Joseph Shabason

Joseph Shabason




Listen to ‘Forest Run’ here:

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Toronto saxophonist and composer Joseph Shabason has today announced that his second album Anne will be released on 16 November via Western Vinyl. Along with the announcement he has shared the beautiful, delicate lead single ‘Forest Run’.

Anne is a tonal essay on degenerative illness. Delicately and compassionately woven with interviews of Shabason’s mother from whom the album takes its name, Anne finds its creator navigating a labyrinth of subtle and tragic emotions arising from his mother’s struggle with Parkinson’s disease. Across the nine vivid postcards of jazz-laden ambience that comprise the album, Shabason unwraps these difficult themes with great care and focus revealing the unseen aspects of degenerative diseases that force us to re-examine common notions of self, identity, and mortality.

Shabason’s uncanny ability to manoeuvre through such microscopic feelings is mirrored by his capacity to execute a similar tightrope-walk through musical genres. His music occupies a specific space that is as palpable as it is difficult to pin labels to. Rays of effected saxophone shine behind clouds of digital synthesiser that echoes the sound of jazz in the late 80s, but with a Jon Hassell-esque depth of sensibility that consciously subverts the stylistic inoffensiveness of that era. There is detail and idiosyncrasy beneath Shabason’s dawn-of-the-CD-era sheen that elevates the album far beyond a mere aesthetic exercise.

Still, the sounds on Anne are not so experimentally opaque as to stand in the way of the album’s through-line of sincerity and emotionality. Lead track ‘Forest Run’ opens with painfully honest conversation about the way in which Parkinson’s strips you of control over how you present yourself – Anne’s heartbreaking frustration then gives way to beauty and something like acceptance in the tracks delicate, faltering sax and twinkling keys. Snippets of such conversations see her taking on something like a narrator role across Anne while the sound of her voice itself is sometimes effected to become a musical texture entwined into the fabric of the songs without always being present or audible. Elsewhere, on ‘November’, Shabason lays muted brass textures atop a wavepool of electric chords provided by none other than the ambient cult-hero Gigi Masin, one of Anne’s many integral collaborators.

Joseph will be headed to Europe for a number of live dates to follow.

Pre-order Anne here:


1. I Thought That I Could Get Away With It
2. Deep Dark Divide
3. Dangerous Chemicals
4. Donna Lee
5. Forest Run
6. Fred and Lil
7. Toh Koh
8. November (Ft. Gigi Masin)
9. Treat It Like A Wine Bar