All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Extended Analysis

580

Jon Hassell: Jon Hassell: Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street

By

Sign in to view read count
Jon Hassell
Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street
ECM Records
2009



Coinciding with his first tour of the States in over twenty years, trumpet player and self-described Fourth World musician Jon Hassell returns to ECM for his first release on the label since Power Spot (1985). With Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street, a title taken from a 13th century poem, Hassell continues his distinctive musical pursuits in the form of "a continuous piece, almost symphonic, with a cinematic construction."



This approach is perfect for Hassell, whose slowly developing sound worlds are best when given time to fully expand. The cinematic stance spoken of is a further display of Hassell's working methods; even before his collaborations with Brian Eno on Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Musics (EG, 1980) and Fourth World Vol. 2: Dream Theory in Malaya (EG, 1981), Hassell had been combining musical elements from around the globe in a montage-like structure. Further, in Hassell's words, "the music presented here is a montage of the last years of concerts and the changing cast of the group I call Maarifa Street...who have contributed their personalities the way an actor does to a film."



The album opens with "Aurora," whose drifting seas of sampled loops are overlaid with rich acoustic splashes that ebb about in warm sonic waters. Hassell's trumpet retains the piece's lofty nature as his horn slips zephyr-like across the work. "Time and Place" grounds the previous piece a bit as Peter Freeman's bass provides a sparse funk groove. Kheir-Eddine M'Kachiche's violin softly dribbles about beneath Hassell's expansive interjections.



"Abu Gil" represents the longest work on the date, taking its 13 minutes to pursue minimal explorations of subtly Arabic themes, interspersed by Freeman's quietly intense bass pulse. M'Kachiche again sprawls violin tones about, while Eivind Aarset's guitar moves lightly across the whole. Helge Norbakken's subtle but distinctive drum work gives an internal momentum without driving the piece outright, before the work moves toward more overtly grooving terrain.



"Last Night the Moon Came" brings to mind Hassell's ambient explorations with Eno, as Rick Cox and Thomas Newman's strings create a softly etched chordal framework for the group to lay themselves across. The result is a swaying piece whose moments are wrought with intensity and fragile beauty.



Interspersed toward the middle of the album are "Clairvoyance" and "Scintilla," both brief explorations that serve as interludes to the second half of the album. "Courtrais," which divides the two, displays a noir-like attitude with skittering sampled rhythms and a near-droning moody atmosphere. If this is act two it serves its role well, creating a dark moment of tension for the third act to resolve.



"Northline" again features the steady bass work of Freeman, as Jan Bang's sampling continues to treat the acoustics with great respect while enriching the sonic environment. The slow and steady "Blue Period," the most overtly relaxed work on the disc, stretches out softly from its core. Steve Shehan's percussion lulls about as Aarset's guitar loop is a subtle but continued presence.



The closing "Light on Water" begins where the "Blue Period" left off. When Freeman's groove sets itself up beneath Norbakken's treated drums though, a dub-like structure emerges that careens along, closing the disc in a satisfying and eased manner.



As Hassell continues his Fourth World explorations, he continues to mesh approaches while remaining distinct in his sound. This album represents yet another success in his impressive discography. Co-producer Manfred Eicher, whose instantly recognizable sound fits wonderfully into Hassell's aesthetic, is yet another bonus. If this group is any indication, Hassell's 2009 tour should prove a memorable one.




Tracks: Aurora; Time and Place; Abu Gil; Last Night the Moon Came; Clairvoyance; Courtrais; Scintilla; Northline; Blue Period; Light on Water.



Personnel: Jon Hassell: trumpet (1-4, 6, 8-10), keyboard (3, 6); Peter Freeman: bass (1-6, 8-10), percussion (2), guitar (7), samples (9); Jan Bang: live sampling; Rick Cox: guitar (1, 2, 4, 7, 9), strings (4); Jamie Muhoberac: keyboard (1, 2, 4, 9), drums (4, 9); Kheir Eddine M'Kacich: violin (2-5, 7); Pete Lockett: drums (2); Eivind Aarset: guitar (3, 8-10); Helge Norbakken: drums (3, 8, 10); Thomas Newman: strings (4); Dino J. A. Deane: live sampling (6, 7); Steve Shehan: percussion (6, 9).


Track Listing: Aurora; Time and Place; Abu Gil; Last Night the Moon Came; Clairvoyance; Courtrais; Scintilla; Northline; Blue Period; Light on Water.

Personnel: Jon Hassell: trumpet, keyboard (1-4, 6, 8-10); Peter Freeman: bass, laptop; Jan Bang: live sampling; Dino J.A. Deane: live sampling (6-7); Jamie Muhoberac: keyboard, laptop (1-2, 4, 9); Rick Cox: guitar, loops, strings (1-2, 4, 7, 9); Thomas Newman: strings (4); Kheir-Eddine M'Kachiche: violin (2-5, 7); Eivind Aarset: guitar (8-10); Helge Norbakken: drums (3, 8, 10); Pete Lockett: drums (2); Steve Shehan: percussion (6, 9).

Title: Jon Hassell: Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: ECM Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981 Extended Analysis
Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981
by Doug Collette
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Love, Gloom, Cash, Love Extended Analysis
Love, Gloom, Cash, Love
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Motel Shot: Expanded Edition Extended Analysis
Motel Shot: Expanded Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: July 16, 2017
Read Long Strange Trip: The Untold Story of the Grateful Dead Motion Picture Soundtrack Extended Analysis
Long Strange Trip: The Untold Story of the Grateful Dead...
by Doug Collette
Published: July 14, 2017
Read Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe  Edition Extended Analysis
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th...
by Doug Collette
Published: May 27, 2017
Read Singles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Deluxe Edition Extended Analysis
Singles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: May 20, 2017
Read "Love, Gloom, Cash, Love" Extended Analysis Love, Gloom, Cash, Love
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981" Extended Analysis Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981
by Doug Collette
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "Motel Shot: Expanded Edition" Extended Analysis Motel Shot: Expanded Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "Troy Dostert's Best Releases of 2017" Best of / Year End Troy Dostert's Best Releases of 2017
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 16, 2017
Read "2017 Detroit Jazz Festival" In Pictures 2017 Detroit Jazz Festival
by Richard Conde
Published: October 9, 2017
Read "Mike Zito at the Iridium" Live Reviews Mike Zito at the Iridium
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "Noirish" Mixcloud Noirish
by Ludovico Granvassu
Published: February 11, 2018
Read "Craig Taborn and his multiple motion" Interviews Craig Taborn and his multiple motion
by Giuseppe Segala
Published: August 7, 2017
Read "Five on Cellar Live" Bailey's Bundles Five on Cellar Live
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 23, 2017