There's nothing more heartbreaking than having to watch a loved one suffering from debilitating illness and it's probably one of the more difficult things we eventually face in life. Equally difficult are the all the emotions that come with the process and also having to make the kinds of choices we often aren't prepared to make.

There's no real set way of coping with these situations either, and we find ourselves seeking temporary relief from just about anything we can possibly turn to. In the case of Toronto saxophonist and composer Joseph Shabason, he turned to the creative process.

His second album Anne (named after his mother) is a tonal essay about her struggle with Parkinson's disease. A fragile and difficult subject to approach, especially when you're sharing it with the world at large, Shabason handles it with the kind of special love and care you would expect him to.

With the exception of interviews with Anne woven throughout the album, there are no words to narrate and guide us through her story, but the music succeeds in capturing the overwhelming emotions we sometimes find ourselves experiencing in these situations.

And what makes it such a compelling listen is how subtly those emotions manage to creep up on us. Melancholy pianos on 'Donna Lee' and 'Dangerous Chemicals' unfurl at a delicate pace creating a fragile beauty; the squalling sax and a mournful trumpet piercing twinkling synths loops on 'Forest Run' feels like a long and heavy sigh; and 'November' mixes gentle flickering electric chords pierced by the mournful cry of muted brass.

Unlike most albums that experiment with ambient, the music doesn't blend into the background almost like a pleasantly nondescript wallpaper. Instead, Anne thrives on experimenting with conventional structure to create its own colorful language.

The otherwise tranquil 'Donna Lee' is disrupted by little bursts of static and contorted brass and 'Fred and Lil' is slightly disorienting with loops of reversed conversation and warped saxophones offsetting its hypnotic piano refrains. Even when he dives straight into new age territory on the closing "Treat It Like A Wine Bar" he manages to avoid sounding like a cliche, even when samples of flowing water and woodwinds enter the mix.

He takes those elements and bends them to his will, creating a genuinely moving piece that brings the entire thing to a fitting close. It's equally beautiful and heartbreaking, a kind of gentle sadness pulsing through it. Anne doesn't dwell in sadness though, instead, it presents a touching and honest glimpse of some of the more unfair struggles we often face that leaves us searching for hope and, more importantly, answers, but it does so in a tasteful and dignified way.