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Review of JASON KAHN & PHIL JULIAN 'VALENTINES' on We Need No Words by Paul Magree.

Julian’s collaboration with modular synth wrangler Jason Khan was recorded in 2012, when Khan was touring the UK. The two had corresponded before, and Julian had put out one of Khan’s releases (his collaboration with Francisco Meirino, Music For An Empty Cinema) on his Authorised Version label.

The initial idea was to record stuff then play around with it, but the meeting went so well that the pair ended up releasing their improvisations, via Mark Wastell’s Confront Recordings, pretty much as they were recorded.

It’s hectic, detailed stuff, spread across three un-named tracks. Khan’s on modular while Julian pilots his own digital-analogue hybrid setup, but their contributions meld beautifully.

There’s a questing, intuitive feel to proceedings, a result of the improvisatory nature of the meeting, no doubt, particularly on the opening track. Sounds and textures hiss and fizz, tumbling and multiplying like molecules in Brownian motion or bacteria under a microscope.

The second piece is moodier, with pure tones ringing above a layer of gritty static. Occasionally weird chirrups break out, cyborg sparrows above an oily city. The final track pushes further out, with a spitting, scouring wave of infernal noise, which seems to turn itself inside out halfway through, leaving an almost pastoral bed of whirrs and rumbles, via all sorts of analogue bleeps and burbles.

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