“Repetition itself creates bliss. There are many ethnographic examples: obsessive rhythms, incantatory music, litanies, rites, and Buddhist nembutsu, etc.: to repeat excessively is to enter into loss, into the zero of the signified” (Roland Barthes, The Pleasure Of The Text)
Jon Mueller’s Tongues goes even further. Namely, by arriving at a hypothetical “zero of the signified” via shamanic repetition, it delivers the listener’s mind from the anxiousness of knowing more, thus creating the most fertile ground for a tentative grip on the actual significance of existing. Not the simple “living”; we’re talking about an instinctive wordless contextualization of the “before and after”, an issue that becomes a receptacle of utter ridiculousness when tackled by babbling cerebral wrecks selling themselves as creatures linked with the sacred.
But Mueller is, first and foremost, a conscious musician who does his best to initiate a willing addressee to the right type of awareness. He knows too well that the combination of trance-inducing pulses and voices delivered by any kind of obligation can represent a basic step towards the serious reconditioning of the inner skeleton. The amalgamation of different vibrational frequencies – which seems to be central in this man’s research since the beginning of his solitary path – is a main key to deliver us from the superficial icons of fear-induced beliefs. By listening to the fulfilling chants of “How You Look When You’re Not Looking”, there’s much more to discern than a vague resemblance with an obscure ritual. It’s the stunning sensation of a by now unexpected human current: something that is sorely missing in times of virtual friendships and graphic symbols of thumbs up.
If you wish to stop yourselves at the mere sonic aspect – perhaps thinking that a nonentity professing “knowledge” will lead you through various lives and evolutive levels – consider the second and longer track “What I Thought You Said”. Initially lulling us with a broken-voiced invocation accompanied by resonating bells, Mueller then introduces a series of odd-metered patterns, finally getting to the core of the matter with a momentous bass drum vamp aided by mutating choral resonances, additional uttered fragments, clapping hands and assorted evocative contaminations partially provided by Cory Allen and William Ryan Fritch.
This was an enriching experience, once again highlighting Mueller’s innate ability in extracting the intangibles of an aural immersion to render them into vivid colors. Think “harmony” in the widest acceptation of the term, and far from incense sticks. Like tasting our own blood to realize that we’re alive, still entirely prepared to relinquish attachments.