Kristof Hahn is probably best know for his lapsteel guitar work in SWANS, one of the more ferocious, terrifying and intriguing outfits in the modern era. He joined the band in 1989, left in 1992, joined SWANS’ bandleader Michael Gira’s follow-up project Angels of Light in 1998 and became a constant member of the SWANS relaunch from 2010 until 2017.
His solo work though is a world away from the violence and swagger of SWANS, there’s a real beauty here, intimate washes of exploratory guitar that are nothing short of mesmirising. Perhaps because we anticipate the bluster of Swans the pieces feel even more naked, these stark electric guitar pieces with drawn out drones, repetitive loops and even some reverbed strumming. His new album Six Pieces, is something of a masterclass in guitar with Hahn using 10-string lap-steel, 8-string lap-steel, 7-string hybrid lap-steel, electric guitar, eBow, a couple of loop pedals, a delay, tremolo and volume pedal as well as amplifiers. It was produced by Lawrence English.
This is what English has to say about it:
“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.”
Six Pieces will be released via Room40 on the 5th of November 2021. You can find it here.