Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street
Jon Hassell's lovely, effects-laden horn playing is the centerpiece of an aqueous and mysterious musical environment. The Memphis-born musician grew up listening to jazz, studied with Karlheinz Stockhausen, and played on Terry Riley’s In C. In 1980 he collaborated with Brian Eno on Fourth World, Vol. 1, Possible Musics, which mixed composition and improvisation, and drew on world music. If you’ve heard any of Hassell’s recordings of the last thirty years, you will probably quickly recognize his distinctive sound on this 2009 release. (The lengthy title comes from a Coleman Barks translation of a 13th-century poem by Rumi.) Hassell subtly integrates live and studio recordings to create his trademark sound, and the album also uses “live sampling,” which lets Jan Bang sample individual players as they perform live, alter their playing, and then feed the new material back into the overall mix. It’s hard to pick out individual highlights here: the whole album is so well integrated that it’s best to just immerse yourself for the duration. Hassell doesn’t sound like anyone else, and Last Night… is another fine addition to this ambient master’s oeuvre.