John the Silent: Mungo Sessions Out Today (Somewherecold Records, 2022)

John the Silent: Mungo Sessions Out Today (Somewherecold Records, 2022)

“This JTS album [Mungo Sessions] is the beauty and tranquility of Avec Laudenum era Stars of the Lid with a thick layer of the anxiety and tension of late stage Tarentel.”
~ Matthew Richter (autodealer)

Mungo Sessions is the third LP from Indiana based ambient/experimental artist John the Silent. Following on the heels of the melodic craft central to  “Renewal” (2021) the new album finds John the Silent leaning into a more essential, improvisational exploration of sound and texture. This is not to say that Mungo Sessions lacks complexity or musicality – but the recording fundamentals are much more direct on this recording. Over the past years, the artist has collected obsolete ipads and tablets, in an attempt to reduce waste, but also work within limits to make art. Their occasional live set consists of an improvisational composition of sounds, field recordings, and ambient textures blended and manipulated by the artist for a unique experience each time.

Mungo Sessions is the closest thing to the live experience I want to create to be committed to record yet,” says the artist, “I’ve really been influenced by the immediacy of, well, actually experimental jazz artists like The Necks, but also some of the minimalist, truly ‘moment’ based work of artists like Lawrence English and, well, so much on Room 40, I just wanted to move in that direction and see what happened.”

Mungo Sessions also is a departure from previous works in that it is recorded completely in MONO, through an analog mixer, and manipulated live in studio. The result is an exploration in frequencies and resonance melding to create surprising new sounds.

“I was thinking a lot about the ‘wall of sound’ thing from the sixties on this record,” says the artist, “I mean.. I don’t know if that will be evident at all to anyone but me, but, on a song like ‘She Slew As She Sang’ I had those beautiful records that featured Ronnie Spector in mind, and actually thought about those voices through that wall, considering the stories from those days, there’s a metaphor there.”

The word Mungo originally means old fabric that has been used for a new purpose.

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