EGS 107 Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Musics
Produced by Brian Eno with Jon Hassell
Released on April 1980
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Find it at GEMM
EGS 107 cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 3.0: ENO SILENT WAY. Possible Music is the first in a trio of collaborative albums wherein Eno merged third-world sounds with avant-garde music, Remain In Light and My Life In The Bush of Ghost being the others. This is by far the less funky of the three, closer in effect to Eno’s Ambient recordings, although there is a slightly funky undercurrent to tracks like “Chemistry” (featuring Brand X’s Percy Jones) and “Ba-Benzele” (this time with Sonny Rollins sideman Jerome Harris on bass). Eno’s participation is frankly overshadowed by Jon Hassell, who does with the trumpet what Robert Fripp did with the guitar (occasioning me to refer to this music as “trumpetronics”), in effect turning the Western horn into an African instrument. Supple, liquid percussion from Aiybe Dieng and Nana Vasconcelos combine with minimal accompaniment from Eno to provide a sometimes shimmering, often mesmerizing backdrop for Hassell’s reedy, ghostly sounds. Truth be told, it’s taken me years to fully appreciate this music. I tend to lump Eno’s ambient experiments into a separate pile marked “minimalist monkeyshines,” noting that I’ve since rescued Plateaux of Mirror from the pile. Today, we’re pulling Possible Musics out of the pile too. That’s not to say that the side-long “Charm (Over “Burundi Cloud”)” won’t test the patience of some listeners, but Possible Musics is an important chapter in the development of jazz, even while few dared to follow. If John Coltrane had lived to hear this music, he probably would have loved it. The subsequent Dream Theory and Magic Realism expand on the same themes without improving upon them, so listeners (especially those coming from the Eno side of the equation) may want to start here first.

EGS 107 back cover
EGS 107 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. CHEMISTRY    (Jon Hassell/Brian Eno)    6:48
  2. DELTA RAIN DREAM    (Jon Hassell/Brian Eno)    3:22
  3. GRIOT (OVER "CONTAGIOUS MAGIC")    (Jon Hassell)    4:00
  4. BA-BENZELE    (Jon Hassell)    6:03
  5. RISING THERMAL 14° 16' N; 32° 28' E    (Jon Hassell/Brian Eno)    3:34
  6. CHARM (OVER "BURUNDI CLOUD")    (Jon Hassell)    21:24

CREDITS

BRIAN ENO -- background cloud guitars, Prophet 5 "starlight" background, high altitude Prophet, rare minimoog, treatments
JON HASSELL -- trumpet, Prophet 5 touches, "Aluar" loop, ARP loops
AYIBE DIENG -- ghatam, low congas, congas
NANA VASCONCELOS -- ghatam, low congas, congas, loop drum
Michael Brook -- bass (3)
Paul Fitzgerald -- electronics (3)
Jerome Harris -- bass (4)
Percy Jones -- bass (1)
Night Creatures of Altamira -- (5)
Tina Pearson -- handclaps (3)
Gordon Philips -- handclaps (3)
Andrew Timar -- handclaps (3)
Michael Jay -- engineer
Cream -- design
William Coupon -- photo of Jon Hassell
Roberta Bayley -- photo of Brian Eno

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK April 1980 Editions EG LP EGED 7  
US April 1980 Editions EG LP EGS 107  
FRA 1980 Polydor LP 2335 207  

 

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