by JamesW USER (2 Reviews)
December 6th, 2021 | 1 replies

Release Date: 12/05/2021 | Tracklist

When discussing art in its many forms (be it books, movies, and especially music), there's a constant temptation to assign a label. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, there’s a lot of content out there to sift through, and placing something into a mental basket is crucial to keeping our tiny brains from becoming overwhelmed. Still, some things defy description. Case in point: Ahn.

Sure, you can call the Ohio-based trio’s latest double-album release, ‘One/Two,’ experimental, avant-garde, or even fusion, but no one genre tag seems to quite fit the bill. But in place of ‘you just need to listen to it,’ the following can be said: the thirty-five minutes of music comprising Ahn’s latest release is a jaw-dropping display of sonic manipulation.

There’s a massive cinematic quality on display here–so much so that it’s difficult to believe that this is the sound of the trio ‘live on the floor.’ In classic-album fashion, ‘One/Two’ is divided into a pair of seventeen-minute tracks. “Side A” opens with a subdued collage of ambient guitar-centric sounds–string-scrapes, feedback, and the like. Around the four-minute mark, a whole-tone vamp appears, eventually devolving into a blanket of silence. Halfway through, small bursts of percussion enter the mix, and a pair of contrasting guitar lines emerge. The song’s third act is an exercise in counterpoint, with each instrument taking a different route to a climax before careening into a feedback-drenched resolve.

Every bit a companion to “Side A,” “Side B” opens with a flurry of staccato guitar sounds before a wall of white-noise envelops the proceedings. Around the seven-minute mark, the aural assault reaches a three-minute crescendo, eventually stepping aside for one of the record’s most ‘in the pocket moments’ courtesy of an ‘anti’ drum solo. The guitars eventually return, riding out the third and final movement into a free-form soundscape.

The above may read like a glowing review for your favorite post-rock release, but the connection between Ahn and bands like Mono or Explosions in the Sky ends with the use of rock & roll instruments (guitars and drums). If anything, the Miles Davis genre-igniting masterpiece ‘In a Silent Way’ serves as a far better comparison for ‘One/Two.’ And not unlike the 1969 classic, Ahn’s latest release is the sound of a band firing on all cylinders, brazenly unconcerned with anything but the moment. Thank God the tape was running.

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December 9th 2021



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