Thursday, March 22, 2018

Vertical Equinox of the Fourth World Traveler

We're back to inaugurate Spring with a 71st b'day bash in honor of one of my supreme favorite instrumentalists and conceptualists.
His approach to the trumpet and the contexts it can inhabit is, to say the least, singular and impossible not to identify by a single note.
His pioneering use of MIDI triggers and electronic treatments for his instrument has almost no analog, in terms of people you could name that do what he has done with brass.
Even more central to his career has been the concept of vertical integration in his music, where care is taken to render the various elements of it untraceable, or not directly referenced to music that has gone before.
This principle has enabled him to construct a completely individual and unique oeuvre on an instrument that most people can't play one note upon without someone saying "they sound like" a Miles Davis or a Clark Terry or a Lee Morgan or a Pops.
The universal truth here is that no one, but no one, sounds like trumpet visionary Jon Hassell, born this day in 1947.
Not too many artists can say they are responsible for a genre that didn't exist before they came around, but this is one of them.
He refers to what he does as Fourth World music, beyond the readily-identifiable musics of Worlds I-III. It's almost intended to be a kind of tribal music of a tribe that never existed.
Anyway it's hard to explain -- writing about music being akin to dancing about architecture and all that -- but then that's why we were born with ears.
Jon Hassell
Hamburg, Germany

01 Power Spot
02 The Elephant and the Orchid
03 Wing Melodies
04 Air

Total time: 1:17:49

Jon Hassell - trumpet, percussion, electronics
J.A. Deane - acoustic and electronic percussion, alto flute
Jean-Philippe Rykiel - electronic keyboards, facsimile bass, percussion, strings
Michael Brook - guitar, electronic treatments

possibly a master or 1st gen off-air FM reel, remastered by EN
This one is quite a monster 78 minutes of ambient trance marathon, recorded for German radio in the mid-1980s, so I dusted it down for maximum audioliciousness. I did a whole bunch of high end repair at first, but then scrapped those modifications (too much) and dialed what I had been doing back a bunch using the usual tools, i.e. Sound Forge 11 EQ and Graphic Dynamics adjustments. No NR was used.
I removed a whole bunch of bursts of FM noise, smoothed the disorienting and sudden transition from the first track into the second, and adjusted the latter very subtly to make it volume-consistent with the rest, which I felt it was not.
No other changes were made, but I modified the (really cool IMO) artwork a little bit to reflect that it's been remastered and listed the tracks on the back artwork, which lacked them. New tags, titles, fingerprints and some remaster notes later, here it is for your pleasure.
I shall return on Sunday to pay more Respects to the delicious and deserving, but for now as always do enjoy this incredible concert, and of course (it goes without saying) a happy b'day #71 to Maestro Jon Hassell! And many more!--J.

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