Seeing Through Sound (Pentimento Volume Two)

Seeing Through Sound (Pentimento Volume Two)

Jon Hassell was 81 when he returned from a nine-year hiatus to release 2018’s Listening to Pictures (Pentimento, Vol. One), yet the composer’s ambient-jazz fusion sounded every bit as fresh as it had four decades earlier—a searching swirl of aquatic rhythms and his habitual trumpet treatments. Two years later, on that album’s companion, Hassell keeps pushing outward. His signature, as ever, is the kaleidoscopic processing that splits the tone of his horn into eerie open fifths, but he continues to find new contexts for it. He has never sounded as amorphous as he does on the liquid “Moons of Titan,” which suggests a conversation with the 2020s’ ambient revival; on “Delicado,” he delves into looped drums reminiscent of classic Detroit downtempo. Gorgeous, immersive, and genuinely experimental, it’s a late-career triumph; the title of its closing track, “Timeless,” feels duly earned.

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