HAVING HAD AN early presence on a long-defunct but innovative website called​ hyperfuzzy (1994), and thereafter having passed through the phase in which I thought that the only distinction left was to not have a website, the pleasure I'm having in discovering the possibilities of this hybrid form—some blend of a written autobiography and a video documentary—makes me wish I hadn't waited so long.

The dates that you see correspond to the release date of each of my major recordings—the magnetic core of two or three years' worth of living. Of course, a lot happened before the first record and a lot has happened since the last one and I intend to cover that later in some kind of After and Before sections.

In trying to fully understand anyone, or anything, I've always wanted to get a feel for the physical and psychic landscape of the time: what kind of light was in the room or in the forest, what sounds and smells were in the air, what families and friends looked like, whether there were animals and children around, what were they eating, what was funny, what was sexy, what was sad—in other words, the "atmospherics" of a situation.

Wanting to escape the usual dry, self-promotion of these things (websites), I've opted for some wet self-promotion, hoping that a casual visitor might find the atmospherics intriguing enough to want to hear a fuller version of the music in their light. Eventually, I intend to offer interesting new CDs in special editions which will represent a "director's cut" of heard and unheard tracks, arranged unstrictly according to my own taste, free from the distorting lens of middlemen.

What a great chance to edit my life. Whatever other features may show up later, these highly personal narratives will most probably remain the core of the site. Gradually, I'm pushing myself away from the internal memo that, "I'm doing a website" toward, "I'm making a piece for the internet."

If I had waited for the "Atmospherics" to be completed before opening this site, too many more months would have passed. Let's call what we have now, up through 1983, "The Early Years," ending with Aka-Darbari-Java/Magic Realism. It's not a bad place to pause right now since it does actually represent the first stage of "Fourth World." And a jump forward to 2005 and Maarifa Street/Magic Realism 2 underlines—as the titles suggest—many connections to one another. For the yet-to-be-done Atmospherics entries, my plan is to use them as "in-boxes," dropping in random entries of text, pictures and sound along the way to store things that will eventually be woven into a narrative.

jon hassell


A childhood in Memphis, a classical conservatory education, composition and electronic music study with Stockhausen in Cologne; a passage through the New York minimalist sphere with Terry Riley, Reich, Glass; having a window opened onto the world's music and a new approach to the trumpet via vocal master Pandit Pran Nath; a questioning and deconstruction of the European dichotomy between classical and popular, sacred and sensual; a pioneer of digital transformation and sampling - all of this led to Fourth World - the unique blend which Jon has described as "worldly music" to underline a more subtle equation at work and to discourage the simplistic labeling of "world," "jazz," "classical," "minimal," or "ambient."

A childhood in Memphis, a classical conservatory education, composition and electronic music study with Stockhausen in Cologne; a passage through the New York minimalist sphere with Terry Riley, Reich, Glass; having a window opened onto the world's music and a new approach to the trumpet via vocal master Pandit Pran Nath; a questioning and deconstruction of the European dichotomy between classical and popular, sacred and sensual; a pioneer of digital transformation and sampling—all of this led to Fourth World—the unique blend which Jon has described as "worldly music" to underline a more subtle equation at work and discourage the simplistic labeling of "world," "jazz," "classical," "minimal," or "ambient."

All text, images and sound not otherwise attributed are protected by copyright © 2017 Nyen Music.
All paintings by Mati Klarwein © 2017 Klarwein-Archives. Used by permission of the Klarwein family.

A childhood in Memphis, a classical conservatory education, composition and electronic music study with Stockhausen in Cologne; a passage through the New York minimalist sphere with Terry Riley, Reich, Glass; having a window opened onto the world's music and a new approach to the trumpet via vocal master Pandit Pran Nath; a questioning and deconstruction of the European dichotomy between classical and popular, sacred and sensual; a pioneer of digital transformation and sampling—all of this led to Fourth World—the unique blend which Jon has described as "worldly music" to underline a more subtle equation at work and discourage the simplistic labeling of "world," "jazz," "classical," "minimal," or "ambient."