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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


Penelope Trappes on ‘Blues Nile’ from Vernal Equinox (1977)

Having thoroughly immersed myself in Jon Hassell’s discography for the last few weeks, I have followed my instincts to land on the track ‘Blues Nile’. Released on his first album, Vernal Equinox, it is a stand-out track that resonates personally on an exceptionally deep level. That’s not to say that I don’t connect with his other works as I was also drawn to his most recent track ‘Fearless’ with its hypnotic pacing and currency, but ‘Blues Nile’ haunted me with vivid memories of when I lived in The Persian Gulf for a year in the 90s and made a pilgrimage to Cairo.

The moment I first laid eyes on the River Nile, standing on the majestic Qasr El-Nil Bridge, I was overcome with the sense of its enormity and the potency of its extraordinary energy. I was surrounded by chaotic traffic, dust and date palms and I could feel the surge of the African continent's history flowing below. My mind grappled with attempts to comprehend the enormity of the history of this fertile zone. The way the desert shimmies up as close as possible to the artery of Africa - gold, green, dark blue. Listening to ‘Blues Nile’, I could close my eyes and be transported. Every call on Jon’s horn whisks me through these currents of time. Each phrase is a meditative paean calling out to the desert sun to start the day, all the while thanking the river gods. The swirling drones move like the currents of the great river. Yet buried in each call there is a deep sense of sadness, a crying out to all of humanity to grow, to flow, to remember. ‘Blues Nile’ is a distant dream, pure escapism.