THE LIVING CITY - LIVE AT THE WINTER GARDEN 17 SEPTEMBER 1989 by JON HASSELL
|Title||THE LIVING CITY - LIVE AT THE WINTER GARDEN 17 SEPTEMBER 1989|
|Catalog #||NDEYA 8LP / 8D2423|
|Release||W 09 - 2023|
|Format||Vinyl - UK2LP|
|€ 38,50||incl. VAT, excl. shipping|
- Adedara Rising
- aradise Now
New archival release that showcase Jon Hassell and group in the late 1980s exploring a radical tangent on his Fourth World sensibilit, a mixture of traditional Indian Vocal style - which Hassell adapted for the trumpet - and advanced electronic techniques.
The Living City captures the Jon Hassell Group in September 1989 performing as part of an audio-visual installation inside the World Financial Center Winter Garden in New York City, with Brian Eno mixing the band live.
Bringing the fourth world to our physical domain, Jon Hassell and Brian Eno teamed up for an elaborate and explorative set of performances at the World Financial Center Winter Garden in 1989. Amidst Eno’s “tropical rainforest sound installation” of recordings from Colombia and Japan (inspired by the Aka people of Cameroon) were Hassell and his band, imparting three nights of entrancing, “futuristic sci-fi funk” jams. Such a convergence of musical innovators and ideas must have been a real treasure to witness; now the magic can be rediscovered on this reissue of The Living City.
A shimmering wall of chirping crickets, distant birds squabbling, and the array of musical fauna played by the band sets the scene. Described as “music made to float [to]”, these performances ride a deep, enchanting groove, depicting rituals under the cloak of night with the whizzing sighs of Hassell’s shapeshifting trumpetry guiding us through the haze. Deft bass plucks drive the instrumentals, and Eno’s live mixing of cut and paste voices and sonic transformations add to the ethereal atmosphere.
‘Alchemistry’ continues the mystical vibes with attention grabbing trills, flitting sounds, and watery thunks of tabla, while the ephemeral structures of ‘Mashujaa’ (meaning “heroes” in Swahili) zip and spiral into a dense smokiness. Sauntering organ-like bass drones loom throughout ‘Nightsky’, chimes twinkling like the births of stars, and trumpet howling like hyenas or gushing air currents. It’s a celestial soundbath so immersive that you could easily mistake the audience’s cheers for the sonic creatures scurrying throughout the performance.
Seemingly existing outside of time and space, The Living City remains totally timeless and transportive over thirty years after its recording
About Jon Hassell
Jon Hassell passed away at the age of 84 on 26 June 2021, leaving behind a significant legacy of highly influential music and art created over his lifetime. He was a Zelig-like figure who interconnected with an enormous range of 20th century art and music: growing up going to juke joints and blues parties in post-WWII Memphis; studying under Stockhausen with Holger Czukay and Irmin Schmidt of Can; befriending Terry Riley and playing on the classic recording of “In C”; forming part of the Theatre Of Eternal Dream Music with La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela; mentored in raga by Prandit Pran Nath; playing with David Rosenboom and Naná Vasconcelos on his first record; collaborating with Eno; playing on Remain In Light with Talking Heads; lifelong friendship with the artist Mati Klarwein; recording with Farafina, Ry Cooder, Leslie Winer, Juan Atkins and Moritz Von Oswald, amongst many others; the full list goes on and on.
The Ndeya label was set up by Jon in partnership with Warp Records as a home for his music. So far Ndeya has issued his two Pentimento albums - Listening To Pictures (2018) and Seeing Through Sound (2020), a remarkable curtain call from a true auteur, as well as a much-needed reissue of his debut album Vernal Equinox, remastered from the original tapes, and a limited run collection of his writing about his own music, Atmospherics. Now that he is sadly no longer with us, Ndeya is working with Jon’s estate on preserving his legacy going forward, with a number of archival projects underway.