Joseph Shabason


Anne // Western Vinyl

“I am no longer the perfect person”.

So goes one of the first discernible lines on the new record by Toronto based saxophonist Joseph Shabason. The album is called Anne and it’s an ambient and ethereal journey through the complex emotions and grief that accompany degenerative illness. Shabason’s mother (for whom this release is named) was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and conversations between her and her son feature on most tracks. These interviews serve to punctuate stretches of ambient jazz and electronica in a way that creates an immediate intimacy and warmth to the somewhat colder textures layered behind. The instrumental sections also shine on their own; the woodwinds across the whole album are stunningly expressive (the bass clarinet on “Dangerous Chemicals” and the harmonizer and saxophone on “Donna Lee” and “Forest Run” in particular), and their pairing with 80’s synthesizer sounds make for a completely unique ensemble sound. In many ways, the drifting nature of the songs reflect the content well; it seems, more than anything like an album about falling apart, and about coming to terms with what that means. Anne doesn’t give any answers to those questions, but it articulates those questions in a way that is achingly personal in it’s abstractness, and beautiful in it’s chaos.

- Sean Newton