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Power Spots: 13 Artists On The Inspiration Of Jon Hassell
Patrick Clarke , September 16th, 2020 10:26

From Katie Gately to Wacław Zimpel, Abul Mogard to Sarah Davachi, we asked 13 of our favourite musicians to pick a work by the great Jon Hassell, and to tell us what it means to them


Hauschka on ‘Empire iii’ from Aka/Darbari/Java: Magic Realism (1983)

The first time I heard Jon Hassell’s music it felt really familiar to me because it reflected the music I prefer. It has elements that are independent like the sounds of everyday life, but then the spaces are filled with sounds triggering memories and inspiration.

‘Empire iii’ is a piece that has beautiful strange brass chords on a carpet of drums like you’re getting into a ritual with a weird protagonist, like a weird dance, and then at the same time it brings in some modernity with the chords shifting between harmony and dissonance and filled with an airy sound. Jon Hassell’s music, and especially ‘Empire iii’, lets me lose track of time and transfers me into a different surrounding straight away.

I also like that in Jon Hassell’s music there’s an element of spontaneous intuition, combined with a clear statement. it is relaxed, loose and at the same time crystal clear, which is something that is very hard to achieve. When you listen to ‘Empire iii’ you find that just when it’s resonating with you, then it’s over, just in the moment where you start to make yourself comfortable and start living in the sound world. That is the best sign that music can make you drift. Jon Hassell is a wonderful, mind changing musician.

Picture: Carsten Sander