Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One) CD
Seeing Through Sound (Pentimento Volume Two) CD
Available: July 24, 2020
Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One)
In the wake of many contemporary electronic artists and DJs citing the 'Fourth World' concept as influential, Jon Hassell returns forty years since its creation with his first new album in almost a decade to rightly take his place as the sound's originator.
Having started off his musical career studying under Karlheinz Stockhausen and producing his earliest recordings in collaboration with La Monte Young and Terry Riley, fold into that his groundbreaking ambient recordings with Brian Eno, and it goes without saying Jon Hassell is one of the most important artists of his generation. The album's first single Dreaming perfectly sets the tone with his trumpet notes morphing themselves like liquid around the free rotation rhythms, harvesting an equinox of dream theory jazz.
Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One) launches his new imprint Ndeya, a platform set up by Jon to explore the outer reaches of his Fourth World sound and also to act as a vehicle that will venture far beyond its borders.
Seeing Through Sound (Pentimento Volume Two)
When it emerged in 2018, Listening To Pictures, the first release in Jon Hassell’s Pentimento series, was also the first new LP Hassell had delivered for almost a decade. That album developed the Fourth World sound which Hassell had pioneered in delightful ways, utilising techniques from jazz, dub and electroacoustic music to turn in a typically vivid array of instrumentals.
Seeing Through Sound, the second Pentimento volume, shares a similar sonic makeup to Listening To Pictures. However, there is a feeling that Hassell has gone even deeper into those ‘unknown and imaginary regions’ here. The atmospheres are thicker here, the feel of the record somewhat more pensive than its predecessor. While Seeing Through Sound is not exactly a dark listen, there is certainly some tension lurking at the corners - particularly on numbers like ‘Unknown Wish’, and 'Delicado'.
The middle of Seeing Through Sound stutters and glitches - not usually terms you’d necessarily associate with an artist who once made drifting masterpieces like Vernal Equinox. In this mid-section, only the lilting tidbit ‘Cool Down Coda’ comes close to calm, and even then it is flecked with eerie synthetic tones. In Seeing Through Soung’s home straight ‘Lunar’ and ‘Timeless’ unfurl to create soundscapes as expansive as their titles suggest - file next to William Basinski and The Caretaker.
Seeing Through Sound, the second volume in Jon Hassell’s Pentimento series, contains some of the most detailed and freighted music of the Fourth World legend’s long career.