In a recent interview, Tim Olive answered the "Why do you need music?" question with "I can live without 'music'. But I need sound." Over the years, Jason Kahn has expressed similar sentiments, such as "I'm working with sound to examine how we perceive the world around us and even how we stand in relation to our own perception." It's tricky business being in both artists' positions where the aim seems to be "how do we avoid straight up music while still organizing what we do into a cohesive, inviting work?"
Well it doesn't seem that difficult for these two, and Two Sunrise is a tremendous display of two masters (Kahn's impressive CV is too large to list; though not as prolific, Olive has ruled my top five albums lists since 2009) at play in the, for lack of a better term, sound sculpting business. In this trade, reality is what you make it.
With Olive on his homemade guitar (it's all about the pickups) and Kahn on "analog electronics", they offer their duo debut that came about via a live show and some meetings in various Japan locales. On the four untitled tracks, Olive moves in his distinct aurally submerged remoteness (slight reverb, higher frequencies rolled off, physically distant not too far away) with Kahn in the right speaker, projecting a crisp set of blown fuses and tone bursts. The first work focuses on scratchy, rapid-fire electric spasms and brutal popping gestures that stab and then silence; the counterpoint of that is a lot of rumbling, (physical) digging and scraping until something squeals or moans. Near four minutes, Olive falls back with a boisterous thump and rattling trail (like the "boing" of a snapping spring), and Kahn continues his buzzing detritus; the latter soon breaks the fourth wall where you can hear fingers repositioning and reloading. Olive begins a gong-like, pseudo-Tibetan procession (read: it sounds as slamming, and quickly muting, a pan lid on a table) with Kahn's dog whistle chaos barely contained.
The endless combinations continue throughout the disc, navigating with a nervous rhythmic-centered aesthetic, some patient meditations and the inclusion of more pitch materials as the works progress. On the second piece, Olive employs a deep chugging, train-on-the horizon-at-night motion; Kahn's blipping, haphazard arpeggiations implode and give way to a ghostly Japanese voice (radio transmission or contact microphone next to a subway terminal?)
Not to be abstract or philosophical, but the most intriguing aspect of these works is the battle and treaties of Kahn and Olive versus their instruments. With Olive's setup, he is required to breathe life into an inanimate creature that would otherwise make no noise if he didn't remain lively with CPR, so to speak; Kahn on the other hand is actively working to subdue and ease his agitated patient to a tranquil place.
As with every variation of musicians these two work with (again, the catalog is myriad), the combination here is wholly unique and fresh, like getting to know someone should be.
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