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This is a unique blend of free jazz and electronica. Beginning with three live concerts, each recorded in four instrumental layers, some performances (notably the trumpet) were left intact, other layers were either re-performed or invented anew. Some layers migrated from one performance to another. Other completely new layers were made by canibalizing parts from previous works and reshaping them. This collection is an interesting blend of live concert recordings and studio mixes which makes for a haunting and ethereal soundscape.
In an era of world fusions and unlikely global collaborations, Jon Hassell continues reformulating the alchemy of his Fourth World music in fascinating and original ways. Maarifa Street is his first electric album in some time, and it's a deliriously seductive brew of Miles Davis-meets-dub stuttered through sampled groove fractures. Drawn from live recordings made over the last few years, the album illustrates Hassell's gift for carving soundscapes in real time, laying his breathy, harmonized trumpet lines across an interior panorama of ambient voodoo jazz. Playing mostly with guitar mutant Rick Cox over deep dub bass lines from Peter Freeman, Hassell's music is fractal in its constant reinvention. The deeper you go, the more varied it becomes, as self-similar patterns are spun and shaped into ever more complex designs. Tunisian singer Dhafer Youssef adds his desert cries to Hassell's verdant mix on tracks like "Divine S.O.S." and "Open Secret." Although Maarifa Street's source material is live, the sound is studio-designed, with performances mixed, matched, and collaged in a fashion not unlike the cover by Abdul Mati Klarwein (who did Santana's Abraxas and Miles Davis's Bitches Brew). With an extreme stereo mix, instruments appear, shift, morph, and swirl, as if on a slo-mo carousel plopped into a global bazaar of the imagination. The subtitle of the album is Magic Realism 2, marking it as a sequel to Aka-Darbari-Java, Hassell's 1983 album of mosaic-like designs. But Maarifa Street is easier to grab onto, and the throbbing bass, programmed pulse fragments, and his innately melodic trumpet carry you through this strange world. --John DilibertoSee all Editorial Reviews
It's impossible for a trumpet player in the jazz, worldbeat, fusion, world jazz, or "interstitial" arenas not to have been influenced by Miles Davis, with one of the most obvious... Read morePublished on July 10, 2008 by LGwriter
Perhaps the most studio-wrought Hassel album of all. Goregeous weaving of live-captured performances with studio overdubs. Read morePublished on December 24, 2005 by cubik dervish