Jon Mueller’s Afterlife Cartoons are solo acoustic percussion performances that use repetitive tom patterns and subtle shifts in grid-like pulsing to instigate overtones, phasing, and choir-like acoustic phenomena that transform the work from mere drum solo to the sonic illusion of a small orchestra. Rhythmic minimalism, contemporary phrasing, and energetic sustain drive Mueller’s improvisations into a space somewhere between modern electronic music and primal drumming, inspiring audiences toward movement and contemplation.
For this recording, the environment of the Buckland Museum carried more than just acoustic qualities. The drums were placed within a sigil painted by NY artist Jesse Bransford, and various rare drawings and objects from the museum’s archive were observed in advance of the recording. The session was witnessed by a limited number of guests who sat surrounding the drums.
“Our brains started latching on to the rhythm of the drum, but then at some point (minutes/hours/aeons?) out of the center of the circle the tones start seeping in, the sound of spirits, at first a whispering, singing, and then a choir. It has been confirmed by other witnesses that eventually the sound left the circle and started traveling the room, a subtle amorphous twister spinning and touching us all. At first it felt as if I was being hoaxed by a stage magician with some hidden device creating these sounds (a sleight of ear?), and then it dawned on me, Jon was the channeller, his scrying mirror was the drums, that was the whole point of this exercise.” – Steven Intermill, Director of the Buckland Museum of Witchcraft & Magick, Imbolc 2022
Recorded in the Buckland Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Cleveland, Ohio on Sunday, October 17, 2021.
Mastered by James Plotkin.
For more information about the museum, visit www.bucklandmuseum.org.