Eno/Hassell – Fourth World, Vol.1: Possible Musics
Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics is an album by Brian Eno and Jon Hassell, released in 1980.
Fourth World” is a term used by trumpeter Jon Hassell to describe a style of music employing modern technological treatments and influenced by various cultures and eras. He wanted the music in this album to be “future primitive”, or “a coffee-coloured classical music”.
Hassell had studied Indian classical music with singer Pandit Pran Nath, and later applied the vocal techniques to his trumpet playing. Together with Eno, he melded the sounds from his instrument with digital delay, echo, and electronic effects to produce a unique blend of ambient and world music.
Hassell’s trumpet is the dominant instrument on the whole album, yet, it almost never sounds like one. In “Chemistry” it possesses the quality of a flute; very soft and breathy. At the same time it has an electronic, “treated” edge and “warbles” on the higher notes. A simple, slide bass motif backed by low congas forms the background. “Delta Rain Dream” is similar, minus the bass, and the congas have a more Burundi feel to them, albeit slow and dreamy.
AMG review: Largely thought of merely as a mostly stillborn offshoot of Brian Eno’s larger ambient music series, the Fourth World series of albums, in collaboration with trumpeter Jon Hassell, is actually an entirely separate beast. Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics starts off from the same basic idea as Hassell’s previous solo albums, like Earthquake Island and Vernal Equinox: a blend of avant-garde composition, jazz soloing, and African and Middle Eastern rhythmic forms. This album adds only Eno’s characteristic production touches, like the reversed echo that adds a ghostly, unreal edge to Hassell’s trumpet solos on the side-long “Charm (Over Burundi Cloud).” The rest of the album, including the African hand drummers on the hypnotic “Delta Rain Dream” and the swirling, almost speech-like solos of “Griot,” is pure Hassell. Although this album was never a chart hit and has become surprisingly underappreciated over the years, its influence on what has since become known as tribal techno is incalculable, as has its influence on those art rockers who have picked up a world music vibe. Peter Gabriel in particular owes a fair chunk of his royalty checks from Security onward to Jon Hassell
Eno/Hassell – Fourth World, Vol.1: Possible Musics Tracklist
- Delta Rain Dream
- Griot (Over Contagious Magic)
- Rising Thermal 14° 16′ N; 32° 28′ E
- Charm (Over Burundi Cloud)
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