Two Sunrise Reviews

Two Sunrise

The first document of this duo for improvised electronics, whose 35 minute running time is both prudently succinct and action packed. The playing is sensitive, busy in a controlled sort of way, crafting choppy discourses for brittle shortwave-style fragmentation, which alight on moments of stillness or structure before diverging into passages of less stable textures. Salvoes of fizzing tones thicken into blanket static, or are sliced into lattices of clipped shards. It’s hard to tell who’s doing what, not that it really matters. One of the two, perhaps Kahn, tends to take on more of a background role, providing rhythmic counterpoint in the form of clanking, metallic sounds, of the kind which could pass for manipulation of objects or acoustic instrumentation, for example a drum kit. The third track takes a freeform turn, disintegrating into an undifferentiated cacophony. The concluding track pulls back, settling on scuttling rhythms and sibilant fuzz.
(Nick Cain, The Wire)

It’s funny how perceptions linger. Having heard any number of Jason Kahn recordings from early in the oughts (and seen him in performance), I still retain this dumb preconception when I see his name on a release, that it will contain some precision, even obsessive rhythmic motifs, despite the fact that the last few occasions I’ve encountered his work, this hasn’t been the case. Tim Olive’s name, of course, suggests nothing of the sort and this recording, documenting their first meeting in 2012, is redolent of the rough-hewn, splatter electronics I’ve known in Olive’s work while at the same time somehow evoking a shattered version of Kahn’s percussion music (though both here are on electronics, Olive also using a magnetic pick-up). The result is a harsh, dense and spiky ride through territory adjacent to that plowed by the fine Seoul crew but, generally, gummier, more chewy, the sounds more strand-like than prickly. Percussion is evoked as well as a range of sounds that recall strings of various kinds, gut to metal. There are a handful of relatively calm moments, but the thrust is toward the torrential, most of the elements pushing the music forward, elbowing it, even. Good, tough work, not for the faint-hearted.
(Brian Olewnick, Just Outside)

While not exactly crossing the border to play all out noise, here we have something that is quite loud, most of the time, with piercing electronics cutting and intercepting each other, bouncing around, and metallic objects are being tested for tonal colours. Like wires suspended from the ceiling and the room as an acoustic resonator; all along somebody uses and abuses the mixing board and with a pickup finds whatever frequencies are hidden inside the machine and makes them audible for the listener. At thirty-five minutes this has just the right length for such a noisy excursion. Very nice; it shows us a side of Kahn which we probably don’t see a lot.
(Frans De Waard, Vital Weekly)

…the two played together in a studio, with the released tracks being chosen, edited and sequenced from the resulting several hours of recordings. Given that selection process, it is inevitable that the music is of a high quality… in typical 845-fashion, none of the tracks is given a title. More positively—following another 845 trend—Olive is again paired with a musician experienced in empathetic duo interactions. In situations with two players on electronics, there is an ever-present danger of the two overlapping, intermingling and becoming indistinguishable, thus losing any sense of a duo at work. Kahn and Olive never sound remotely in danger of doing that. Throughout, they can be heard as two distinct, easily-distinguishable voices, obviously listening and reacting to one another.
(John Eyles, All About Jazz)

Kahn and Olive play well together, collecting strange snippets of sound – static charge, feedback fuzz, rattle and hum – and collating them into a much larger framework… In these four pieces, they accumulate like dust in an uncleaned room, rattling around their cages until one becomes frightened at the possibility of setting them free.  Chains rattle; gates fall free from their hinges; cassette covers are closed; an amp is placed too close to a microphone.  Any and all of these things may or may not be happening, but the impressions are there.  At times the sounds are split speaker-to-speaker between the organic (echoed reverberations in a metal drum) and the inorganic (glitches and wails).  On occasion the difference is split ~ in the opening piece, metal imitates needle.  The recording also contains great depth, mastered in such a way as to provide a dimensional illusion. While unusual, the work is not inaccessible.  In the closing 26 seconds of the second piece, one hears the ghost of another potential project, a rhythmic electronic loop.  Olive and his cohorts may one day cross over, but for now, their anti-pop stance is their primary appeal.
(Richard Allen, A Closer Listen)

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… 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, the combination here is wholly unique and fresh, like getting to know someone should be.
(Dave Madden, Squid’s Ear)

This is a very solid release, which rewards close listening. The use of a small palette of sounds means that the duo investigate those sounds and their interactions with great rigour and effect. Whilst my ears are drawn to the more “junk-like” sounds of Olive, Kahn’s contributions are equally commendable. The short duration of the album makes it a very digestible piece of work and one, perhaps, for noise people interested in spreading their wings a little.
(martin p, musique machine)

On the three studio pieces, the duo present an experience not unlike a phantom radio station which is broadcasting signals from Planet Metallo, an as-yet-undiscovered sphere in the cosmos which is populated by odd-looking men made of zinc who evidently spend most of their time dragging recycled office desks from one corner of the room to another… nine days later the duo found themselves playing at an event in Osaka, and the results are captured and printed here: already an audibly more confident and assured performance from both, and characterised by many exciting textures and wild bursts of controlled noise. As ever with anything where Olive is involved, there’s a genuine sense that the music is being explored and invented in real time, rather than professional improvisers simply trotting out their well-worn tics and phrases. Fab!
(Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector)

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