Listening to Pictures (Pentimento Volume One)

Jon Hassell - Listening to Pictures (Pentimento Volume One)
Critic Score
Based on 8 reviews
2018 Ratings: #122 / 805
User Score
Based on 39 ratings
2018 Ratings: #293
Liked by 1 person
June 8, 2018 / Release Date
LP / Format
Ndeya / Label
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God Is in the TV

The eight tracks here follow transcendental themes. Technically brilliant of course. Compared to the likes of Forest Swords, Oneohtrix Point Never or Four Tet, at its loosest Listening To Pictures is free enough to be original while structured enough to be bearable. Jazz elements are incorporated into something not just zeitgeist chasing but incredible to listen to.

The Guardian
Astonishingly, Hassell is now 81 and making the most forward-looking and experimental music of his career.

On Listening to Pictures (Pentimento Volume One), it's a treat to find Jon Hassell still fascinated and engrossed in the style of music he helped create.

The Independent

Anyone who has spent any time with ambient music knows that it’s all about the textures, and the images they conjure and the feelings they evoke. And Listening to Pictures is if nothing else, an exploration of said textures.

Resident Advisor
Trying to follow these songs as they unfold is a bewildering experience. But if you take Hassell's advice, and "scan up and down the sonic spectrum," taking in the moments of beauty as they occur, the album's title makes a lot of sense.
It is a music of sense and memory perceptions, a sonic projection equal to but different from the sources that inspired it. When all are assembled, they constitute a deep, mysterious, and occasionally disruptive journey into shade, texture, nuance, and seductive persuasion.

Its eight tracks are teeming with strands of melody and unbound rhythms that have been meticulously constructed into groaning towers of sound. The material fits perfectly into the continuum of Hassell’s entire career and steps beyond the cozy, hypnagogic compositions that made up Last Night.

"Listening to Pictures (Pentimento Volume One)" has the classical tribal sound of Hassell's music, but for the first time he decided to experiment with glitch sounds, and is impressive for his age. A solid late-career album.

Highlights: "Dreaming", "Ndeya"
Listening to Pictures (Pentimento Volume One) is an exquisite ethereal experience aligned to well-composed tribal music, intriguing experimental lo-fi and lovely jazzy layering. It is a cute release from the genre after all.
Worth a listen
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Year End Lists

#46/The Wire

Track List

  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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Added on: April 5, 2018