Stories in Words and Pictures
Jon Hassell passed away at the age of 84 on 26 June 2021, leaving behind a significant legacy of highly influential music and art created over his lifetime. Beyond the numerous recording sessions and live concert performances that Jon participated in, he also wrote a number of diary-like vignettes for the various iterations of his website, which he dubbed Atmospherics – “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.”
Ndeya, the imprint set up in partnership with Warp Records as a home for Jon’s music, was working with him in the past year on a print publication of this writing. It has been designed by Collin Fletcher who worked on some of the creative for Jon’s final studio album Seeing Through Sound (released in 2020), and edited with assistance from Jon’s lifelong friend Robert Walsh. Atmospherics includes essays and notes about the albums Vernal Equinox, Earthquake Island, Possible Musics, Dream Theory In Malaya, Aka-Dabari-Java, City: Works Of Fiction, Fascinoma, Maarifa Street and Listening To Pictures.
A special first edition, presented as a 68 page 5 x 8” perfect bound volume on recycled paper stock throughout, is now available via Bleep, with all profits going to the gofundme set-up by friends and family to help pay for Jon’s medical care in the final twelve months of his life. Now that Jon is sadly no longer with us, his family intends to use the funds to allow the tremendous personal archive of his music, much unreleased, to be preserved and shared with the world. They also hope to provide philanthropic gifts of scholarship and contributions to issues close to Jon’s heart, such as supporting the working rights of musicians.
There is an intention is to publish a second, more widely-distributed edition of Atmospherics in the future if demand is there. Ndeya was also working with Jon on a number of projects in recent years to see some of his unreleased and out-of-print music released. They are committed to seeing that work through, in partnership with Jon’s family, and look forward to celebrating the work of this unique and uncompromising artist for many years to come.
Dublab, the Los Angeles radio station that showcased a lot of Jon’s work over the years, is currently putting together a broadcast tribute to Jon’s life featuring many of his collaborators and musical associates, intended to go out on air in September and be archived online thereafter.