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Jon Hassell – Vernal Equinox

Jon Hassell – Vernal Equinox


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"Jon Hassell’s 1980 album Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics, produced alongside Brian Eno, is perhaps the most common entry point in the trumpeter’s catalog, arriving during the latter’s ascendance as a pop theorist and alchemist. But Hassell’s 1977 debut contains many of the same ideas in a more muted and subtle form. Inspired by raga music, particularly the work of the vocalist Pandit Pran Nath, Hassell processes his trumpet sound and focuses on notes that change in tiny increments, giving his melodies a slippery quality where you’re never quite sure where they are coming from or where they might go next. The background is filled with quiet twitches of rattles and bells, gurgling talking drum, and snippets of bird songs, creating a bed of sound that is hard to pin down but easy to absorb as a whole. Sources stretch in all directions, from the “Shhh/Peaceful” jazz of Miles Davis to Indian classical music to twinkling New Age, but the music’s refusal to be any one thing makes each listen feel like the first one."

– Mark Richardson, Pitchfork (The 50 Best Ambient Albums of All Time)

Fully remastered from the original tapes and available on vinyl for the first time in 42 years, and CD for the first time in 30 years. Sleevenotes by Jon Hassell and Brian Eno. Back in record shops on the day of the 2020 vernal equinox, the second release on Hassell’s own Ndeya label.

1. Toucan Ocean [03:49]
2. Viva Shona [07:05]
3. Hex [06:24]
4. Blues Nile [09:54]
5. Vernal Equinox [21:54]
6. Caracas Night September 11, 1975 [02:07]

Format: 12-inch Vinyl LP
Label: Ndeya
Catalog: NDEYA2LP
Released: 2020
Genre: Experimental / Ambient