkly
illuminated and, for all that—or, rather, because of it—oddly foreign and
distant. As an ending, its thus more a dissolution than a conclusion, and a
surprisingly effective one at that. In between these two points, the work
follows a steady, consistent and yet exploratory path—constructing well
formed telluric landmarks and branching off into a number of directions,
thereby evoking geometric attributes constitutive of material space.
(Max Shaefer)
Aquarius Records  (September 2008)
This is a pairing that we didn't expect; and without a doubt, we didn't expect it
to be so good. Jason Kahn is an American ex-pat living in Switzerland,
having made a smooth transition from the percussive ends of improv into a
drone heavy minimalism that often derives from the resonant frequencies of
snares and floor toms. Earlier in 2008, Kahn delivered a transcendent live
set at the San Francisco Art Institute with little more than an amplifier, a drum
head, and some basic electronics. Asher Thal-Nir has impressed us with
his ultra-quiet renderings of whispered field recordings and gauzy
atmospherics, on par with some of the best work from Bernhard Gunter
(what ever happened to that guy, anyway?). The album begins with rasping
din of soft metals like aluminum or copper rattling against each other. For
those familiar with Kahn's work, this tactile acoustic noise sounds just like
one of his feedback systems transmitted through his drum kit; however, the
sources for this album are all field recordings. Asher provided the
environmental sounds from the back alleys of Boston, with ventilators,
heating units, and other motors that ceaselessly rumble in the urban
landscape. Kahn picked the far more pastoral sounds of Lake Zurich. It's
almost as if Asher decided upon sounds better suited to Kahn's aesthetic
and Kahn to Asher's sensibility. In any case, the huge rumble of
subharmonics from Asher's industrial field recordings becomes this
leaden cloud that weighs very heavily upon the recording. The fastidious
production work between these two subtly shifts the clamorous frequencies
into singing overtones, resembling a Ligetti chorale at times or a Pandit Pran
Nath harmonium drone at another. But by the end of the record, the thick
drone collapses into a vibrating black hole with ripples of negative energy
fading into the soft patter of those lakeside field recordings. Definitely for fans
of Phill Niblock, John Duncan's drone work, and Kevin Drumm's Imperial
Distortion. Very f*cking cool.
The Wire  (February 2009)
Asher Thal-Nir is a composer out of the greater Boston area, who has
stealthily amassed an intrighuing catalogue of quiet compositions.
His
digital download album fro Room40, Landscape Studies, is a series of
sketches inspired by the intrusion of the urban din into his living space. He
articulates such sounds as a field of static with minor fluctuations that
interrupt the softened white noise. Unfortunately, Asher sublimates these
sounds as a backdrop for a rather generic Ambient architecture of mid-range
timbres. Given the occasional disintegration of these sounds in conjunction
with the velvety hiss of the background noise, Landscape Studies is
frustratingly banal when it could have been great.

Asher redeems himself on the infinitely better Vista with Jason Kahn. I'm not
convinced that it's Kahn's presence that makes this record better, but rather
that both artists are at the top of their game.
Vista is a cohabitation of two
sets of field recordings made by Asher in the urban landscapes around
Boston and Kahn around Lake Zurich in Switzerland. Given Kahn's  
preference for controlled feedback systems, it seems that Asher picked
mechanical rumblings that were sympathetic with Kahn's sound; and Kahn
collected the quieter textures patterned after Asher's aesthetic. Collectively,
these sets of sounds are stretched, crushed, looped and layered, and then
allowed to slowly crossfade against each other for the course of 40 minutes
or so. Very little happens, but the effect of subtle cracklings and irregularities
upon the subharmonic throb and motorised vibration is downright hypnotic.  
(Jim Haynes)