Jon Hassell – last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street
Back on the ECM label for the first time in 22 years, Jon Hassells Fourth World music is a blend of influences – distant hand drums, minimalist ambient atmospheric washes, jazz, exotica and his studies with Hindustani Kirana raga singer Pandit Pran Nath and German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. He was present on the première recording of Terry Riley’s In C and has performed with La Monte Young’s legendary Theatre of Eternal Music. Collaborations have included Ry Cooder, David Sylvian, the Talking Heads, Peter Gabriel and others.
The music is slow and breathes with timelessness, contemplating amazing, the long melody sometimes over a sparse beat.
His transparent trumpet could be easily mistaken for a flute, a voice, synthesizer or a maybe a conch shell. Those who think the special sound of his horn is created by electronics alone should check out his 1999 acoustic recording Fascinoma for proof that this myth is not true. I was fortunate to hear his group at the World Financial Center with Brian Eno at the soundboard about 20 years ago. The night was magic, the music like a film unfolding between our ears – the sound of the Fourth World.
Violinist Kheir Eddine M’Kacich is a surprising addition to this constantly evolving band of Jon Hassell – trumpet, keyboard; Rick Cox and Eivind Aarset – guitars; Peter Freeman – bass; Jan Bang and Dino J.A. Deane – samples; Jamie Muhobera – keyboard; Helge Norbakken and Pete Lockett – drums.
Originally published in the Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter.