photo by Benjamin Torrey
Jason Calhoun is an ambient musician living in Ithaca, New York. With more than 20 albums to date, released under the monikers Paper Armies, naps, and now simply his name, he has worked with Patient Sounds, Bridgetown Records, Florabelle, Gertrude Tapes, Lily Tapes and Discs, and Dear Life Records. He is also a founding member of the Philadelphia-based instrumental collective Hour, recently listed by Joe Pera as an influence during the writing of the new season of Joe Pera Talks With You. He has performed with John Mueller, m sage, TALsounds, Loren Connors, Lake Mary, Mike Shiftlet, Josh Mason, Apollo Vermouth, Sarah Hennies, and many more.
small circle, jason's latest work begins with an offering. The listener is given a moment of quiet grace before being cast into an abyss of static, where clarity is foregone in place of a disorienting veil.
Calhoun’s work has always suggested the deeply personal while maintaining a certain distance, with each collection seemingly building upon the last, tangled with hidden truths and confessions. Entries are written and rewritten, intimate thoughts are quietly shared, providing a communal reflective space. In contrast to his previous two records, ben c, this is for you and notebook, tonal direction has been lost, but the harsh textures of ben c linger. The melodic is purposefully obscured, requiring a quieting of the mind.
small circle is confrontational in the same way that contemplative spiritual experience leaves nothing but one’s self to face. It is an expression of gestalt emotion, where impressions made are a passing blink amid an overwhelming divine emptiness. Chirps and clicks—of synthetic and natural origin—interweave with hushed conversations, steps winding through wooden trails, and the just-audible humming of a monastery. Suspended and devoid of sure footing, the listener is left to fend for themselves and find a path, if there is one.
releases on DLR: