Two-Pronged Pitchfork: How Jon Mueller Ended Up on Pitchfork Twice in One Week


photo by Kat Berger

Words by Erin Wolf

Minimalistic beauty is waxing in the musical world. Perhaps no one in Milwaukee has been quite as aware of this as percussionist, Jon Mueller (Collections of Colonies of Bees). The past week has seen his name in glowing lights on the critical music web site Pitchfork: one, for an 8/10 review of his solo release Physical Changes and two, for his participation and contributions as part of the Volcano Choir, Justin Vernon’s new musical allies of the entire hive of CoCo Bees as they released one song, “Island, IS” for public speculation. Pitchfork quips that Mueller is “the locomotive” behind the forthcoming Volcano Choir material (slated for a September release) and praises that, concerning Physical Changes, Mueller has “long stood just at the edge of indie notoriety” and calls his solo release “one of the year’s boldest statements”. Mueller, who has spent countless hours not only creating his own brand of avant garde, has also been the cheerleader for other musicians of his ilk, working as the driving force behind Crouton, a now-defunct local label that has released works from Hal Rammel, Steven Hess and The Hafler Trio since 1998.

Mueller’s intricately intense body of percussional work can be found at his MySpace page, where each ‘change’ bleeds just so, into one, large opus. This body of work is dissected and explained in two pieces found at an interview and review. Below, is the premier release of Volcano Choir, “Island, IS”, ready for the public’s own dissection and scrutiny. 

Physical Changes will be performed, live, along with a video screening on Thursday, September 3rd at the Haggerty Museum of Art in the Helfaer Theatre (13th & Clybourn) at 7 p.m. Mueller will be presenting the work along with Jim Shoenecker and David Bailey to combine percussion, electronic music and video. 

Also, forthcoming, will be “Stroboscopic: An Evening of Guitar Music”, featuring Collections of Colonies of Bees performing their piece, “Six Guitars” on Wednesday, August 26th at 8 p.m. at the Sugar Maple (441 E. Lincoln). 

Volcano Choir, “Island, IS”


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