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Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics is an album by Brian Eno and Jon Hassell, released in 1980.



"Fourth World" is a term used by trumpeter Jon Hassell to describe a style of music employing modern technological treatments and influenced by various cultures and eras. He wanted the music in this album to be "future primitive", or "a coffee-coloured classical music".

Hassell had studied Indian classical music with singer Pandit Pran Nath, and later applied the vocal techniques to his trumpet playing. Together with Eno, he melded the sounds from his instrument with digital delay, echo, and electronic effects to produce a unique blend of ambient and world music.

Hassell's trumpet is the dominant instrument on the whole album, yet, it almost never sounds like one. In "Chemistry" it possesses the quality of a flute; very soft and breathy. At the same time it has an electronic, "treated" edge and "warbles" on the higher notes. A simple, slide bass motif backed by low congas forms the background. "Delta Rain Dream" is similar, minus the bass, and the congas have a more Burundi feel to them, albeit slow and dreamy.

Handclaps are used as percussion in "Griot", which was recorded live at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The trumpet sounds like a broken recording of a wounded animal and also plays a light, high drone in the background, providing a sense of literal ambience. The same trumpet-sound dominates "Ba-Benzélé", which features the return of the congas, and a synth background.

"Rising Thermal" repeats a 4-note, tape-looped trumpet with a heavily treated trumpet over the top that sounds like an eerie human voice. "Charm", which took up the whole second side of the original LP release, is based on some of the longer pieces of Hassell's 1977 album "Vernal Equinox" (1). The voice, this time, sounds like an animal, backed by congas and ghatan and light synths in a drone; the composition is merely a repetition of parts. The trumpets feature a reverse echo.

A live version of "Ba-Benzélé", recorded at the Ontario College of Art on November 14, 1981, later appeared on the compilation album "Music and Rhythm" (WEA K 68045). Eno was playing in the band. (Link).

The album's cover photo is a Landsat photo of the area south of Khartoum in Sudan. The map coordinates in "Rising Thermal" ("14°16'N, 32°28'E") translate to the area shown in the photo. The river is the White Nile, which is also the name of a Sudanese state.

Eno took what he learned from making this album and put it to use in his collaboration with David Byrne, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Hassell apparently considered that album too "commercial", and castigated Eno in Andy Warhol's Interview magazine for his methods and "lack of musical pedigree". Eventually, they were reconciled.Template:Citation needed

Track listing

Side one

  1. "Chemistry" (Jon Hassell, Brian Eno) – 6:50
  2. "Delta Rain Dream" (Hassell, Eno) – 3:26
  3. "Griot (Over 'Contagious Magic')" (Hassell) – 4:00
  4. "Ba-Benzélé" (Hassell) – 6:15
  5. "Rising Thermal 14° 16' N; 32° 28' E" (Hassell, Eno) – 3:05

Side two

  1. "Charm (Over 'Burundi Cloud')" (Hassell) – 21:29


Country Label Cat. No. Media Release Date
UK Editions EG EGED 7 LP April 1980
US Editions EG EGS 107 LP April 1980
France Polydor 2335 207 LP 1980
US Caroline 1537-2 LP 1980
US Editions EG EEGCD 7 CD 1992
US Plan 9/Caroline 107 CD 1992


  • Jon Hassell – trumpet, Prophet 5 touches on "Delta Rain Dream", "Aular" loop on "Rising Thermal", Arp loops on "Charm"
  • Brian Eno – background cloud guitars on "Delta Rain Dream", Prophet 5 "Starlight" background on "Ba-Benzélé", high altitude Prophet on "Rising Thermal", rare MiniMoog & treatments on "Charm"
  • Percy Jones – bass on "Chemistry"
  • Naná Vasconçelosghatam, congas, loop drum
  • Aïyb Dieng – ghatam, congas
  • Michael Brook – bass on "Griot"
  • Paul Fitzgerald – electronics on "Griot"
  • Gordon Philips – handclaps on "Griot"
  • Andrew Tomar – handclaps on "Griot"
  • Tina Pearson – handclaps on "Griot"
  • Jerome Harris – bass on "Ba-Benzélé"
  • Night Creatures of Altamira – on "Rising Thermal"

Additional personnel

  • Michael Jay – engineer
  • Pete Sobol – assistant engineer
  • Greg Calbi – mastering
  • Cream – cover
  • William Coupon – Hassell photo
  • Roberta Bayley – Eno photo

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Ontario College of Art & Design" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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