Jason Kahn – In Place


Errant Bodies Press, ISBN: 978-0988937543, English, 112 pages, 2016, Germany

Jason Kahn (see the interview in Neural #55) is a sound artist who has spent a good deal of time investigating what he calls “active listening” practices, raising the awareness of our sonic environments and training our mind with a contemplative and resonating attitude. Kahn’s work understands sound both physically and psychologically. That’s why part of his investigation involves the “written recording” of spaces, where he explores a specific place for hours, noting down his own contextualised listening experience. This book, in particular, is filled with live descriptions of places in France, Belgium, Japan, Korea, and Switzerland. It can be considered as a written “field recording album” in the form of a book, something that some labels (Gruenrekorder among them) have already tested as official music releases. The reading becomes a listening, still remaining in the most classic reading tradition. In this respect, the observations, accidents, events, and perceptions are obviously personal, but the style that Kahn preserves is to narrate as a writer would do. He describes, but also comments, movements in space and deliberately provides a sense of time. It’s inevitable then to imagine the spaces and being triggered by the curiosity to visit them, possibly in similar conditions, in order to share the “recorded” experience. Part of the “audio issues” series, this book retains a pleasurable style, and could then be easily mislabelled as (sound-based) experimental fiction, travelogue, or autobiographical account.