Steve Roden & Jason Kahn
brombron / korm plastics

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Brombron is an ongoing project by Extrapool and Korm Plastics and in 2004 also with Worm in Rotterdam. Two or more musicians become artists in residence in Extrapool, an arts initiative in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, with a fully equipped sound recording studio. These artists can work in a certain amount of time on a collaborative project; a project they always wished to do, but didn’t have the time or the equipment to realize. So far projects have been realized by Antenna Farm/Main, Ekkehard Ehlers/Stephan Mathieu, Jaap Blonk/Radboud Mens, Roel Meelkop/Tore H. Boe and Heimir Bjorgulfsson/Jonas Ohlsson. All of these were released by Staalplaat. The series will be packed in all carton sleeve which are developped and printed in Extrapool’s printing studio. Jewel case sized, but without any plastic or glue and most definetly non industry standard.

From number six onwards, the Brombron CDs will be released by Korm Plastics, the first one is by Jason Kahn & Steve Roden.

In September 2002, Jason Kahn and Steve Roden joined forces in the Extrapool studios. Steve Roden played small acoustic objects, electric guitar, contact microphones and guitar pedals whereas Jason Kahn played minimal percussion, laptop and analogue synthesizer. Their focus on sound is a central factor in this work. Six beautiful pieces of microscopic, precise music – like watching through the looking glass at the smallest particles available.

Jason Kahn was born in New York, grew up in Los Angeles, moved to Berlin in 1990. He now lives in Zürich. His audio work is a mix of electronic and acoustic sound sources, produced with minimal percussion, laptop or analogue synthesizer. In recent years he has also created several sound installations, using field recordings and sound waves as concrete forms. He started the label «cut» in 1998.

Steve Roden is a visual and sound artist from los angeles. His sound works involve the electronically transformed sounds of acoustic objects, instruments, and field recordings. since 1993 he has released many recordings under his own name as well as ‘in be tween noise’ on various labels including his own ‘new plastic music’.

The Brombron releases are packed in all carton sleeve which are developped and printed in Extrapool’s printing studio. Jewel case sized, but without any plastic or glue and most definetly non industry standard.

  • reviews:
  • Number 6 in the Brombron series (now being released by Korm Plastics) is yet another joint venture concocted in that small, but highly effective Extrapool studio. I suppose both artists will not need further introductions, as they are well known in the field of electroacoustic and improvisation music. Very aptly, the CD contains six tracks, most of which are around 6 to 7 minutes. Track one is a very atmospheric piece with lots of hiss and very subtle background sounds and basses. It seems mainly loop based, but that is not a bad thing, because the loops are evasive enough. Other sounds are present, but somehow slip away al the time. So basically the whole first track is very evasive and slippery, so that’s very good. The second track is also based on loops, most of which seem to be based on bell sounds and strings, with some undistinguishable sounds drifting in and out. But there is a strong tension that holds everything together, not in the least because the main sound is strongly panning from extreme left to right all the time. The third track is the longest, clocking at just over ten minutes. The beginning sheds light on Kahn’s musical origins, but only very slightly so. The track is very subdued and rich in texture and just floats on and on untill suddenly it’s over! Good track. Track four starts in a similar way, but builds up to a much denser piece with lots of different sound aspects. Track five boosts in with huge hiss and metal reverberation and a fine high line underneath. Slowly a part of the sound shifts from high to mid to low and a sort of rythm develops. Very subtly, the movement becomes clearer untill, again, all is cut off. The last track at first seems more electronic than the ones before, but that is probably due to extreme filtering, because in other ways it is very similar the rest of this disc: shimmering, flickering, wavering and quivering. A very apt title for music that moves on the border of ambient, electroacoustic and improvisation and is highly recommended because it doesn’t suit any of these categories. (MR)

    Vital Weekly
  • For the Brombron project, former Staalplaat operator Frans de Waard commissions two or more sound artists to take up residence at the Extrapool arts centre in The Netherlands, work intensively for a week or so, and have the results published through Korm Plastics. This Steve Roden and Jason Kahn collaboration – Brombron’s sixth publication – is a match that was charmed from the onset. As incredibly astute listeners in the manufacturing of delicate sounds, Roden and Kahn have both been very successful in harnessing lower case sounds from electroacoustic and improvised source materials. Throughout their collaboration, they transform the sounds from minimal percussion, guitar, analogue synth and other acoustic objects into steady, quietly accumulating layers of samples. All these loops are quite lengthy and resist obvious rhythmic notation, their austere beauty emerging from a complex relationship between the tidal fluctuations of sustained bell tones, decelerating whistlings and clipped digital lapses.

    Jim Haynes in The Wire 242 (April 2004)
  • Das Projekt dieser Artist in Residence CDs wird nun auf Korm weitergeführt, und zeigt hier die beiden Amerikaner Roden und Kahn mit einem Satz digitaler knisternd ambienter Stücke die sich voll auf die einzelnen geloopten Sounds konzentrieren und dabei einen Effekt erzeugen wie eine nur scheinbar ruhende Wasseroberfläche für die Ohren. Extrem ruhig und sehr angenehm.

    de:bug magazine
  • Mit Shimmer/Flicker/Waver/Quiver (brombron 06 / KP 3013), im September 2002 entstandenen Liveeinspielungen in den Nijmwegener Extrapool Studios, setzt Frans de Waards die bisher auf Staalplaat erschienene Brombron-Reihe fort. Das Konzept dabei ähnelt den Fishtank-Sessions von Konkurrent oder der ‘Motorlab’-Reihe von Kitchen Motor, nur ohne Zeitdruck. Zwei Künstler erhalten Studiozeit für eine längst gewünschte Kollaboration. STEVE RODEN & JASON KAHN realisierten bei ihrer Begegnung sechs dröhnminimalistische Mikrophonien, die in der Nähe des Verstärkergrundrauschens auf einem elektronischen Luftkisseneffekt beben, weben und schweben. Die Atmosphäre ist eingetaucht in wechselnd getöne Rauschwolken, die vage an Wind, Regen, einen nahen Fluss erinnern. In diesen Dröhnwellen pulsiert, bei jedem Track subtil variiert, schwache Rhythmik, ein rotierendes Knacken, ein ‘atmender’ Pfeifton, sanftes Gegonge. Durch ‘singend’ vibrierende Grundtöne, die fast ein wenig unangenehm in den Ohren klingeln, tropfen in deutlichem Stereoeffekt unregelmäßige Blobs und Dingdongs. Unklar, ob hier alle Klänge elektronisch erzeugt werden oder ob der gelernte Perkussionist Kahn auch handish operiert. Antwort: “Steven Roden played small acoustic objects, electric guitar, contact microphones and guitar pedals wheras Jason Kahn played minimal percussion, laptop and analogue synthesizer.” Das Resultat zumindest ist nicht sehr unähnlich zu den Soloarbeiten des New Yorker Perkussionisten oder seinen Repeat-Duos mit Toshimaru Nakamura auf dem eigenen Cut-Label in Zürich.

    Bad Alchemy #43
  • With Kahn, Roden took up one of the Brombron residences at Extrapool to create a collaborative disk (shimmer/flicker/waver/quiver, 06, that comes in the marvellous paper creation, with a Kahn print on the cover. This is an album of contrasts ­ the first track has a hissy drone, bubbling, washes over which high sines and soft echoes ply, gradually increasing density before dropping to modulating white noise and tones with deep sounds within. Then the second has an intense rising/falling ringing sweeping from ear to ear, percussive bass taps and morse signals & ringling in ­ but it is the tone which dominates before dropping out for some percussion in the last minute. Track three reminded me of Harold Budd’s broody desert pieces ­ low rumbling, clicks, hollow bells, soft whispering dust ­ extended over some time. Then followed by another more intrusive piece, hissing and resonant gongs, chopped, phased and echoed, bleeps and scapes in, burring. Next, very minimal white vent noise, pulsing, squeaky tones in, developing a beat, swirling. Then finally a soft burring ring, high tone -a forest at night – distant tones, static. A collaboration that explores new and interesting (intense) ground. [This is a lovely series, of which I have three (and will seek out the others), which has brought together some interesting combinations].

  • What a fine chap that Frans de Waard is. His extensive work over the years has always been of interest and he’s always been keen to help like-minded sonic-trippers via his label and involvement with the Extrapool venue. The venue gave full use of their facilities to invited artists in residence. The resulting works constitute the Brombron series. For volume 06 Roden and Kahn produced a fine, subtly charged album of clear tone washes. Like faint signals from distant stars, these tones communicate across dark space, bringing a stillness to the room. Roden and Kahn’s lifelong work with electronics and installations come to full fruition with this ambient construct. It breathes, it blinks. It’s like looking at starlight and realising the light is millions of years old. The star’s already dead by the time you see it’s last glimmer. How does this differ to the 1000 other similar albums? The understated shifts of sound suggest an experienced hand on the tiller, especially considering these tracks were recorded live in the studio. Packaged in a wrapround card/paper deal put together by an origami freak.

    Adverse Effect Volume 3, number 2