on life, music etc beyond mainstream


Jon Hassell: Seeing Through Sound (Pentimento Vol. 2)



„Go through his catalog and his trumpet becomes a phantasmagorical thing. Something that transcends language, both unheard yet uncannily familiar. It’s a canopy of tropical birds, a woman’s plaint in a foreign tongue, a buzzing insect, a Bedouin horn calling across the dunes, the distant whistle of a train, Chet Baker on Venus.“ (r.a.)


Hassell has a gift for drawing us into his richly conceived soundworlds. One source of magnetism is the beats running through the tracks, from the metronomic pulse of “Fearless” to the sharp, metallic tones that glint like otherworldly signals in “Lunar”. Another is his music’s wordless narrative drive, like the skittery percussion and prowling bass in “Reykjavik”, which lend the Icelandic capital an oddly noir atmosphere. Although Hassell’s trumpet-playing is more muted than on Listening to Pictures, this companion album shows that his compositional powers are undimmed.“ (f.t.)


“DAS Album der Radionacht Klanghorizonte im Deutschlandfunk am 15. August zwischen 1.05 und 6.00 Uhr. In den beiden ersten Stunden mit aktuellen Neuerscheinungen gibt es zudem und u.a. Musik zu hören aus den für September anstehenden Werken von Michel Benita (ECM) und Nils Petter Molvaer (im Duo mit Mino Cinelu). Und schon früh in der Nacht wird wohl einiges vorgestellt von dem,  was später,  in der Themenstunde, ins alte brittanische Hinterland entführt, wie etwa die faszinierenden aktuellen Produtionen von Shirley Collins und The Unthanks.“ (m.e.)


Back in April, Brian Eno started a GoFundMe for Hassell, who as a cancer survivor is at high risk of severe COVID-19 infection. Hassell is now out of intensive care, but he’s still well short of his fundraising goal, and one wonders how much more music lies ahead for the octogenarian artist. In that light, the fittingly titled “Timeless” takes on additional resonance as a portrait of the master musician, unbowed and still considering every expressive breath. (p.f)



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