Jon Mueller

The Whole

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For his 2010 album for Type, Jon Mueller created a short but powerfully striking collection of pieces unsurprisingly focused on rhythm, given his past work. "Remembered As" begins the release with a steady arrangement of hammered dulcimer increasingly disrupted by a low rumbling subharmonic bass growl, while "Remembered" concludes the album with dulcimer, distant beats, cymbals, and more acting almost as a mournful elegy for someone or something, quick in feel but sorrowful nonetheless. The two pieces in the middle, in contrast, are much longer while still being similarly paired via title, suggesting a complement that is born out by the results. "Hearts" breaks from the quiet meditation of "Remembered As" via a rush of quick, near martial drumming and overlaid chanting by Mueller, his initial words then added to via another overdubbed chorus a minute into the song. The immediate feeling is of some sort of communal ritual and summoning, with a cymbal crash then signaling a switch from the massed voices to the hammered dulcimer as the drums continue toward the conclusion. "Hands," in contrast, has a slightly slower but similarly relentless, rolling pace, with the dulcimer and wood blocks adding to the arrangements, followed later by gongs and even louder drum punctuations. When voices appear in the piece toward its conclusion, the feeling of a mirror to "Hearts" is even stronger, with singing providing the key emotional shift by its presence instead of its absence. The arrangement concludes with a full cut to clear stomping drums and distant drones and cymbals, a formal, powerful summation.

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