When speaking of his musical journey — a journey that that spans more than five decades — Jon Hassell recently noted: “without overstating it too much I don’t know who else has had the kind of experience that I’ve had in various kinds of music.” It is very hard to argue with his self- estimation. Hassell’s soundworlds have been varied and bold and their influence on contemporary musics, discernable and ongoing.
A childhood in Memphis; a classical conservatory education studying the trumpet; composition and electronic music study with Stockhausen in Cologne; a passage through the New York minimalist sphere with Terry Riley, Lamonte Young and Phillip Glass; a singular and radicalized approach to the trumpet developed after a mentorship with the Indian vocal master Pandit Pran Nath; collaborative excursions with Eno, The Talking Heads, Peter Gabriel, David Sylvian, Bjork and Ry Cooder; a continuous questioning of the dichotomies between North and South, sacred and sensual, primitive and futurist.
These cross-pollinating influences and pan-cultural musical educations led Hassell to seek sonic solutions outside of the didactics of western music. The result of this search was the gradual development of musical concepts and gestures that he grouped under the umbrella theory: “Fourth World.” In a 1997 interview he describes the genesis of these ideas:
“I wanted the mental and geographical landscapes to be more indeterminate- not Indonesia, not Africa, not this or that…something that could have existed if things were in an imaginary culture, growing up in an imaginary place with this imaginary music…I called it ‘coffee-colored classical music of the future’…What would music be like if ‘classic’ had not been defined as what happened in Central Europe two hundred years ago. What if the world knew Javanese music and Pygmy music and A....... więcej