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.
Seemingly existing outside of time and space, The Living City remains totally timeless and transportive over thirty years after its recording.
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