Jon Hassell / Brian Eno - Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Musics

The term "Fourth World Music", as described by Jon Hassell, is “a musical aesthetic; a unified primitive / futuristic sound combining features of world ethnic styles with advanced electronic techniques.” This is a perfect description of the music within Fourth World Vol.1 but here is my experience with it. The first time I heard this material it somehow felt connected to the more renowned collaborative album My Life In the Bush Of Ghosts by Eno and David Byrne. After doing some research, I found this was not coincidental since Fourth World predates Bush Of Ghosts which was meant to also include Jon Hassell. However Hassell’s impression of the material was that it was “too commercial.” This says more about Hassell than it does about the content ofBush Of Ghosts as it’s hard to believe an album with songs culled from real life exorcisms is commercial in any way. Fourth World Vol.1 is rooted in the same sonic foundation that Bush Of Ghosts utilizes, but if Bush Of Ghosts is the day, than Fourth World is undoubtedly the night. Think of it as a more ambient version of Bush Of Ghoststaking the same sort of primitive digital technologies but going much further. The results are simply transcendental. It does feel otherworldly, almost under water as Eno's treatments on Hassells trumpet, his primary instrument, sound absolutely nothing like a trumpet but rather a tribal lute from the future. Similar to Eno's collaboration with Laraaji on Ambient 3, this album calls into question the influence of the producer and how vital that role may be. It's hard to imagine either album being the way they are without Eno's involvement. Here again is another case where Eno’s aesthetic stamp is inseparable from the work once it falls into his hands. Fourth World is another prime example of Eno's continuous refusal to do anything twice and for fans of his later work, you will be pleased to find another stepping stone in his expansive discography. 180gram vinyl with bonus CD. (Adam)
Check out a track here