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Maarifa Street [Import]

Jon Hassell Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 14.27
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Product Details

1. Divine S.O.S.
2. Maarifa Street
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4. Open Secret (Paris)
5. New Gods
6. Darbari Bridge
7. Open Secret (Milano)

Product Description


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 Diliberto

Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Hassell's Opulent Masterpieces Sept. 29 2011
By Richard S. Warner TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
"Maarifa Street" is Jon Hassell's 2005 album that returns him to territory originally conceived and explored back in the early 80's. Only this time he's had years of experience that takes from all those lessons and refines the original explorations in beautifully subtle and virtuosic ways. "Maarifa Street" is 'late period' work and the vintage of his art shines nobly and augustly here with nothing else to equal it in his catalogue except for the recent "Last Night the Moon Came Dropping its Clothes in the Street". You can see how he got to "Last Night", an utterly unparalleled work of art, with this fascinating set that draws on several intriguing moments in his long career. As the sub-title to the album, "Magic Realism 2", suggests "Maarifa" is a continuation of the technique he explored on 1983's "Aka/Darbari/Java" wherein a lot of his music was digitally captured, sampled and re-constructed in fractal layers that built and built upon themselves. But "Maarifa Street" is not just a repeat of an 80's technique and style, there are other references to previous work as well. One that stands out is his re-working of the main motif of "The Gods Must Be Crazy" from 1994's "Dressing For Pleasure", done with Bluescreen. Here he takes the main driving motif of "The Gods" and it's basic rhythm, samples some of it , and fashions new bass and lead melody lines in a strikingly funky and elegant re-working. The result is a newer look, another POV on a great piece. Accordingly, this more recent version is called "New Gods". Then on the next track "Darbari Bridge", a sample of the sampled loop of a trumpet line and some synth washes from the "Aka/Darbari/Java album itself is used as background to form a wonderfully quantum relationship with the earlier work. Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Looking Back... Oct. 10 2005
By P. King - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
What a way to mix the new and newer-not a retrospective, but it could certainly serve as such. Perhaps also a way to introduce Jon Hassell to the unititiated. As can be said of all his work, Maarifa Street: Magic Realism, Vol. 2 is highly recommended.

After 30 years and just a handful of recordings, this man is a giant of modern music and still a secret at the same time. Unless one hears a soundtrack or some theme music, his sound never reaches the ears of the greater public. One wonders why he has spawned no other composers or bands who are directly influenced by his work. Perhaps it is time...
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jon Hassell - Cultural Treasure Sept. 15 2005
By C. Douglas Craft - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of Jon Hassell since the 70s and think he is one of the most creative musical voices our country has produced. He plays trumpet - but in a trance-inducing style that combines elements of Indian classical music, third-world percussion, electronic signal processing, and looping - to create a totally unique style. This music is for anyone who loves creative and unique music that is well crafted and contemplative. However, if you prefer pop or vocal music, this album is probably not your cup of tea.

I love this album and have listened to it many times - so it has "legs" and bears repeated listening - like all of Hassell's catalog. It has similarities to his previous work with Bluescreen, "Dressing for Pleasure" and his earlier trance and magic realism albums. I think it ranks with Hassell's best work and represents an interesting approach that augments and morphs live performances into new compositions. If you are looking for a creative music that touches the soul, you should definitely give Jon Hassell a listen.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not his best but unique sound Aug. 28 2005
By Marco Bortoletto - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
In his long career Hassell has created a very personal sound, not only with his trumpet but with all his ensembles that he bring in the direction he likes. Maybe this is not one of his best CD but in few seconds you can easily recognize his music that is different from any other musician. While other similar artists like Eno are making musical flops (listen to Another Day...) Hassell continues his artistic journey with no compromises and we are grateful to him.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars His best CD in many years Sept. 16 2005
By D. W WISELY - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
A couple of things I particularly like about this fine recording. Hassell uses, here, a trumpet sound that falls somewhere on the continuum between the highly processed voice we remember from Fourth World Vol 1 and the straighter sound he employed on Fascinoma. This time it's recognizable both as Jon Hassell AND as a trumpet. The other real jewel here is terrific bass playing. Highly recommended CD.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hassell as magus-emeritus Dec 24 2005
By cubik dervish - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Perhaps the most studio-wrought Hassel album of all. Goregeous weaving of live-captured performances with studio overdubs. Very Dub/ Jazz sounding at times, but that's not a put down. The latter half of the album sees a return to earlier atmospheres. I would say, a combo of Power Spot and City: Works of Fiction in its musical background. Yet it takes a life all of its own. Must-have for everyone, especially for the Hassel neofites, due to its trademark, yet accessible sound.
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