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- Bleep exclusive
- First edition
- 68pp perfect bound 5x8” paperback
- Cover printed on 300gsm recycled silk
- 100gsm recycled natural paper
A special first edition of a publication containing Jon Hassell’s writing about his own music, a series of diary like entries spanning a period of over thirty years presented as a 68 page 5 x 8” perfect bound volume on recycled paper stock throughout, is now available for pre-order via Bleep, with all label profits going to the gofundme set-up by friends and family to help pay for Jon’s medical care in the final twelve months of his life. Now that Jon is sadly no longer with us, his family intends to use the funds to allow the tremendous personal archive of his music, much unreleased, to be preserved and shared with the world. They also hope to provide philanthropic gifts of scholarship and contributions to issues close to Jon’s heart, such as supporting the working rights of musicians.
Atmospherics includes essays and notes about the albums Vernal Equinox, Earthquake Island, Possible Musics, Dream Theory In Malaya, Aka-Dabari-Java, City: Works Of Fiction, Fascinoma, Maarifa Street and Listening To Pictures.
Jon Hassell passed away at the age of 84 on 26 June 2021, leaving behind a significant legacy of highly influential music and art created over his lifetime. Beyond the numerous recording sessions and live concert performances that Jon participated in, he also wrote a number of diary-like vignettes for the various iterations of his website, which he dubbed Atmospherics—“In trying to fully understand anyone, or anything, I’ve always wanted to get a feel for the physical and psychic landscape of the time: what kind of light was in the room or in the forest, what sounds and smells were in the air, what families and friends looked like, whether there were animals and children around, what were they eating, what was funny, what was sexy, what was sad—in other words, the ‘atmospherics’ of a situation.”
Ndeya, the imprint set up in partnership with Warp Records as a home for Jon’s music, was working with him in the past year on a print publication of this writing. It has been designed by Collin Fletcher who worked on some of the creative for Jon’s final studio album Seeing Through Sound (released in 2020), and edited with assistance from Jon’s longtime friend Robert Walsh. Fletcher comments: “It was an honor to work on this book for Jon, especially having received his input in the early stages of the design. As a longtime fan, I’ve seen the influence his art and experimentalism has had on both popular and progressive music culture. I’m endlessly grateful for the opportunity to help share his life and work through his own words with Atmospherics. It's an incredible insight into the mind of Fourth World music, for both longtime followers and those who are just now discovering Jon's music.
About Jon Hassell
A trumpet player, composer and musical conceptualist, Jon Hassell gathered a multitude of strands in the history of the avant-garde and the development of genuinely new forms of music. Having studied under Karlheinz Stockhausen in Cologne (alongside future members of the band Can), he played on the original recording of Terry Riley’s In C (1968), was part of La Monte Young’s Theatre Of Eternal Music and studied Kiranic singing with Pandit Pran Nath, all of which informed his own instrumental technique and treatment of the trumpet with various electronic effects. A growing interest in the indigenous music of other cultures led to the invention of his ‘Fourth World’ blend of different styles, first heard on albums such as Vernal Equinox and Earthquake Island in the late 1970s. These caught the ear of Brian Eno, who collaborated with Hassell on the Possible Musics album, and used many of the “Fourth World” ideas on his My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts album with David Byrne. Hassell has played on albums by artists including Talking Heads (the seminal Remain In Light), Peter Gabriel, David Sylvian and Björk, composed film soundtracks and contributed to theatre works. In the past few years he has been acknowledged as a key influence on a new wave of artists including Oneohtrix Point Never, Huerco S and Visible Cloaks. In 2017 his music was celebrated with a compilation album on Optimo Music, Miracle Steps: Music From The Fourth World 1983 - 2017. In 2018 he released his first album in nine years, the widely acclaimed Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One). In 2019, his classic debut album, 1977’s Vernal Equinox, was remastered from the original tapes and re-released, with an inner sleeve essay from Brian Eno about the impact the album (and forming a friendship with Jon) had on him. Last year he released the second album of new material in the pentimento series, Seeing Through Sound, bookended by two 8-minute tracks: the hypnotic groove of opener “Fearless”, and appropriately ending with the gorgeous tone float of “Timeless”.
Jon Hassell passed away at the age of 84 years on June 26th 2021. His final days were surrounded by family and loved ones who celebrated with him the lifetime of contributions he gave to this world – personally and professionally. It was his great joy to be able to compose and produce music until the end.
"Jon Hassell's ideas and techniques have so thoroughly permeated lo- and hi-brow electronic music that it's difficult to think what contemporary music would sound like without his influence. I repeat: there's categorically no doubt that Hassell has had as an important effect on contemporary music as Miles Davis or Jimi Hendrix or James Brown or the Velvet Underground."
"Go through his catalog and his trumpet becomes a phantasmagorical thing, something that transcends language, both unheard yet uncannily familiar. It's a canopy of tropical birds, a woman's plaint in a foreign tongue, a buzzing insect, a Bedouin horn calling across the dunes, the distant whistle of a train, Chet Baker on Venus."
“Jon Hassell is one of the most influential composers of the last 50 years. His invention of what he called ‘4th World Music’ opened the way for a fresh look at, and deeper respect for, the music of other cultures around the world. His recordings have had a big impact on other musicians, and, through them, have changed musical tastes dramatically. His unique intellectual contribution is also noteworthy: he is a tireless and articulate theorist as well as a great musician.”
About Collin Fletcher
Collin Fletcher is a multidisciplinary Graphic Designer based in Los Angeles, working in a wide variety of genres and styles within music, art, and fashion. Select clients and collaborators include Kali Malone, Yves Tumor, Actual Objects, Ghostly International, Kranky, and Warp Records among many others.