jon hassell | atmospherics | earthquake island
Jon Hassell atmospherics : stories in words and pictures

1977 | 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1983 | 1986 | 1987 | 1989 | 1990 | 1994 | 1997 | 1999 | 2005

earthquake island

I | II 

WHILE finishing up Vernal Equinox in the studio in New York, I began some tracks toward a new record in 1977. Blessedly, my instincts led me to search for something beyond the downtown "new music" menu of (what was later to be called) "minimalism" and Dada moves. In comparison with the sparks given off when I saw Miles, the word "bloodless" came to mind when contemplating a life in the even eighth-note stalag so—like a college professor who leaves his wife for a stripper—I took the leap and assembled musicians like Nana Vasçoncelos and Dom Um Romao (percussion with Milton Nascimento, Weather Report) and Badal Roy (later with Miles), Miroslav Vitous (bass with Weather Report) and the rest of the talented, decidedly non-minimal gang in the color-drenched album picture by Francis Ing and Daniela Morera of Italian Vogue. By putting my developing raga thing in the same space with the Afro-Brazilian percussion and guitars, spiced with the Indian tabla, by allowing a bit of my native experimentalism to show up in looping, downspeeding tape, and using the harmonizer on the trumpet (a first), I found myself in a no-man's-land between my native world of "experimental music" and jazz precepts. This was the musical echo of the choices I was making in my personal life, gradually pecking my way out of the shell of an over-intellectualized art music and saying yes to what actually turned me on. Tomato Records, which was starting up in New York with an eclectic roster of Philip Glass, John Lee Hooker and such, heard the partially-completed tracks, signed me up and gave me an advance to do more tracking at Electric Lady, the old Jimi Hendrix studio in the Village, and final mixing at the Power Station. >>