Sunday, 26 April 2015

Jon Hassell

Variations on a theme... After dusting off Eno's Neroli on Friday, I’m listening to his collaborator Jon Hassell and his 1977 debut album Vernal Equinox. The timing of Hassell’s album seems appropriate, the album emerged during Miles Davis’ lost years, as if to fill the void left by the trumpeter's departure. I wonder what Miles thought of this record ? Hassell was most definitely ploughing similar ground with his own music – his heavily processed trumpet sounds are something Miles was working towards with albums like On the Corner and Get Up With It, although Hassell’s music is more minimalist and spacey in comparison, with instruments and environmental sounds given lots of room to breathe. I very much like Hassell’s theory of Fourth World Music - the reshaping of ethnic music and instruments thru modern recording technology. Listening to Vernal Equinox I see visions of tall, clean skyscrapers rising harmoniously from a rainforest, or in some of the more dreamier passages, I can imagine William Burroughs trekking thru the Amazon in search of ingredients to make the psychedelic concoction yage. It’s a shame that Vernal Equinox is currently out-of-print, but I’m hoping a re-issue might be on the cards at some point considering we've had recent re-issues of Fourth World Vol. 1 - Possible Musics and City: Works Of Fiction. In the meantime, the album’s 22min title track and centre piece can be heard here

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