Author Topic: Jon Hassell and other atmospheric soundscapes  (Read 275 times)

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Offline allewartenaufdaslicht_

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Jon Hassell and other atmospheric soundscapes
« on: July 18, 2020, 11:11:11 AM »


About 7 years ago when I was still in school I was struggling with an algebra class. Via some flyer on a street corner I found this nice but weird guy, he claimed to be a self-taught mathematician and help out students for relatively small money. So I started meeting him twice a week at his place and he helped me get better at my class. We would just work on math problems for hours and during that time he always made green tea with soy milk and played music that back then I just perceived as extremely weird.

Most of what he played turned out to be by Jon Hassell, as I learned a couple years later. Somehow it really helped with what we were doing. We rarely took breaks and worked one problem after another and the music functioned as an atmospheric soundscape that was just going on the whole time... it kept us concentrated and left only little space for conversation or distraction... This album in particular left a huge impression on me. It was my first contact with music of the experimental ambient spectrum ever. Now, years later I am a gigantic fan of Hassells work. In my opinion, he is the absolute master of creating a weird and simultaneously soothing atmosphere sonically.

This album is called "Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street". Back in school, the title track used to be stuck in my head for days... It makes me feel lonely but somehow it also makes the loneliness seem okay - maybe even comfortable. It's hard to explain and this might be extremely subjective, depending on your individual environment while listening, but I think that's exactly what I love so much about ambient music. It leaves air for you to use it to nuance a moment with a layer of sound that changes the way you perceive the situation. Once you get into this, it is highly addictive - and Jon Hassells music, this album in particular, work perfectly in this context.

Anyway sorry for the tiring monologue but maybe some people here enjoy this kind of music as much as I do and/or use it for the same purpose.

- I posted this before in the "What are you listening to"-section, but it did not really resonate and since I am new here I didn't know that you could also just open a new discussion, which I did because there seems to be no thread about this kind of music yet. Other artists I frequently consume for the same purpose are Nils Frahm and Tangerine Dream, furthermore my best friend Fritzinger recently got me aware of Steven Wilsons bass communion, also going in this exact direction.

I mainly started this thread for all the atmospheric-music nerds here to share their favorites for me to check out. Thank you in advance!

Cheers
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Online Fritzinger

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Re: Jon Hassell and other atmospheric soundscapes
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2020, 12:47:07 PM »
Pretty bummed that this thread got ghosted like this...


I have developed lots of love for ambient music during the last few years. The trigger might have been Steven Wilson stating that Tangerine Dream's ZEIT is his favourite album. His favourite album! That's a pretty big statement for an artist that covers such a huge variety of music within his own output. While listening to it, I couldn't understand why I loved it, but I couldn't stop.

I proceeded to listen to more Tangerine Dream albums. Until now, I worked my way up to Stratosfear (what an awesome name for an album right?). And I checked out a few other ambient/electronic artists, like Klaus Schulze, Brian Eno, Nils Frahm and Steven Wilson himself. I have posted this in other places before, but: Bass Communion's/Steven Wilson's ambient stuff is amazing, at times it's even hauntingly beautiful (the Drugged trilogy... wow). I feel the same way about piano master Nils Frahm, who has dived into electronic/ambient music on his last few outputs. These ambient guys have helped me appreciate electronic music more in general. I can't say I have become a techno fan ever since, but I no longer have that attitude that "computer music" is always shit and everything has to be made by guitar, bass, drums,... Also I came to appreciate silence even more in music. There's no need for something to be "going on" all the time in music.

I have yet to get to know MOST of Hassell's music, but what I heard of him left me pretty impressed. His 2018 album and follow-up to the mentioned Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street, named Listening To Pictures, once again combines his electronic, weird and masterful scapes with his characteristic trumpet playing (what a combination). He released a new album this year, I haven't heard it yet thought. Looking forward to diving into his music a lot more!
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Online MrBoom_shack-a-lack

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Re: Jon Hassell and other atmospheric soundscapes
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2020, 01:21:29 PM »
Interesting album, love to have this kind of music in the background when you're doing something creative.
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Offline dparrott

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Re: Jon Hassell and other atmospheric soundscapes
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2020, 02:25:42 PM »
Don't know if this qualifies, but Secede's album Vega Libre
https://youtu.be/CJnFHopfj9I

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club made a soundscape album years ago
https://youtu.be/_kX5bAcSqyo

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Offline darkshade

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Re: Jon Hassell and other atmospheric soundscapes
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2020, 04:19:40 PM »
Whoa I just got into Jon Hassell recently with his "Power Spot" album, I must have listened to that one 5 times already.
The rest of his output looks interesting. I have been listening to a lot of music released on ECM over the past year as well. So much good music on that label if you like jazz and world music.

Online Fritzinger

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Re: Jon Hassell and other atmospheric soundscapes
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2020, 05:25:46 AM »
Whoa I just got into Jon Hassell recently with his "Power Spot" album, I must have listened to that one 5 times already.
The rest of his output looks interesting. I have been listening to a lot of music released on ECM over the past year as well. So much good music on that label if you like jazz and world music.

Haven't heard the Power Spot album, the initiator of this thread has told me it's quite hard to get on vinyl (even worse with Last Night The Moon). I agree with you opinion on ECM however, I have many Pat Metheny albums from this label, all of them sound and look lovely.
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Offline darkshade

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Re: Jon Hassell and other atmospheric soundscapes
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2020, 10:59:29 AM »
Whoa I just got into Jon Hassell recently with his "Power Spot" album, I must have listened to that one 5 times already.
The rest of his output looks interesting. I have been listening to a lot of music released on ECM over the past year as well. So much good music on that label if you like jazz and world music.

Haven't heard the Power Spot album, the initiator of this thread has told me it's quite hard to get on vinyl (even worse with Last Night The Moon). I agree with you opinion on ECM however, I have many Pat Metheny albums from this label, all of them sound and look lovely.

Going through the ECM catalog, Power Spot was brought to my attention and I checked it out online. I don't have a vinyl player but I hadn't checked to see if it's available on CD either. Some ECMs are just out of print, unfortunately. But this one moved up my list pretty quickly. I'll be sure to check out more of Hassell's work.

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Re: Jon Hassell and other atmospheric soundscapes
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2020, 05:38:55 PM »
I think I sampled a few tracks of Hassel and added those albums to my wishlist. I've also gotten into ambient music quite a bit lately, I highly recommend Bohren & der Club of Gore's Sunset Mission to anyone that wants ambient and slow, dark jazz music, amazing record.

I'm also pretty glad to see some love for Nils Frahm, guy's been an inspiration for so long. I'd love to see him live, his performances are insane.

Online Fritzinger

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Re: Jon Hassell and other atmospheric soundscapes
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2020, 04:48:44 AM »
I've also gotten into ambient music quite a bit lately, I highly recommend Bohren & der Club of Gore's Sunset Mission to anyone that wants ambient and slow, dark jazz music, amazing record.

That's cool to hear, I just looked it up and realised I have seen this record many times while browsing through different record stores. I always thought it looked interesting but never heard it. Will fix that soon :)


I'm also pretty glad to see some love for Nils Frahm, guy's been an inspiration for so long. I'd love to see him live, his performances are insane.

I saw Nils live in Dresden, October last year. It was amazing. He's also a very nice and down to earth guy, I got to talk to him for a few minutes after the show. I can only recommend anyone to go see one of his shows.
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Offline allewartenaufdaslicht_

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Re: Jon Hassell and other atmospheric soundscapes
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2020, 10:35:47 AM »
I think I sampled a few tracks of Hassel and added those albums to my wishlist. I've also gotten into ambient music quite a bit lately, I highly recommend Bohren & der Club of Gore's Sunset Mission to anyone that wants ambient and slow, dark jazz music, amazing record.

I will make sure to check this bad boy out ASAP. Thanks for the suggestion!

Again, I strongly encourage everyone reading this post to drop their ambient favorites here, I‘d love to get to know more of this genre. Glad to see some responses here!
to the beautiful and the wise, the mirror always lies

Online Fritzinger

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Re: Jon Hassell and other atmospheric soundscapes
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2020, 02:43:57 AM »
I think I sampled a few tracks of Hassel and added those albums to my wishlist. I've also gotten into ambient music quite a bit lately, I highly recommend Bohren & der Club of Gore's Sunset Mission to anyone that wants ambient and slow, dark jazz music, amazing record.

I will make sure to check this bad boy out ASAP. Thanks for the suggestion!

Again, I strongly encourage everyone reading this post to drop their ambient favorites here, I‘d love to get to know more of this genre. Glad to see some responses here!

I tracked down a vinyl copy of Bohren & Der Club Of Gore's Sunset Mission and I am listening for the first time right now.
I love what I am hearing so far. It got an ambient character, but it's also Jazz. Very dark, but also cool and bluesy. Hard to describe. I'm excited for what this album still has in store for me.
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Offline darkshade

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Re: Jon Hassell and other atmospheric soundscapes
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2020, 09:23:27 AM »
I checked out Hassell's 1970s albums that are available on Spotify (Vernal Equinox and Earthquake Island) and both are very fine world music affairs featuring Nano Vasconcelos from Pat Metheny Group and CODONA. I plan on checking out some of his later work some time soon.

If anyone's looking for more "slow, dark jazz music" I recommend any recent albums by Jacob Bro. I can only speak for his last 3-4 albums I have not heard his earlier stuff or albums with other artists.

Online Ben_Jamin

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Re: Jon Hassell and other atmospheric soundscapes
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2020, 10:36:37 AM »
 :omg: :omg: Amazing timing of that OP post.


I enjoy atmospheric music quite a bit. I enjoy just letting go and getting lost in the landscape of Ambient Music. Carbon Based Lifeforms got me into the genre. Which I then listened to Sync24. I then found OTT on bandcamp and enjoy this kind of Ambient, he mixes many styles, and it adds a good amount of variety.

Ambient Music is great background music to study, and focus on certain task that require thinking, Ambient Music is the very definition of Background Music for me. Background Music to me, is music your mind doesn't need to spend energy focusing on, so it lets your brain focus on other things, a reason for why I listen to more Ambient/Atmospheric music when I would study or do other things that require my mind. The music actually, helps my mind focus, it's neat really, the same way an environment and listening to it can inspire the mind.
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Re: Jon Hassell and other atmospheric soundscapes
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2020, 02:07:42 PM »
I think I sampled a few tracks of Hassel and added those albums to my wishlist. I've also gotten into ambient music quite a bit lately, I highly recommend Bohren & der Club of Gore's Sunset Mission to anyone that wants ambient and slow, dark jazz music, amazing record.

I will make sure to check this bad boy out ASAP. Thanks for the suggestion!

Again, I strongly encourage everyone reading this post to drop their ambient favorites here, I‘d love to get to know more of this genre. Glad to see some responses here!

I tracked down a vinyl copy of Bohren & Der Club Of Gore's Sunset Mission and I am listening for the first time right now.
I love what I am hearing so far. It got an ambient character, but it's also Jazz. Very dark, but also cool and bluesy. Hard to describe. I'm excited for what this album still has in store for me.
Glad you enjoyed it! It's a very unique band indeed, I can also recommend you their follow-up, Black Earth. It's a little more sparse and even darker but still a splendid record.

Offline emtee

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Re: Jon Hassell and other atmospheric soundscapes
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2020, 02:34:32 PM »
I will explore. At times, like when I'm writing, I love this kind of backdrop.

However, what's weird is, I will reach a point where I need to shut it off. It's very enjoyable for about 45 minutes and then I'm done.

Offline emtee

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Re: Jon Hassell and other atmospheric soundscapes
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2020, 02:53:02 PM »
This pianist often helps me too. Very soothing.

https://music.youtube.com/channel/UClbZb5qu6fZd5X3gVRxqqNA


Online Fritzinger

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Re: Jon Hassell and other atmospheric soundscapes
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2020, 02:35:22 AM »
I think I sampled a few tracks of Hassel and added those albums to my wishlist. I've also gotten into ambient music quite a bit lately, I highly recommend Bohren & der Club of Gore's Sunset Mission to anyone that wants ambient and slow, dark jazz music, amazing record.

I will make sure to check this bad boy out ASAP. Thanks for the suggestion!

Again, I strongly encourage everyone reading this post to drop their ambient favorites here, I‘d love to get to know more of this genre. Glad to see some responses here!

I tracked down a vinyl copy of Bohren & Der Club Of Gore's Sunset Mission and I am listening for the first time right now.
I love what I am hearing so far. It got an ambient character, but it's also Jazz. Very dark, but also cool and bluesy. Hard to describe. I'm excited for what this album still has in store for me.
Glad you enjoyed it! It's a very unique band indeed, I can also recommend you their follow-up, Black Earth. It's a little more sparse and even darker but still a splendid record.

More sparse and more dark  :lol
I will check this out, looking forward to it!

Sunset Mission is still spinning daily and I like it more and more!
me desperté en un mundo con dos tipos de gente: la mas y la menos extrema