Jon Mueller's Death Blues, Vaster Than Empires | Constellation | Experimental | Chicago Reader
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Jon Mueller's Death Blues, Vaster Than Empires 

When: Sun., July 13, 8:30 p.m. 2014
Price: $10
Singing the blues is one way to free yourself from them. Jon Mueller’s Death Blues project aims to use the awareness of death to inspire people to fully live for whatever time they have. To that end, the Milwaukee percussionist has staged multimedia spectacles, commissioned writings, established a website, and made several records. The latest album, Non-fiction (Sige), is the best expression yet of Death Blues’ drive toward transcendence. Over the course of two side-length pieces, Mueller’s drums mesh with the acoustic guitars of Ken Palme and Jim Warchol (which they lay flat and play like hammered dulcimers) to build a series of towering riffs, about which Mueller’s electronically layered voice spins like a cloud of wheeling birds. The effect is simultaneously vertiginous and bludgeoning—a lot like what you’d expect to hear if Rhys Chatham took over the current incarnation of Swans. —Bill Meyer
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