The 81-year-old trumpeter and avant-garde legend Jon Hassell has a resume that unites the worlds of abstract jazz, minimalism, and experimental electronic music. Over the years, he’s worked with people like Brian Eno and David Sylvian, and he helped Peter Gabriel out on his core for Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation Of Christ.
Hassell hasn’t released a new album in nine years; his last was 2009’s Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street. But this spring, he’s coming back with a new one called Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One). The first song we’ve heard is a pulsating, droning six-minute instrumental called “Dreaming.”
Given everything in those last two paragraphs, “Dreaming” should feel like homework. It’s a strange, abstract piece of music from a guy who only makes strange, abstract pieces of music and who’s been operating on the fringes for many years. But Hassell called it “Dreaming” for a reason. And while it doesn’t hit the pleasure centers like a great pop song might, “Dreaming” is a warm, enveloping, comforting listen. It’s not as shapeless as ambient or as rigorous as most experimental music, but you feel like you can fall into it and just live there. Check it out below.
Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One) is out 6/8 on Hassell’s own Nyeda Records.