Jon Hassell & Brian Eno - Fourth World Music Volume I: Possible Musics LP+CD


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Label: Glitterbeat

Our Review:

Reissued and remastered for the first time on vinyl since its initial 1980 release, and previously long out of print on cd too, this beautiful collaboration between minimalist composer / experimental trumpeter Jon Hassell and ambient music pioneer Brian Eno has never sounded better! Such a gorgeous classic. Made between Eno's production work on Larajji's Ambient 3: Days of Radiance and the David Byrne collaboration, My Life In The Bush of Ghosts, Possible Musics was an early investigation into world music influences tempered through modern, Western studio techniques (synth treatments, tape delay, echo effects) resulting in a music of a borderless hybrid world of geographical intrigue. It greatly influenced the future-primitive recordings of My Life In The Bush of Ghosts made only ten days after the Fourth World sessions finished, though really they are different sides of the same coin.

Hassell, studied under Pandit Pran Nath and learned to transcribe Indian classical vocal techniques to the sound of the trumpet. Through various effects, he is able to conjure a vast array of sounds and textures, animalistic and mystical, sometimes flute-ish and even didgeridoo-ish. It never once sounds like a trumpet. There are definitely influences of Aboriginal, African, island and tribal music, but the aim feels more topographical than ethnological. The slow and deep attention to detail like the timbre of strings, the deep pulse of water drums and the loping liquid rhythms suggest big expanses of weather and terrain, movement and landscape. Hassell's trumpet treatments processed through Frippertronic-like tape loops and reverse echo effects are like deep rain clouds slowly moving across sparse tundra but seen and heard at a far distance. And indeed the whole album has this remote field recording quality like one is witness to something far-off, slightly foreboding, perhaps mystical, but also magnetic and alien, especially felt on the final side-long track "Charm (Over 'Burundi Cloud')". One of our favorites of the whole Eno/Ambient catalog!! Vinyl version comes with a copy of the cd.