The sophomore album of Joseph Shabason ‘Anne’ is an interesting study. With ambience over-layed with Shabason’s jazzy saxophonist fingerprints, it chronicles over the course of nine tracks Anne; Joseph Shabason’s mother whom the LP is titled after, and her personal perspectives on coping with the serene tragedy of Parkinson’s disease.
The album opens with the relatively sombre tones of ‘I Thought I Could Get Away With It’, the opener features our first of the excerpts of interviews with Anne that are delicately interwoven at intervals throughout the project.
Interestingly, the track is composed and mastered to have these opening excerpts at low volumes in comparison to the musical arrangement. This isn’t the case however, with the second track ‘Deep Dark Divide’ where a much more clearly audible discussion on generational differences is poised amongst a progressively simple ambient soundscape.
“I think that…If I can talk myself…If I can approach myself now, with that lie of having to be perfect. People wanting me to be perfect, and what that entails – I think I can kick the habit.”
Joseph Shabason – Deep Dark Divide
Whilst due to the abstract nature of some of the soundscapes some of thematic elements are obscured, it is difficult to ignore; given thecontext of the ‘Anne’, a song titled ‘Dangerous Chemicals’. With this track,where you might expect a more gloomy or broody arrangement it’s actually quite soft, beautiful in fact. Subjectively speaking, the track name could be a warning for the next song ‘Donna Lee’ with its sparsely decorated piano arrangements, high pitched screeches, and wailing saxophone.
In the latter half of the project we have ‘Fred and Lil’, a lengthy, bizarre and hazy dissonance for close to seven minutes, before it clears suddenly to the sound of Shabason’s Anne speaking of her own relationship with her parents. ‘Toh Koh’,nine tracks an interesting call and response type piece reminiscent of the vocal techniques of composer Joan La Barbara and ‘November’ featuring ambient cult-hero Gigi Masin (whose work has been sampled by the likes of Björk and Nujabes) before the delicately tranquil album closer ‘Treat It LikeA Wine Bar’.
‘Anne’ is an album unlike many others, and it’s brave, raw,personal and emotive context makes for a fine (albeit sadly moving) listening experience. A fantastic effort by Joseph Shabason.
Anne is out now, Via Western Vinyl.