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Jon Mueller / Jason Khan: Supershells

John Eyles By

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With no tracks listed—there are two pieces here, total duration 45 minutes—and little information presented beyond the fact that it was recorded in concert in October 2005 in Milwaukee, this release is appealingly minimalist in its design and its packaging. Appropriately enough, it is also appealingly minimalist when it plays.

Largely forsaking overtly expressed rhythm, Jon Mueller and Jason Khan show admirable restraint in their use of percussion, with little evidence of objects being struck—one dramatically placed snare shot is an obvious exception. Bowing and scraping seem to be their methods of choice, and these are used to create a rich and complex soundscape. From the credits, I know that the percussion is augmented using cassettes and synth; however, these elements are so totally integrated that you would really have to listen hard to disentangle them. Far better not to, and just enjoy the totality.

The overall result is a multilayered, slowly evolving drone effect that nevertheless contains enough variety of texture and micro-detail to hold you spellbound. Throughout, the sound palette is bottom-heavy, underpinned by a satisfying bass drone that you can feel, even when it is overlaid by other more attention-seeking sounds. Be prepared to love it.

Another fine record from Formed (the label's fourth), which is already raising expectations with each new release.

Track Listing: No titles.

Personnel: Jon Mueller: percussion, cassettes; Jason Khan: percussion, analogue synthesiser.

Title: Supershells | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Formed Records


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