John Hassell Concert Group | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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John Hassell Concert Group


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Darkly romantic doggerel or mystical new-age droolings: attempts to describe the music of Jon Hassell usually end up in one of those categories. Indeed, it's hard to resist the lush electronic textures, the undercurrent rhythms and muezzin melodies, the airborne dream structures of his partly improvised compositions. But it is also possible to picture Hassell's art in terms of the experiences and research he has brought to it. That dense, enveloping wall of sound--the product of several synthesizers and Hassell's own electronically processed trumpet--has evolved from the famous "sound sculptures" Hassell created in the 1970s. Similarly, his use of the microtonal scale, which gives his music much of its exotically introspective quality, stems from Hassell's studies with Pandit Pran Nath, the vocal master of Indian classical music. Hassell has now simmered his life's work into a rich stew he calls "fourth world" music, in which he uses the most complex modern technology to evoke the most primal reactions--thus telescoping the bulk of human history into the span of one multilayered lost chord. Saturday, 8 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage; 929-5959.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Dennis Keeley.

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