For the next few days, three ardent listeners will join me in discussing the new album by ambient-music figure Jon Hassell, Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street, released on the ECM Records label. Most if not all of the individual tracks being discussed are streaming at last.fm. For additional information, visit the websites ecm.com and jonhassell.com. Back in 1980, Hassell collaborated with Brian Eno on the album Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics. That term, “Fourth World,” has come to be Hassell’s description of an imagined futuristic music that brings together “ancient and digital, composed and improvised, Eastern and Western.”
Introducing the Last Night the Moon discussion participants:
- Colin Buttimer publishes hardformat.org, a website dedicated to the sublime in music design. His background is in fine art, and he’s now a photographer and webbie. He writes reviews for BBC online and used to do same for Signal to Noise, e/i, Jazzwise, The Wire, Absorb, and Milkfactory. His online life is at eleventhvolume.com.
- Richard Kadrey is a writer and digital artist living in San Francisco. He has written extensively on technology and culture for publications such as Wired, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Discovery Online. His new novel, Sandman Slim, will be published in July 2009 by Eos.
- Michael Ross uses a career as a music journalist to support his other career as a musician and producer. As the former he writes for Guitar Player, EQ, Sound On Sound, and puremusic.com, among others. As the latter, when not playing funk, country, and blues, he composes and performs guitar/laptop electronica under the monicker prehab.
The conversation will play out in the comments section below. This is not a closed discussion, so do feel free to join in.
Some additional details about the album, before we proceed. The lineup is: Jon Hassell (trumpet, keyboards), Peter Freeman (bass, laptop), Jan Bang (live sampling), Jamie Muhoberac (keyboard, laptop), Rick Cox (guitar, loops), Kheir Eddine M’Kachiche (violin), Eivind Aarset (guitar), Helge Norbakken (drums), Pete Lockett (drums), and Dino J.A. Deane (live sampling). Track-specific personnel are listed at the Last Night the Moon album’s discogs.com entry.
The track listing is:
2. Time And Place
3. Abu Gil
4. Last Night The Moon Came
9. Blue Period
10. Light On Water
The album was produced by ECM Records founder Manfred Eicher, and co-produced by Hassell and Freeman. Cover photo by Gérald Minkoff. Cover design by Sascha Kleis. The album title comes from a poem by 13th-century Sufi poet Rumi. Last Night the Moon was released February 3, 2009, in the United States, and March 6 in the European Union.