​pentimento volume one

​​​listening to pictures

​Album art sources
and inspiration:
Mati Klarwein

Art direction
Dan Kuehn,
Arien Valizadeh,
Taska Cleveland

“Out my bedroom window through the venetian blinds the Nile river of Possible Musics follows the lazy stretch of the Indian cover girl in the Dehra Dun marketplace.”

​Executive Producer
Matthew Jones

Produced by
Jon Hassell

Co-produced by
Rick Cox

Production Coordination
Britton Powell

Recorded at
Studio Venice, California

Al Carlson, New York

Additional mastering
Arnaud Mercier,
Valgeir Sigurðsson

Thanks to my publishing team:
Petra Gehrmann, Metisse Music, Paris
Al Evers, A-Train, Oakland

​Jon Hassell


2018    38:29

​1.  Dreaming  6:07

2.  Picnic  5:58

3.  Slipstream  2:54

4.  Al-Kongo Udu  5:11

5.  Pastorale Vassant  3:58

6.  Manga Scene  5:44

7.  Her First Rain  1:36

8.  Ndeya  7:06

​Jon Hassell — trumpet, keyboards

Rick Cox — guitar, OP-1 synth

John Von Seegern — bass, drums

Hugh Marsh — electric violin

Peter Freeman bass, samples ​
Ralph Cumbers “kongo” drum programming
Eivind Aarset electric guitar, samples ​
Kheir-Eddine M’Kachiche violin, samples​
Christoph Harbonnier (Lightwave) bass ​
Christian Jacob (Lightwave) bass ​
Michel Redolfi drone, samples ​

All compositions Jon Hassell / Nyen Music

pen·ti·men·to / noun

Reappearance in a painting of earlier images, forms, or strokes that have been changed and painted over.

​So I started seeing (or was that hearing?) the music we were working on in the studio in terms of that definition. Seeing it in terms of a painting with layers and touch-ups and start-overs with new layers that get erased in places that let the underlying pattern come to the top and be seen (or heard).

This is what metaphors do - they let you see (hear) things through the prism of another art or through the walls next door.

Note that "the Arts" are often spoken of in this collective way that tends to make them all the same - obscuring the fact that there's only one of "the arts" that comes exclusively through the ears.

Most of the world is listening to music in terms of forward flow - based on where the music is "going" and "what comes NEXT." But there's another angle: Vertical listening is about listening to "what's happening NOW" - letting your inner ears scan up and down the sonic spectrum, asking what kind of "shapes" you're seeing, then noticing how that picture motphs as the music moves through Time.

Robert Irwin's subtle art installations are based on what he calls "perceiving yourself perceiving." Vertical listening is related to "listening to yourself listening."

So this is where the title "Listening to Pictures" comes from: The process of vertical listening creates the picture.

​Order here.


All text, images and sound not otherwise attributed are protected by
copyright © 2017 Nyen Music.
All paintings by Mati Klarwein © 2017 Klarwein-Archives.
Used by permission of the Klarwein family.

A childhood in Memphis, a classical conservatory education, composition and electronic music study with Stockhausen in Cologne; a passage through the New York minimalist sphere with Terry Riley, Reich, Glass; having a window opened onto the world's music and a new approach to the trumpet via vocal master Pandit Pran Nath; a questioning and deconstruction of the European dichotomy between classical and popular, sacred and sensual; a pioneer of digital transformation and sampling—all of this led to Fourth World—the unique blend which Jon has described as "worldly music" to underline a more subtle equation at work and discourage the simplistic labeling of "world," "jazz," "classical," "minimal," or "ambient."