Jon Hassell: Seeing Through Sound/Pentimento Vol 2 (Ndeya/Border)

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Jon Hassell: Seeing Through Sound/Pentimento Vol 2 (Ndeya/Border)

The sequel to trumpeter/sonic experimenter Jon Hassell's 2018 album Listening to Pictures/Pentimento Vol 1 which Elsewhere recommended, this is a further exploration of territory which Hassell had previously considered Fourth World music: a kind of self-defined area which includes ambient music, allusions to tribal chants or ritual music, low and surreptitious electronica, and evocative soundscapes of synths and soft trumpet.

Hassell's albums are rarely like anyone else's and while he came to attention on Brian Eno's Obscure label in the early Seventies and subsequently worked with Talking Heads and Peter Gabriel, he largely created his own sound which has seen him on the ECM jazz imprint and crafting his own whispery, intimate albums on his own label.

His Dream Theory in Malaya (1981) is an Essential Elsewhere album.

This time out the journey seems darker and more uneasy, the piano part in Delicado somewhat threatening in the context of the lengthy, rounded and typically breathy trumpet part. And although some titles suggest the cosmic (Moons of Titan, Lunar, Timeless) if they had been more earthbound and primal (maybe Undergrowth, Sarawak or The El At Night perhaps?) those references would have resonated just as much.

Reykjavik is a quiet, creaking, two minutes of prepared piano, ambient synths and unexpected electronic sounds which leads into the welcome but short Cool Down Coda after.

These atmospheric pieces (Lunar requires you accept the moon where your vehicle lies lost is a cold and empty place) evoke states of mind as much as almost physical sensations.

The album title says it all.

Play this with the lights off.


You can hear this album at Spotify here but it is also available on vinyl and your favourite record store can order it through Border Music in Auckland.

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