Jon Hassell

city: works of fiction

City: Works of Fiction

All Saints/Hannibal/Ryko HNCD 1483

1990 • 55:57


1  Voiceprint (Blind from the Facts)

(Hassell/Rona) 5:46

2  Pagan (Hassell) 6:26

3  Mombasa (Hassell/Rudolph) 8:03

4  Tikal (Arreguin/Hassell) 3:06

5  In the City of Red Dust (Hassell) 5:37

6  Rain (Hassell) 6:28

7  Ba-Ya D (Hassell) 6:02

8  Warriors (Hassell) 9:22

9  Out of Adedara (Hassell) 5:07


Jon Hassell—trumpet, keyboards

Gregg Arreguin—guitar

Jeff Rona—keyboards, sampled percussion

Adam Rudolph—acoustic and sampled percussion

Daniel Schwartz—bass


Produced by Jon Hassell


album notes

Spirit: not only in the forest but in the carwash, too. Exotic culture forms highlight pop culture forms and vice-versa...

"...and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."—T.S. Eliot

Expanding sonic menu made possible by continuing inquiry into what's the baby and what's the bathwater, i.e., relationship of surface features (recognizable to most) to structural sophistication (recognizable by few).

" change our way of reading (listening), to be attuned simultaneously to flashing surfaces and structural intricacies ... both televisual and poetic, and to alter consciousness toward a future mode of perception."—Mark Edmundson

Spontaneous combustion of rap, hip-hop as urban folkloric forms. "Folkloric" in the sense that it arises out of sentiments and materials at hand.

Compare African tribal style: dance, poetic storytelling (in-jokes, ironic boasting mixed with traditional wisdom), local instruments. Hip-hop style: same, except that local instruments are not skin and wood but samplers and turntables and drum machines with TV tempos.

Funny idea: that parts of CITY are like "classical" hip-hop ...What rappers might tune into as an exotic extension of their vocabulary.

Desire to reinvent, redefine possibilities of Fourth World ...To poke air holes in the enclosing bubble of the inevitable banalization and orthodoxy of the "World Music" idea.

Nigerian writer Ben Okri's "Brave New Africa" images: City of Red Dust... bizarre ailments... conmen selling Power Drug... A continent dreamed up by Bosch and Borges.

The polyglot L.A. of the near future in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner.

Jean Baudrillard: America as "the primitive society of the future."

Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities: A poetic fantasy conjugation (past, present, future) of "city". "And from the mixture of those two cities a third emerged, which might be called San Francisco ... and which might blossom as capital of the Pacific a millennium hence, after the long siege of three hundred years that would lead the races of the yellow and the black and the red to fuse with the surviving descendants of the whites in an empire more vast than the Great Khan's."

Fellini's "Reggiolo": a custom designed film town ...It could be Bombay, Beirut, Brasilia."

Surrealists' idea: "Odd things meet in full light." (Or: ordinary things in odd light?) "Surrealist music".

Rushdie's image of a tropicalized London: "... institution of a national siesta... vivid and expansive patterns of behaviour among the populace, higher-quality popular music, new birds in the trees... improved street life, outrageously colored flowers (magenta, vermilion, neon green), spider monkeys in the oaks... hotwater bottles banished forever, replaced in the foetid nights by the making of slow and odorous love... friends dropping in on one another without making appointments, closure of old folks' homes, emphasis on the extended family..."

jon hassell

atmospherics: stories in words and pictures


 n e w s 

 b i o g r a p h y 

 p r e s s 

 a r t i c l e s 

 d i s c o g r a p h y 

 c o n c e r t s 

 s t a g e 

 l i n k s 

Cover design: Wordsalad and Jon Hassell


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Jon Hassell - City: Works of Fiction