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  • Writer's pictureDean De Benedictis

New Collaborative Album With John Von Seggern

I recently released a collaborative, ambient LP with Oscar nominated sound designer/bassist John Von Seggern. It's called Taking Shasta Mountain By Strategy. I've worked with John periodically and I did a couple of remixes for his jazz band Simplexity in the past. This is the first time we've tackled something as lengthy as an LP together. Below is text from each of our individual posts about Taking Shasta Mountain... including links to the album.




FROM MY FB PAGE:

Ambient bassist John Von Seggern and I just released a collaborative LP. Rather than give you a detailed backstory to the album, I'm just going to talk about John.


He lived in China for 13 years and actually began his music career there as an in-demand, upright jazz bassist. He then moved to Los Angeles to get more involved with electronic music in the early 2000s. Since then, John headed the California branch of Native Instruments, recorded and performed with ambient jazz pioneer Jon Hassel, was nominated for an Oscar with a colleague for best sound design, and became an in-demand, gun-for-hire bassist in Los Angeles. He even joined the Fateless Flows Collective back in the day (my collective), which is how we met.


Our new album is called Taking Shasta Mountain (By Strategy), which is John’s cheeky hattip to both Eno’s “…Tiger Mountain...” and my own yearly climbs on Mt. Shasta. John did the post production on this particular album and I think he did pretty well. The music is a dark-minimal vibe and is available everywhere. Main links below. Join us in our little realm whenever you come up for air and need something somewhat resembling a breather.





FROM JOHN'S FB PAGE:

I’m releasing a new ambient album today, a collaboration with keyboardist/synthesist Dean De Benedictis titled Taking Shasta Mountain (By Strategy), give it a listen! This is a calm and peaceful one, hopefully a partial antidote to the ongoing madness of our contemporary existence.

Just thought I’d say something about where all this new music is coming from…

From 2014-2020 I was privileged to work closely with one of my lifelong musical heroes, ambient pioneer Jon Hassell, together with guitarist Rick Cox and guest appearances from a few other people including violinist Hugh Marsh. We recorded together most weekends for several years, made two well-received albums, played some great shows here and in Europe…playing and recording with Jon was the focus of my musical life for those years.

Then the pandemic hit and no one was making any music for awhile as we all concentrated on getting through the crisis. Jon later got sick and was in hospital for some time, then passed away in summer 2021, RIP. I didn’t make any music for some time after that but occasionally wondered about what I might do next if the world ever returned to ‘normal’.

Then in 2022 I got the idea for darkwave band Liminal Shade and began writing new songs with the extremely talented Mar Boreal. As we wrote more and more music together, I started exploring how far I could push the sound of the bass guitar with all the software effects available now. Before long I was improvising ambient soundscapes with my bass at home and decided I ought to do a recording and a live concert to get some of these new sounds out there.

So in summer 2023 I released Ambient Bass Guitar and played a solo concert at the The Philosophical Research Society here in Los Angeles, with visuals by old friend Steve Nalepa. The concert went well and I ended up making some new friends and collaborators afterwards, which has led to the series of ambient collaborations I’m releasing now.

Dean De Benedictis was at my ambient bass concert and I also ended up seeing him at the highly memorable Steve Roach concert at the First Congregational Church last year. We have a lot of shared musical interests so decided to do an ambient project together, and we recorded the current set over the course of a few sessions at my place in late summer 2023. These are all live improvisations, Dean is playing synths and samples and I’m playing bass guitar and Chapman Stick through my ambient effects chain, the latest iteration of the setup I had designed for Jon to use with his trumpet.

I’m really happy with how this project came out, and these sessions are also notable because these are the first recordings in a long time where I played the Stick (the last 3 tracks on the album were on the Stick). Dean asked me ‘what’s in that bag over there?’ so I got it out and in the 10 or so months since that session playing the Stick has once again become an all-consuming obsession for me.

One more thing, this album is called Taking Shasta Mountain (By Strategy) because Dean left town soon after these sessions to scale Mt Shasta, and all the track titles are places in the vicinity up there.




John and I actually have an additional, shorter work up on Bandcamp also, released previous to Taking Shasta Mountain.... It's called Rush Luna, a 20-minute set of ambient music based on the same recording session as the LP was. If it weren't a 20-minute set, one could almost call it a single.




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