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Thursday, October 19, 2006

fourth world

"The possibility of music in global terms beyond First World, beyond Third World, beyond High-Tech Art classical, beyond pop..."

" ideal blend of traditional music from around the world using Western forms and modern electronics, forming a kind of contemporary folk music from unknown and imaginary regions..."

At a Nils Petter Molvaer concert in Berlin last year, I was reminded of Jon Hassell's fascinating musical output and the relevance his music still has. It passes into realms that other musical forms can only dream of reaching. Explicitly influenced by "Third World" artists such as Raga guru Pandit Pran Nath, as well as Western modern composers like Karlheinz Stockhausen, Hassell defined his Fourth World concept as music that went beyond what you would expect from its sources. He has performed on albums by Brian Eno, Talking Heads, 808 State and David Sylvian, among others.

What fascinates me most about his sound is the texture, which is at times extremely dense, but never heavy. Through the use of bass and rhythmic patterns, he achieves a solid groove which gives context to his often heavily processed trumpet playing. Some of his best records are firmly rooted in 80's experimental music production with a crisp sound design and a lot of attention to detail.

Hassell's trumpet playing is also heavily influenced by Miles Davis, with Miles' "On The Corner" being one of his primary influences. The frenetic pace some of Hassell's pieces certainly cites Miles during his "electric period".

Personally there are four albums I absolutely cherish: "Possible Musics", "Dream Theory of Malaya", "Magic Realism" on the EG imprint and "Power Spot" on ECM.

some links

jon hassell

nils petter molvaer

karlheinz stockhausen

pandit pran nath


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