Joseph Shabason ¦ The Fellowship
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|Origin||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Genres||Jazz, Ambient, Experimental, Indie rock, Synth-pop|
|Instruments||Saxophone, flute, clarinet, keyboard|
|Associated acts||DIANA, Destroyer, The War on Drugs|
Joseph Shabason is a Canadian multi-instrumentalist and composer. He is best known for playing the saxophone. As a band member and session musician, Shabason has contributed to bands such as DIANA, Destroyer and The War on Drugs.
Life and education
Shabason grew up in Brampton, Ontario. He began playing jazz music at 10 years old. After first learning to play the guitar, he took an interest in the saxophone when he enrolled in a jazz program at Humber College as a child. His father was a jazz pianist.
The first Destroyer album to feature Shabason was Kaputt (2010), which was shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize. Having toured with Destroyer in an opening band, Shabason contacted Destroyer front-man Dan Bejar in 2010 while in Vancouver. This led to Shabason improvising a few hours on the saxophone for the album. His involvement "could not have been more casual," according to Shabason.
He has toured as a member of Destroyer.
The War on Drugs
As a session musician, Shabason has recorded for many singers and bands — including Born Ruffians, Hannah Georgas, Jill Barber, Matt Barber, Dragonette, The Operators, Allie X, Peter Elkas, The Fembots and Fucked Up.
In 2019, he released an experimental ambient album titled Muldrew with Ben Gunning.
Another band he played in was Bass Groove.
After the album was finished, Shabason realized that the album reflected the impact that Parkinson's was having in his personal life — his father-in-law was suffering from it and his mother was recently diagnosed.
Only "Westmeath" has vocals. The song features clips from an archival interview from a son of a Holocaust survivor. (Shabason's grandparent were survivors.) A music video of "Westmeath" was directed by Maxwell McCabe-Lokos.
Though Shabason voiced some dissatisfaction with the album, suggesting there was "a lack of vision," it received positive reviews. On Metacritic, the album rated 82 out of 100, indicating "universal acclaim."
Anne and Anne, EP
Anne (2018), Shabason's second album, is named after his mother. Focusing on his mother's Parkinson's illness, the album includes audio clips from interviews with his mother.
Shabason was determined for the album not overly sentimental or exploitative; in his own words, "the challenge becomes how do you take that [interview] and weave it into the fabric of the composition and extract the essence of it without beating people over the head with it." His mother was pleased with the result, calling it a "beautiful album."
Critical reception was positive. On Metacritic, the album is rated 77 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable" reviews. Music critic Miles Bowe of Pitchfork "gorgeous and empathetic ambient music."
Anne, EP has five songs and was released May 10, 2019. The record label describes it as an "afterword" to Anne. Its song "I Don't Want to Be Your Love" — previously a bonus track for Anne — features vocals by Destroyer's Dan Bejar.
Shabason's third album was released April 30, 2021.
- "About Joseph Shabason". Joseph Shabason. Retrieved 2020-02-18.
- Bowe, Miles. "Joseph Shabason: Anne". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
- Beedham, Tom. "Joseph Shabason Makes Peace With His Mother's Parkinson's on 'Anne'". Exclaim!. Retrieved 2020-02-18.
- Vincent, Melissa. "DIANA Is The Canadian Indie Supergroup Making Healing Pop Music". The FADER. Retrieved 2020-02-18.
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- Poliakov, Rita (February 4, 2010). "Pop Rockers Aim for Music that Gets "Stuck in Your Head"" (PDF). The Canadian Jewish News. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
- Bowe, Miles (2017-11-29). "Destroyer and War On Drugs collaborator Joseph Shabason is an ambient saxophone genius". FACT Magazine. Retrieved 2020-02-18.
- "Joseph Shabason | The Family Interviews". The Family Reviews. Retrieved 2020-02-23.
- "DIANA Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2020-02-18.
- Pagnani, Renato. "DIANA: Perpetual Surrender". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2020-02-18.
- "Destroyer (4) - ken". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-02-20.
- Mikhaylova, Sofie (July 4, 2019). "Joseph Shabason / Ben Gunning: Muldrew". Exlaim!. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
- Stuart Berman, "Shabason, Krgovich & Harris: Philadelphia". Pitchfork, November 11, 2020.
- David Friend, "Daniel Lanois, Savannah Ré, Charlotte Cardin make long list of Polaris Music Prize". The Globe and Mail, June 16, 2021.
- Robertson, Kate (2017-08-10). "Joseph Shabason breaks down jazz for beginners". NOW Magazine. Retrieved 2020-02-18.
- Flanagan, Andrew (October 25, 2017). "Joseph Shabason's 'Westmeath' Confronts The Hardest Decision". NPR All Songs Considered. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
- "Aytche by Joseph Shabason". Metacritic. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
- Rayner, Ben (2019-01-04). "Toronto Musician Turns His Mother's Reflection on Her Parkinson's Disease into New Album". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
- "Anne by Joseph Shabason". Metacritic. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
- "Anne, EP, by Joseph Shabason". Bandcamp. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
- "Joseph Shabason Anne EP". Western Vinyl. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
- "The Fellowship, by Joseph Shabason". Joseph Shabason. Retrieved 2021-03-08.
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