Another multifaceted, all-out release from percussionist Jon Mueller, whose tribal trajectory has exploded since the release of Tongues. This album is a percussion fan’s dream. But it’s much more than that: it’s also a historical tribute, and has the potential to send listeners into a meditative trance, connecting them with their forebearers (A Closer Listen). "On May 23, 2016, Jon Mueller played four drums for over six hours in the Meeting House at the Shaker Historical Society in Albany, NY. Engineer Fred Weaver traveled by truck from Pennsylvania, hauling and then constructing a complete mobile recording studio to record the drums and the intense acoustics of the room by placing microphones throughout the space. dHrAaNwDn (read as ‘hand drawn’) offers a partial document of this session, featuring various long-form pieces from the day.
With dHrAaNwDn, Mueller, who has spent a great deal of his drumming career building a discography and performance reputation around ecstatic repetitive rhythms, brought a nearly impossible energy unheard in his previous work. In fact, two of Mueller’s earlier recordings, The Whole (Type Recordings, UK, 2010) and Alphabet of Movements (Type Recordings, UK, 2011) both pointed toward the Shakers. However, these were merely sketches compared to the severity found within dHrAaNwDn. As stark as these performances are, there is something in the patterns and acoustics, something in the feel and transmission of the sound that might have only been possible to occur in this room.
On dHrAaNwDn, relentless rhythms form a dissolved state between frenetic dance and Zen, driving both energy and contemplation simultaneously. The combination of movement and sound is almost palpable, yet easy to get lost within. From the perspective of the player, it’s a spiritual exercise. For the listener, it might not be much different.
Consider that in meditation, repetitive mantras lead toward an ideal state. In Rudolf Steiner’s Eurythmy, gestures relating to rhythm can be turned into “visible music.” In George Gurdjieff ‘s movements, cosmic truth is transmitted through different postures. And in Shaker dance, high energy syncopated movements drove participants into trance states. Drumming can operate similarly. It is an active ritual of giving and receiving. Giving, in its intentional form and movement. Receiving, in the sound that returns. It’s a focused call and response with the unknown." Label Press