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Influential avant-garde composer Jon Hassell dies, aged 84

Carl Craig, Brian Eno and Moritz von Oswald collaborator, and the man who coined the "fourth world" musical aesthetic 

The influential American avant-garde composer Jon Hassell has died, aged 84.

The musical icon's family released a statement on 27th June via Facebook and Twitter confirming the news.

"Our beloved Jon M. Hassell - iconic trumpet player, author, and composer - has passed away at the age of 84 years on June 26th 2021.  After a little more than a year of fighting through health complications, Jon died peacefully in the early morning hours of natural causes," the statement reads. "His final days were surrounded by family and loved ones who celebrated with him the lifetime of contributions he gave to this world — personally and professionally."


Releasing his debut album 'Vernal Equinox' in 1978, during his career Hassell collaborated with a number of famous artists, including Brian Eno, who would go on to pen a 2007 essay for the Guardian, 'The Debt I Owe To Jon Hassell'. Other Hassell projects featured names such as Ani DiFranco, Moritz von Oswald, Carl Craig, and Techno Animal. Hassell also worked with another avant-garde master, Harold Budd, who passed away aged 84 in December 2020. 

Despite many major achievements, Hassell's biggest legacy will arguably be the creation of a so-called "fourth world" musical aesthetic, which focused on looking beyond geographical and genre boundaries. He counted synth hero Robert Moog as a friend and at one point learned raga trumpet under the tutelage of Indian classical singer Pandit Pran Nath.