jon hassell | atmospherics: possible musics
Jon Hassell atmospherics : stories in words and pictures

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

possible musics

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My ongoing affection for the joyously polyphonic music of the Pygmies shows up in the call-and-response form of 'Ba-Benzélé'. Brian had great musical intuition and was brilliant at focusing attention on things which a "virtuoso" mindset would tend to overlook (e.g., the simple melody of 'Delta Rain Dream'). There was always mutual learning going on between us, a healthy creative tension and ultimately, a place of congruence between his artschool, non-musician approach and my musicianly, composer-virtuoso view (probably a somewhat defensive one, since I'd spent lots of years getting to where I was and just who was this "amateur" who couldn't read music!). However, if I had been less naive I could have foreseen that—with "Eno is God" grafitti sprouting all over the NYC subways that summer—my strategy to offer him co-billing on the LP jacket for sales reasons would lead to years of trying to explain how my sound was already in place before Eno. It's not that some form of co-billing wasn't deserved, it's just that my obscure "downtown" reputation guaranteed me a position in the shadow of his high-pop profile and the mood of pop critics of the time was to assume that he was the creator of all. Anyway, the record got lots of attention (London Times, Rolling Stone, Vogue, Interview, Village Voice), including the "Ten Best Albums of 1980" list of the New York Times. In Europe, Jean François Bizot, editor of the influential French magazine, Actuel, got wind of the ferment and came up with a double page foldout cover of Eno and Byrne and Hassell shot by Annie Liebovitz. >>