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The Key

Prepare to be hypnotized by Dan Kassel and his cello on new LP Clockwork

October 24th, 2016 | 2:50PM | By Erin Blewett

Kassel has steadily released and composed dynamically layered instrumental pieces since his first LP Bloom in 2013. For his third full-length album, Clockwork, he lulls listeners into a trance that is triggered by the mesmerizing medley of sounds that he creates using only his cello and the occasional contributing percussions. This nine-track album features covers of “Lithium” by Nirvana and “Love Foolosophy” by Jamiroquai. The remaining tracks were all composed by Kassel. Despite the assortment of chords presented simultaneously to listeners, each note is fully absorbed and has the ability to take listeners to great heights as well as tremendous lows.

With that being said, every emotion invoked over the course of this album contributes to a much bigger picture composed of tremendously textured instrumentals that latch on to listeners and hold fast until the concluding note.

Clockwork was fully funded by a Kickstarter campaign started last March by Kassel. He doesn’t have any upcoming scheduled performances as of now, but keep an eye on the WXPN Concert Calendar for updates. Check out the full album below. (UPDATE: Kassel headlines World Cafe Live upstairs on January 26th.)


Classic Instrument, Modern Grooves: Listen to cellist Dan Kassel’s Tribes Forgotten LP

February 5th, 2014 | 2:20PM | By Katrina Murray

Photo by John Vettese

Not many folks can make a cello sound as resonant and hypnotic as Dan Kassel can. The Philly-bred musician just released his new album Tribes Forgotten, the follow-up to last year’s BLOOM. Kassel’s latest foray into our hearts features cello covers of Foster the People’s 2011 breakout hit “Pumped Up Kicks” and Daft Punk & Pharrell’s Grammy award-winning disco-pop gem “Get Lucky.”

(Hear More – The Key Studio Sessions: Dan Kassel)

His signature style of playing remains well intact and is meant to take the listener “to great heights and over vast expanse”. In using a classic instrument to deliver modern grooves, Kassel does just that and more. Get tickets to his record release show on April 10th at World Cafe Live.

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The Key Studio Sessions: Dan Kassel

August 28th, 2013| 10:34 AM | By John Vettese

Philadelphia’s Dan Kassel is a schooled and imaginative cellist who doesn’t want to be limited by the options cello players typically face. It’s either chase the orchestra dream – a tough haul, to be sure – or work as a session musician, waiting for friends or peers to tap you for a string part. Kassel sees a third option, and with inspiration from travels in Nepal and India (and help from a Boss loop station), he recorded and released the album Bloom earlier this year. Airy and tastefully layered, it recalls the contemplative and sensitive instrumental work of mid-period Cocteau Twins or Dead Can Dance, The richness of his sound is impressive coming from a solo performer, but it’s also rooted in simplicity (you won’t get any messy pile-ups of loops here). It also comes with a sweet one-man show, and Kassel brings it to the World Cafe Live stage tomorrow night, August 29th. Tickets and more information on the all-ages show can be found here; stream and download Kassel’s Key Studio Session below.


 

NJ.Com Backbeat: Dan Kassel

August 19th, 2015 by Lisa Rich/The Times

Talk about bringing the orchestra to new levels.

Dan Kassel knows how to work and manipulate his cello, and with the use of a loop station, he's able to bring his instrument and performance to heights unthinkable for a solo artist and a string instrument.

He's bringing his eclectic experimentation to Small World Coffee on Sat., Aug. 22. Audiences can expect to be wowed; he creates a scenery with his performance and blends together the best elements of Irish folk, classical and electronic to make something truly special.

There's a backbone of classical technique that allows him to then use technology to take the instrument to a place unexpected: it's as if the instrument lives on its own - almost as if Kassel is being guided by the cello instead of the other way around.

Another win for the attendee is the venue itself; Small World Coffee provides a no-frills cozy environment. Performers like Kassel have the opportunity to let their sound resonate off the walls, making the event more of an experience than simply working to background music.

You can sample his work at dankassel.bandcamp.com.

 
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The Sound Live-Album Review: Dan Kassel “Clockwork”

April 12th, 2017 by Mayra Ramales

Dan Kassel is perhaps one of the most versatile musicians in the underground music scene. A cellist and New Jersey native, Kassel’s musical arrangements transcend the Western hemisphere. In Clockwork, he showcases sounds from the Eastern side of the world, including India and Japan.

 

What is perhaps most impressive about an artist like Kassel is the fact that he plays every melody on the album, doing so by playing his cello through a looping device, allowing him to layer multiple melodies on top of each other. The only exceptions featured in Clockwork are the Indian tanpura machine, tabla drums on “Simple Prayer”, an egg shaker and handclaps featured on “Love Foolosophy.”

 

Clockwork takes the listener on a journey of emotions, going from darker moods to relaxed tunes perfect for concentration. Some nice surprise covers popped up as well,

songs “Lithium” by Nirvana and “Love Foolosophy” by Jamiroquai.

 

Other songs to look out for are:

 

“No Tango” – keep an ear out for the beautiful break at 3:35 that suspends into a beautiful Arabic inspired melody

 “Simple Prayer” – listen for the hints of Japan sprinkled over this one

 “I Don’t Even Know” – get captured by the hypnotizing opening and keep an ear out for Kassel’s catchy, rapid slurs

 “Black Charriot” – another example of beautiful Arabic inspired arrangements that will bring you back around to a relaxed state for the ending

 

Kassel’s work is one of a kind and truly a gem for fans of classical music. As an underground, independent artist, his accomplishments and talent are to be admired and supported. Clockwork is the full product of fans that supported Kassel through his Kickstarter Campaign, helping make Clockwork possible. Lets continue supporting artists like Kassel who encapsulate such beautiful talents and should be able to share them with the world.

 

To support Kassel, purchase Clockwork over at his BandCamp page and follow him on Facebook!