It’s hard to overstate the raw power and beauty of Jon Mueller’s 2014 Death Blues album, Ensemble. We placed the haunting, otherworldly, and emotionally devastating instrumental post-rock record at no. 2 on our list of the 25 best albums of the year, but it really deserved a list of its own. Ensemble wasn’t just in a different ballpark than other releases, local or otherwise—it was in an entirely different game altogether. If you haven’t heard it yet, get to it. Better yet, order the gorgeous deluxe LP/book edition. You won’t be disappointed.

In keeping with the Volcano Choir drummer’s penchant for unclassifiable art, his next project appears to be something of a head-scratcher. Announced yesterday, Mueller’s upcoming record, Initiation, won’t be a record at all, but instead will be a…well, er, we’re not entirely sure. A live performance? Sort of. A multi-media presentation incorporating film and dance? Yeah, there’s that, but…well, why don’t we let Mueller explain it himself. From a press release:

INITIATION is the new record from Jon Mueller. Written and recorded over the winter months of 2014, using four bass drums, voice, and bells, the compositions reference ritual, trance and origins of music at a hypnotic and rhythmic bpm. This record, however, is not available on an LP, CD, DVD, or even digital format. Instead, the recorded compositions will only be presented during venue-based events incorporating projected video (Chris Hefner) and live dance (Dawn Springer). In essence, each performance venue becomes a discreet, non-reproducible media format. INITIATION is intended as an exclusive live experience; a new way of living inside a record. After the record is finished playing, a brief talk by Jon Mueller about making records, and collecting them, takes place.

So there you have it. A “record” sans the record, and an “album” sans the physical or digital middleman. Anyone interested in booking/presenting Initiation is asked to contact Mueller through his Rhythmplex label at booking (at) rhythmplex (dot) com. In the meantime, the artist’s final Death Blues performance is scheduled for Saturday, January 31 at Alverno’s Pitman Theatre. He’ll also perform with a re-formed Pele for the band’s first Milwaukee show in over a decade, April 18 at the Cactus Club. Don’t miss these shows. Once again, you won’t be disappointed.