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Jon Hassell

Seeing Through Sound (Pentimento Volume 2)

    “Listen as if you were being told a secret” - Federico Fellini

    A companion piece to 2018’s Listening To Pictures, this second volume in the pentimento series presents eight new tracks by the music visionary, continuing his lifelong exploration of the possibilities of recombination and musical gene-splicing. Pentimento is defined as the “reappearance in a painting of earlier images, forms, or strokes that have been changed and painted over” and this is evident in the innovative production style that ‘paints with sound’ using overlapping nuances to create an undefinable and intoxicating new palette.

    In classic Hassell fashion, the title can be interpreted in a myriad of ways, but perhaps the most pertinent at the moment is the human instinct to sing and play through a rain of difficulties. A future blues of indeterminate and ever-shifting shape. The album is buffered by two 8-minute plus epics at the beginning and the end - the hypnotic “Fearless” with it’s metronomic, almost Can-like rhythm, and blurry, noir-ish texture of sound emerging like car headlights from the fog; mirrored at the end of the record by the beautiful sci-fi lullaby of “Timeless”, a track with a gaseous, billowing quality as electronic clicks and bubbles float over a landscape of shimmering, glacially paced complexity. The bridge between those two worlds is no less compelling, from the frantic, spidery IDM sketch of “Reykjavik” to the collapsed-time ballad of “Unknown Wish”. Whilst containing seeds of classic ‘fourth world’ fusion, this record finds the artist still questing to create new forms and mutations of music, a thrilling window into what music could sound like in a world to come.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    says: In essence experimental electronic music, but with a rich and evocative seam of cohesive melody and rhythm woven through it's core. Programmed percussion and sequenced synths lend a sense of drive to the otherwise floating new-age-electronic swirls. It's amazing how many influences can be skilfully brought together in the right hands, and Hassell has those hands.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Fearless
    2. Moons Of Titan
    3. Unknown Wish
    4. Delicado
    5. Reykjavik
    6. Cool Down Coda
    7. Lunar
    8. Timeless

    Fully remastered from the original tapes and available on vinyl for the first time in 42 years, and CD for the first time in 30 years. Sleevenotes by Jon Hassell and Brian Eno. Back in record shops on the day of the 2020 vernal equinox, the second release on Hassell’s own Ndeya label.

    Hailed as one of the 50 best ambient albums of all time by Pitchfork, Vernal Equinox was the first commercially released work by Jon Hassell, originally put out by Lovely Music in 1977. It is also the debut of a pioneering new form of music that would become known as “fourth world”: a subtle blend of field recordings, electric jazz, ambience and global music influences. Hassell’s trademark FX-soaked trumpet is carefully embellished by a studio ensemble including the master Brazilian percussionist Naná Vasconcelos and David Rosenboom on synth. The result is a quiet, meditative and highly original work of outstanding beauty.






    TRACK LISTING

    Side 1
    1. Toucan Ocean (3:50)
    2. Viva Shona (7:05)
    3. Hex (6:22)
    4. Blues Nile (9:52)
    Side 2
    1. Vernal Equinox (21:54)
    2. Caracas Night September 11, 1975 (1:55)

    Jon Hassell

    Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One)

    pen·ti·men·to / noun
    'Reappearance in a painting of earlier images, forms, or strokes that have been changed and painted over.'

    First new album in nine years by a musical visionary and hugely influential figure in new music. Forty years since its creation, Jon Hassell's "Fourth World" aesthetic remains a powerful influence on modern electronic music. Continuing his lifelong exploration of the possibilities of recombination and musical gene-splicing, fragments of performance are sampled, looped, overdubbed and re-arranged into beguiling unexpected shapes. Hassell applies the painterly technique of ‘pentimento’ to the arrangements, teasing out texture by the overlaying of sound upon sound, or a carefully timed reveal of the delicate bones pinning the frame of a track together.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Dreaming
    2. Picnic
    3. Slipstream
    4. Al Kongo Udu
    5. Pastorale Vassant
    6. Manga Scene
    7. Her First Rain
    8. Ndeya


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