Imagine an ECM cottage-series, or Jon Hassell, Hiroshi Yoshimura, and John Martyn scoring a Bela Tarr film set in rural Canada. This is the future-proof music of metropolitan polyglot minds invigorated by nature’s mute refusal to follow a click-track.
Muldrew is named for the northern Ontario lake where it was recorded by duo Joseph Shabason and Ben Gunning, following in a several-years long tradition of semi-regular retreat from city life in service of inspired, improvised music-making. Simultaneously free and restrained, Muldrew is minimalistically suspenseful and simply phantasmagoric, floating through ambient and jazz realms with environmental commitment captivating from start to finish. Like a good horror film, the emphasis is on what is not shown but whose effects are felt in the crowded silence.
Like many Canadians, Joseph Shabason and Ben Gunning like to untangle themselves from urbanity and disappear up north a few times a year. Unlike other cottage-goers, Ben and Joseph don’t while away the ur-time on jet-skis and lounge on docks reading pulpy mysteries. Instead, they bring a car full of synths, drum machines, saxophones, guitars, samplers, effects, and recording equipment to jam the days away in a cabin-fever inducing haze of wood smoke, cedar musk, hot wires and jazz sweat.