All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Jon Hassell: Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Musics

Nenad Georgievski By

Sign in to view read count
Some records can be easily identified and defined by the time and the place of their creation, but Jon Hassell's records appear to have a different and opposite effect. His record Possible Musics doesn't give the impression of coming from a certain place, but rather from many places. And this collage approach where he mixed and melded different elements and sounds, belonging to different continents and traditions, into a pan-ethnic sound, with the technology of the first world was named "Fourth World Music," which is the subtitle of this record. After years of working and studying with some of the greatest names belonging to the experimental traditions of the 20th century (composers Stockhausen, Terry Reilly, La Monte Young and singer Prandith Pran Nath) by 1977 he wanted to start a recording career with a sound that that was "so vertically integrated that you were not able to pick out a single element as being from a particular country or musical genre."

Impressed by Hassell's approach to music making, ideas, the record he made in the late '70s Vernal Equinox (Lovely Music, 1978), producer Brian Eno, at the time when he lived in New York, became friends with him and during a highly productive period, he produced Possible Musics, an album which introduced Hassell's breathy, digitally altered trumpet lines to the world. His almost vocal style on the trumpet is abetted by Eno's subtle sounds and sound textures which represent a blend of African, Asian and Western forms. Hassell's distinct sounds and slow building melds with deep-pulsing grooves and sounds. These intriguing sounds merge with the sounds of the trumpet like waves and a wind, and the dark undercurrents suggest a discovery of a distant new world, or a vision of merging the ancient and the new. Hassell, who saw his music as a platform where new social experiments could be conducted and displayed, envisioned a "coffee colored world" where one of the main features was integration and celebration of difference, and he tried to make that happen in his music.

Even now, from this time distance, this music stands as distinct as when it was first released, existing in its own time- space continuum that still intrigues and inspires. It was during this time that the idea of colliding different musical contexts and philosophies in order to create other new worlds out of these collisions. It was Hassell's ideas that inspired the sounds and the ideas behind the next records that Eno was involved in with David Byrne, (most notably the landmark My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (Nonesuch, 1981)), but sadly without his involvement. But the influence of Hassell's ideas and sounds progressed from this place and has significantly influenced various other artists starting from singers David Sylvian and Peter Gabriel to other generations of artists who went to create their own ethno- rhythmic geographies like trumpeters Arve Henriksen and Nils Petter Molvaer.

What this reissue lacks is any outtakes, alternate takes, demos or any other bonus material. It features an insightful interview inside the record sleeves with Hassell and also comes with a CD of the original material. With Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Musics Hassell tore up all previous existing musical maps and created a dreamlike world filled with brilliantly conceived sound sculptures and plenty of dirt and mud.

Track Listing: "Chemistry; Delta Rain Dream; Griot (Over 'Contagious Magic'); Ba- Benzélé; Rising Thermal 14° 16' N; 32° 28' E; Charm (Over 'Burundi Cloud').

Personnel: Jon Hassell: trumpet, Prophet 5 touches on "Delta Rain Dream", "Aular" loop on "Rising Thermal", Arp loops on "Charm"; Brian Eno: background cloud guitars on "Delta Rain Dream", Prophet 5 "Starlight" background on "Ba-Benzélé", high altitude Prophet on "Rising Thermal", rare MiniMoog & treatments on "Charm"; Percy Jones: bass on "Chemistry"; Naná Vasconçelos: ghatam, congas, loop drum; Aïyb Dieng: ghatam, congas; Michael Brook: bass on "Griot"; Paul Fitzgerald: electronics on "Griot"; Gordon Philips: handclaps on "Griot"; Andrew Timar: handclaps on "Griot"; Tina Pearson: handclaps on "Griot"; Jerome Harris: bass on "Ba-Benzélé"; Night Creatures of Altamira on "Rising Thermal"

Title: Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Musics | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Glitterbeat


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read All Melody CD/LP/Track Review
All Melody
by Phil Barnes
Published: March 23, 2018
Read The Future is Female CD/LP/Track Review
The Future is Female
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Hunters & Scavengers CD/LP/Track Review
Hunters & Scavengers
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow CD/LP/Track Review
Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Transatlantic CD/LP/Track Review
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 22, 2018
Read "All the Rivers – Live at Panteão Nacional" CD/LP/Track Review All the Rivers – Live at Panteão Nacional
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 8, 2018
Read "The Groove Cubed" CD/LP/Track Review The Groove Cubed
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 29, 2017
Read "Schlitten" CD/LP/Track Review Schlitten
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 24, 2017
Read "Putting Off Death" CD/LP/Track Review Putting Off Death
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Some Great Songs Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Some Great Songs Vol. 2
by Budd Kopman
Published: April 3, 2017
Read "Food Foragers" CD/LP/Track Review Food Foragers
by Don Phipps
Published: March 13, 2018