In 2012, I had the good fortune to be in Sydney when SWANS toured on the back of their most recent master work The Seer. The show was, as one would expect, an all out consumption of body and ears.
Before SWANS took the stage however, Kristof Hahn performed a solo set. It was in many respects a stark contrast to what would come from SWANS, but it also laid bare the role Kristof plays in the group. As Kristof moved through the phases of his performance, he staked out a territory of tonal and timbral activity that was deeply revealing, not just of the very personal language he had developed for his instrument of choice, but moreover for how he created unexpected pairings between harmony, texture and even melody.
Six Pieces, a record that is essentially born from the ashes of the final SWANS reformation line-up tour, uses various found elements, stored loops, thematic notes and other acoustic debris as a means for launching off a series of interrogation into solo guitar composition.
The pieces bare the marks of touring life, sometimes intensely claustrophobic, other moments languid and at times euphoric, each pieces creates a vista of sound that describes a kind of fluid landscape without relying on the perceptual land-marks we might fall back on.
Hahn’s music is one of repetition and unfolding variation, it is unsettled, but never rushed or careless. He knows that music is an art form of time and is not afraid to allow his compositions to build, evolve and finally arrive with a casual sense of hushed determination.
Do you yearn - as I do - for deep-earth seismic rumbles, rough-hewn howling echoes, and densely packed scraping slabs of darker-than-vantablack drone ambient? If so, Material Interstices is pure bliss. Uneasy listening writ large! Prepare for a harrowing slow-mo odyssey unearthing ever-deeper layers of the shadow self. Each track blends seamlessly into the next. Calibrate your subwoofer properly, kill the lights, and let this delicious release sink into your bone marrow. Danica Swanson