Jason Kahn // Timelines Los Angeles

Jason Kahn

«Timelines Los Angeles»

Creative Sources Recordings CD cs166

Olivia Block // prepared piano
Jason Kahn // percussion, analog synthesizer, graphical score
Ulrich Krieger // alto saxophone, sopranino saxophone, live-electronics
Mark Trayle // laptop, guitar

Recorded April 25, 2008 in Los Angeles at the Cal Arts Center for Experiments in Art, Information and Technology Festival

Duration: 60.00
Recorded by Clay Chaplin
Mixed and mastered by Jason Kahn


Timelines Los Angeles came about quite by accident. I had initially contacted Mark Trayle in connection with a planned visit of mine to Los Angeles about coming to Cal Arts to give a performance or lecture. Much to my surprise and great pleasure, he suggested instead that I compose a piece for the 2008 Cal Arts Center for Experiments in Art, Information and Technology Festival with a group of my own choosing.

As it so happened, Ulrich Krieger, an old friend from my early days in Berlin, had just started a professorship at Cal Arts. He was one of the first people I met when I arrived in Berlin in 1990 and we eventually even performed together before Ulrich moved away soon thereafter to New York. Since then he has produced an extensive body of work, both as an instumentalist and composer. It was great having the chance to play together again after so many years.

Olivia Block was my next choice. Known primarily for her compositional work, this performance features Olivia on prepared piano. Judging by her fantastic playing on this recording, I can only hope that more people will invite her to perform as a pianist in the future.

Mark Trayle completed the group. As a composer and member of the network music ensemble The Hub, Mark's work has been at the forefront of computer music since the 1980's. On this recording he performed with guitar and his own self-programmed SuperCollider applications.

It should be stressed that Timelines Los Angeles was composed with this group of musicians in mind. These graphical works of mine are therefore not interchangeable: they are conceived within the context of the particular instrumentation and, even more importantly, for the participating musicians. In this sense, I see these works as more than just groupings of instruments but social situations, bringing together a particular group dynamic within the parameters of a graphical score and a space in time.

Listening back to the piece it somehow sounds to me like Los Angeles, the city I spent most of my life in. There is a darkness and weight to the music but also, towards the end, an airiness and sense of lifting and release, much as I used to feel at the end of the many long, hot Los Angeles days when the sun had finally begun its descent and the city's heat drifted on desert winds slowly out to sea.

Jason Kahn

Jason Kahn's work includes sound installation, performance and composition. He was born in New York in 1960, grew up in Los Angeles and relocated to Europe in 1990. He currently lives in Zürich.

He has given concerts and exhibited sound installations throughout Europe, North and South America, Japan, Mexico, Korea, Israel, Turkey, Russia, Lebanon, Egypt, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

Kahn performs both solo and in collaboration, using percussion, analog synthesizer or computer in different combinations.

He composes for electronics and acoustic instruments. For larger groups of directed improvisation he has devised a system of graphical scores.

Kahn creates his sound installations for specific spaces. The focus of these primarily non-visual works lies in the perception of space through sound.

Olivia Block

Olivia Block is a contemporary composer and sound artist who combines field recordings, scored segments for acoustic instruments, and electronically generated sound. Her recorded work seeks to introduce and ultimately reconcile nature with artifice in the realms of music and sound. In the process, "organic" sound becomes subtly process, digitized, and abstracted; "inorganic" sound becomes self-replicating and animate; and "musical" elements such as chamber instruments are defamiliarized from their traditional associations, freeing them to participate in the larger aesthetic possibilities of sound. Block works with recorded media, chamber ensembles, video, and site specific sound installations.

She has performed throughout Europe, America, and Japan in tours and festivals including Dissonanze, Archipel, Angelica, Outer Ear, and many others. She has completed residencies at Mills College of Music and The Berklee College of Music and has taught master classes at several additional universities.

Block has created sound installations for public sites and exhibition spaces including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the library at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, the Lincoln Conservatory Fern Room in Chicago, and at the "Echoes Through the Mountains" exhibit at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

Block has published recordings through Sedimental, and/Oar, and Cut.

In the September 2008 she joined the sound department faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Ulrich Krieger

Ulrich Krieger is well known as a saxophone player in contemporary composed and free improvised music as well as a composer of chamber music and electronic music.

His recent focus lies in the experimental fields and fringes of contemporary Pop culture: somewhere in the limbo between Noise and Heavy Metal, Ambient and Silence.

His original compositions go back and forth between Just Intonation, Silent Music, Noise, Instrumental Electronic, often asking for elaborate amplification, and works in the limbo of Rock culture – not accepting stylistic boundaries.

Krieger developed his own, often amplified style of saxophone playing, he calls 'acoustic electronics'. He uses refined acoustic, quasi-electronic sounds, which then get processed, the saxophone often becoming more an 'analogue sampler' rather than a traditional finger-virtuoso instrument. By amplifying his instrument in various ways, he gets down to the 'grains of the sounds', changing their identity and structure from within.

Krieger is associate professor for the composition faculty at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles.

Mark Trayle

Mark Trayle works in a variety of media including live electronic music, installations, improvisation and compositions for wireless chamber ensembles. He uses re-engineered consumer products and cultural artifacts as interfaces for electronic music performances and networked media installations. In recent pieces for chamber ensembles he places performers in an interactive network where composers, performers and technology cooperate to form the music.

Trayle has collaborated with Wadada Leo Smith, Vinny Golia, Nels Cline, Jeff Gauthier, KammerEnsemble Neue Musik Berlin, David Behrman, as a member of The Hub, and with Alvin Curran and the Rova Saxophone Quartet.

He was a featured performer at New Music America '89, New Music Across America '92, Ars Electronica '94, WRO Media Festival '95 (Wroclaw, Poland), SoundArt '95 (Hanover, Germany), ISEA '95 (Sixth International Symposium on Electronic Art), DEAF '95 (Dutch Electronic Arts Festival, Rotterdam), the Sonambiente Festival (Berlin, 1996), Le Festival de la Vallée des Terres Blanches at the CICV Pierre Schaeffer (Hérimoncourt, France, 1997), Resistance Fluctuations (Los Angeles, 1998 and 2000), the net_condition festival (ZKM Karlsruhe, 1999), Pro Musica Nova (Bremen, 2000) and Format5 (Berlin, 2001).

Trayle is professor for Experimental Sound Practices and Composition at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles.