Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Jon Hassell ‎– Dream Theory In Malaya / Fourth World Volume Two (1981)

Style: Experimental, Ambient
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Editions EG, Glitterbeat, Virgin Japan

A1.   Chor Moiré
A2.   Courage
A3.   Dream Theory
A4.   Datu Bintung At Jelong
B1.   Malay
B2.   These Times...
B3.   Gift Of Fire

Composed By – Jon Hassell
Recorded By – Andrew Timar
Trumpet – Jon Hassell
Producer – Jon Hassell
Three decades and more after the last vinyl reissue of trumpeter Jon Hassell's landmark album, back in 1987, Britain's Glitterbeat label has released a remastered edition of the LP, which is also available on CD. The new edition includes a previously unreleased three-minute bonus track from the recording sessions.  
Dream Theory In Malaya, first released in 1981, arguably ranks as the most perfect realisation ever of fourth-world music, the acoustic-electronic blend of minimalism, jazz, drone, ambient and traditional African and Asian instruments and harmolodic signatures which Hassell unveiled on his debut album, Vernal Equinox, in 1978. The style was born out of an encounter Hassell had six years earlier with the Indian singer Pandit Pran Nath, while on a European tour with drone/minimalist pioneer LaMonte Young. Nath's microtonal style made a profound impression on Hassell, who immediately began developing his uniquely transcultural approach to the trumpet—raga-like, microtone-inflected, half sung and half blown, breathy and allusive.  
The description "fourth world" was born in 1980, as part of the title of Hassell's first collaboration with Brian Eno, Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Musics. Hassell and Eno were a studio partnership made in heaven and Possible Musics is a work of flawless beauty. The atmosphere owes something to the studio techniques previously employed on Eno's Ambient 1 (Music For Airports), but more to the transculturalism of Vernal Equinox. Even the best partnerships, however, can run into difficulties...  
Possible Musics was a succès d'estime for which most of the acclaim accrued to Eno rather than its lesser-known primary creator. As Eno embarked on high-profile fourth world-inspired collaborations with other musicians, beginning with David Byrne's My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, Hassell felt that a wholesale appropriation of his ideas was going on. He has said he reached tipping point when he came across Possible Musics racked under Eno's name in a New York record store. So while Eno contributed to Dream Theory In Malaya, as mixer and musician, his name does not appear on the front cover and the sleeve credits unambiguously state, "All compositions by Jon Hassell. Produced by Jon Hassell."  
Chris May / All About Jazz

Jon Hassell / Brian Eno ‎– Fourth World Vol. 1 - Possible Musics (1980)

Style: Ambient
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Editions EG, Polydor, Glitterbeat

1.   Chemistry
2.   Delta Rain Dream
3.   Griot (Over "Contagious Magic")
4.   Ba-benzélé
5.   Rising Thermal 14° 16' N; 32° 28' E
6.   Charm (Over "Burundi Cloud")

Composed By – Brian Eno, Jon Hassell
Mastered By – Greg Calbi
Producer – Brian Eno, Jon Hassell

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.  
Nenad Georgievski / All About Jazz

Salif Keita ‎– Les Ambassadeurs Internationales Featuring Salif Keita (1992)

Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Format: CD
Label: Rounder Records

1.   Kolangoman
2.   Seidou Bahkili
3.   Mousso Gnaleden
4.   Super Koulou
5.   Sali

These 1970s cuts were recorded when Keita and fellow Guinean guitarist Kante Manfila were helping to revolutionize African music by blending traditional rhythms with Caribbean and Latin beats. The resulting convergence yielded a fresh, invigorating, influential hybrid. Rounder hedged their bets a bit by advertising this CD highlighting Keita; he's only on the first two cuts, and vocalist Minx makes a slightly more exciting contribution on his featured cut, "Mousso Gnaleden." But Keita displays his formidable skills on "Seidou Bahkili," and Les Ambassadeurs demonstrate the facility and form that made them part of the new wave of African bands who paved the way for the worldbeat explosion of the late '80s. 
Ron Wynn / AllMusic