I’m up for a bath. Any kind of bath — I’m dirty!!! But an ‘ambient soundbath’ particularly rings my chime. That’s what’s on offer at bassist and electronic producer John von Seggern‘s immersive audiovisual experience, a concert held in a structure of fascination on Los Feliz Boulevard — the one that houses the Philosophical Research Society.
The event, Thursday, June 15, celebrates the release of von Seggern’s Ambient Bass Guitar album. The venue, known as the PRS to Los Angeles’s brainy-spiritual hipsters, is the spot for a pre-concert reception with the artist at 7 pm, with sound immersion starting at 8 pm. Esoteric video projections will add the visual element — they are by Steve Nalepa and Branden Sahagun.
From 2014-2020, John von Seggern worked closely with legendary trumpeter and electronic music pioneer Jon Hassell, resulting in the acclaimed 2018 release Listening to Pictures, named in The Guardian as one of the top contemporary-classical releases of that year. For his current album, von Seggern has taken the software setup he created for Hassell and used it on his bass guitar instead, creating a vast universe of transcendent ambient sounds from the five strings of his bass.
“All the sounds you hear are produced in real-time using complex chains of processing and effects, a live dialogue between me, my bass, and my computer. These sounds are made possible by advanced audio technologies, but every note here was played by my very human fingers on metal strings.”John Von Seggern
The PRS is a venue steeped in esoteric history and lore (a Los Angeles blog named it “One of LA’s “13 Weirdest Things to Do“). It’s the perfect place to vibrate to ambient noise — if you can tune out the traffic sound. The composer promises ‘no edits, no overdubs!’ The audience needs to promise back no cell phones — just body cells set ‘on vibrate.’
John von Seggern, ambient bass guitar | Philosophical Research Society | Thurs, June 15