Jon Mueller, "The Future is Unlimited, Always"
Similar to his recent works Family Secret and House Blessing, the newest work from drummer/percussionist Jon Mueller features little in the way of overt rhythms or obvious instrumentation. Instead, The Future is Unlimited, Always captures Mueller at his most spacious: layers of frequencies and tones that are as engaging as they are mysterious, and capturing more than just audio, but a deeper sense of existence.
Consisting of a single 33-minute piece, The Future is Unlimited, Always features Mueller working with sustained tones, ghostly frequencies, and shimmering, low-end rumbles. The abstraction of sound takes on an almost spiritual quality that is palpable through the tones and textures that never fade into the background, but also never become too aggressive or oppressive. Instead they sit just at the right level to be mesmerizing while still allowing breathing room.
The instrumentation Mueller utilizes throughout this album is not the most apparent, but I think detect what might be some of his traditional percussion work weaved in, but processed and rendered into lush tones that float, rather than pummel. Beyond that, only what sounds like some digital treatments are identifiable, with everything else merging into a beautiful, dynamic world of various frequencies. Towards the end, a rumbling drifts in that also may be the sound of drums, but heavily treated into something else entirely.
Accompanied by a short piece of fiction in a luxurious digibook, Mueller clearly examines the existential and metaphysical realms with The Future is Unlimited, Always, and it continues to demonstrate what a multifaceted artist he is. His recent works have been exceptionally diverse, but these themes have been a consistent thread through them, and it is quite obvious throughout here as well. Sonically this could not be any more different than another favorite of mine, the relentless but meditative drumming of 2017’s dHrAaNwDn, but both feature his unique gift in conjuring a sense of space and place simply through sound.