Things That Inspire Me — Musician and visual artist Chassol breaks down the barriers between music and film.

Chassol is a Paris-based pianist, composer, arranger and musical director for Phoenix, Sebastien Tellier and Gotan Project among others.

He frequently collaborated with visual artists before going out on his own with his Ultrascores and Warm ReSynch video series in 2007-8.

In 2012, he travelled to Calcutta and Varanasi to record sound and video of local musicians and daily life, which he remixed, sampled and looped to create the stunning Indiamore video album (trailer above).

Here he shares his influences and inspirations with Huck.

Things That Inspire Me

Johan Van Der Keuken’s Documentaries

Almost like when you discover Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and understand that you can make films like that, films that are different in format….discovering JVDK’s documentary films was a major change in my life.

He maybe did 50 films all around the world and each of them is full of sense and has genius editing ideas, with beautiful photography at the same time. A few of my favourites are: Hermann Slobbe (Blind Kind 2), The Eye above the Well, Beppie, Amsterdam Village Global, Brass Unbound, but there are so many more!


Hermann Hesse

I didn’t discover his initiatic novels when I was a teenager, but rather when I was 25 (like Sinatra in the song…).

I started with Siddhartha and was really moved and touched by that writing, which put in beautiful and clear words all the feelings, emotions, ideas and invisible thoughts I was trying to express and organise in my mind: it helped me a lot.

Then I read Narcissus & Goldmund which became my bible for years because it was dealing with logic and flesh, becoming an artist to sculpt the face of the mother so the father would be proud….making your own way….having all the girls, travelling, and survival.

Then last year I finally read The Glassbeads Game (Le Jeu Des Perles de Verre) which became my new bible…

It is a bit lengthy to explain, but basically it is the imaginary biography of Josef Knecht, the Ludi Magister: the master of the Glassbeads game. Players start with a Bach Choral, continue with Aristotelician propositions, follow on an ancient Chinese verse, return to some polytonal Russian chords and try to finish with the best game ever.

Anyway, that book is wonderful and it has been my new bible for some years now.


Terry Riley

I love Terry Riley. He is one of the musicians who invented minimalism along with Steve Reich, I’d say. His very communist piece ‘in C” (1964) is considered as the beginning of minimalism in music which is 3 things: a clear tonal centre, a constant pulse and a gradual transformation process.

I love him and he inspires me, because I feel very close to what he is saying in pieces like “Descending Moonshine Dervishes” for instance, where the multiple keyboard lines cross themselves like graphic lines in a strong river whose pulse never stops….

Sir Riley emailed me a few years ago after listening to my first album “x-pianos” released on Tricatel – Tricatel’s boss Bertrand Burgalat had given my CD to a friend, Jean-Pierre Muller, who was working with Terry at the time.

I had just listened to him the day before I received his email, and his words were like some kind of reward to me…after all those years, I had someone I admire telling me stuff like he was “really really moved by that record”….I was so happy. So now we have a correspondence, and I feel blessed.


Ms Subbulakshmi – Kashu Viswanatham

I have been listening to this devotional song everyday since July 2012. It is sung by Madurai Subbulakshmi and her daughter Radha Viswanathan in perfect unison.

The economy and the deepness of the music is striking: a tempura playing the role of the bass, meaning that we are taking a bath of that only bass note….and those two perfect voices describing such tensed and wicked and beyond beautiful melodic lines all that in order to celebrate God.

Anyway, this music is the description of my track “2Lines” in the introduction of Indiamore and is so important to me.

If I could be this music instead of me, I would trade.

Find out more about Chassol.