Jon Mueller is forever one of my favorite musicians. He drums in ways other people can’t even imagine composing and conjures ecstatic trances of glossolalia like it’s nothing more than making his morning coffee. Every record is somehow a new journey into a different state of rapture while always using the same methods of creation. Recently released on his on Rhythmplex label, dHrAaNwDn (pronounced “hand drawn”) is a document of his fresh frenzied percussion and it’s unreal.
The 2xLP is an excerpt of his performance at the Shaker Historical Society’s Meeting House in Albany, NY where he played 4 drums for 6 hours. The location was central to Mueller’s performance: it was the home to many “spirit gifts,” visions, healings, and trance-like episodes during the Shakers’ Era Of Manifestations. Mueller channels this history directly into the music, becoming a path to spiritual enlightenment.
Each side of the vinyl is (or at least sounds like) a single uncut piece of the performance with Mueller pounding away at his kit, the reverb in the room making it difficult to tell exactly just how fast he’s playing, not that you’d ever actually be able to tell, he’s a macro embodiment of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, you know exactly where he is but his BPM is dynamic, not because he’s human, but because he’s a goddamn machine, Mueller is more reliable than a metronome so his rhythm fluctuations are perfectly executed.
This is a record unlike any other (even other Mueller records), this is him at his most euphoric and hypnotic, the bridge between two worlds manifested in a single human’s body. Hearing this is humbling, and I can hardly imagine what seeing the performance live was like. Luckily, if you’re willing to dish out some extra cash, there’s a deluxe edition of dHrAaNwDn (50 copies) that features the entire public performance on a cassette, so you can get the next best thing to being a direct witness. The standard edition (200 copies) is still super sweet though, with a die cut jacket (the bottom circle in the image up there is cut out) to show the printed inner sleeve. I know I typically have a stream for my reviews, but since Mueller is keeping this out of the digital world, I’m honoring his request by not ripping a track from the vinyl. You’ll just have to trust me on this one. But really, you should definitely trust me on this one.