Death Blues Go Primordial With Hulking Sound and a Hypnotic Video
Volcano Choir's Jon Mueller and composer William Ryan Fritch match might on the 'Ensemble' LP
You’ve almost undoubtedly heard the ethereal yet visceral work of the men who comprise Death Blues. Project founder Jon Mueller is an integral member of Justin Vernon’s Volcano Choir (and before that, Collections of Colonies of Bees), while William Ryan Fritch has worked with names as diverse and respected as Sole and DM Stith. On the new album, Ensemble, they combine their multi-instrumentalist might to create a hulking, high-drama sound.
The duo spent two years crafting the nine-song set, whose depth and dramatic flair is also reflected in the releases’ packaging. Out now via Rhythmplex, the physical vinyl release (with digital) includes a hard-bound LP-sized book that features “seven essays about our vulnerability, the rawness of our inner lives, and how we move forward in the face of it all.” It’s heavy and beautiful stuff, which also comes to life in the video above for “Languaging.” Over those hollow drums and creeping strings, we see ancient masks and spreading inkblots whose movement approached a hypnotic pace while the music wraps its tendrils around something primordial inside. Watch above, and stream Ensemble in full below.