fourth world music

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not sure if the idea of 'fourth world' music has had its own thread before so apologies for possible duplication. i seem to be hearing fourth world-isms in a lot of things at the moment, so i thought it would be interesting to discuss it as a concept - how could we define it? what are its cultural or politioal implications? how might it differ from regular 'world music'? is it related to afro-futurism in some way? also let's talk about it as a genre and what other records might belong with or have been inspired by the original jon hassell album

jay kay huysmans (NickB), Monday, 20 March 2017 17:43 (one month ago) Permalink

what would "fourth world" be defined as?

blonde redheads have more fun (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 20 March 2017 17:51 (one month ago) Permalink

is a good question

jay kay huysmans (NickB), Monday, 20 March 2017 17:55 (one month ago) Permalink

seems like a synonym for world music to me but i'd be curious to hear how you think it differs? do u see world music as being more firmly fixed to a particular place/culture and fourth world being more synergistic / fusion?

Mordy, Monday, 20 March 2017 18:01 (one month ago) Permalink

i think it's more to do with imaginary places if anywhere, and the electronic elements give it a kind of soft futurism, whereas world music is more often rooted to the past or the present

jay kay huysmans (NickB), Monday, 20 March 2017 18:10 (one month ago) Permalink

here's Hasell's definition --

"I wanted the mental and geographical landscapes to be more indeterminate- not Indonesia, not Africa, not this or that…something that COULD HAVE existed if things were in an imaginary culture, growing up in an imaginary place with this imaginary music. I called it 'coffee-coloured classical music of the future'. What would music be like if 'classic' had not been defined as what happened in Central Europe two hundred years ago? What if the world knew Javanese music and Pygmy music and Aborigine music? What would 'classical music' sound like then?"

tylerw, Monday, 20 March 2017 18:15 (one month ago) Permalink

which is why i mentioned a possible connection with some strands of afro-futurism, but obviously the lack of specificity and the fact you have predominantly white guys using sounds from non-western cultures is where the two things differ

jay kay huysmans (NickB), Monday, 20 March 2017 18:17 (one month ago) Permalink

xp oops

jay kay huysmans (NickB), Monday, 20 March 2017 18:17 (one month ago) Permalink

, Monday, 20 March 2017 18:38 (one month ago) Permalink

A few things that might belong or have been influenced by -

Roberto Musci ?

A lot of his stuff uses recordings (i.e. not just sounds) of music from non-western cultures.

Find Africae

Maybe not their most 'Fourth World' moment, but not much on YouTube.

SPK

Fake gamelan from industrial types. The studio version if v.nice.

Noel Emits, Monday, 20 March 2017 18:42 (one month ago) Permalink

"I wanted the mental and geographical landscapes to be more indeterminate- not Indonesia, not Africa, not this or that…something that COULD HAVE existed if things were in an imaginary culture, growing up in an imaginary place with this imaginary music. I called it 'coffee-coloured classical music of the future'. What would music be like if 'classic' had not been defined as what happened in Central Europe two hundred years ago? What if the world knew Javanese music and Pygmy music and Aborigine music? What would 'classical music' sound like then?"

lol white people

the late great, Monday, 20 March 2017 18:43 (one month ago) Permalink

LOL "the world"

the late great, Monday, 20 March 2017 18:45 (one month ago) Permalink

Ooh yes, this feels timely.

At its best, fourth-world music does feel like a more honest attempt to process the influence of non-Western musical ideas in a way that (as far as possible) respectfully takes into account their original context, vs overdubbing some funky African drums because it sounds exotic.

But dear god, the language used to describe this is a minefield. Hassell's music is wonderful, but when he starts describing it ("coffee-coloured") I want to slam the laptop lid down. (And he's not moved it on - went to a talk in London by him last year where his big new theory is how the north and south of the equator maps to the north and south of the body - up north it's all brain and intellect, down south it's all sex. Er, right.)

The idea makes sense when listening to JH's music, he just really shouldn't talk about it. Basically the music is far less problematic than his descriptors.

Also, the term is bandied around a lot lately to describe stuff at the ironic/not-ironic vaporwave end of the spectrum that fits much more closely into the "world music" bracket. I'll happily admit that I like a lot of Pure Moods stuff, but that it's also problematic. I wonder if the latter-day vogue for calling things fourth-world buys respectability for music that's a lot less considered than Hassell etc.

bamboohouses, Monday, 20 March 2017 18:45 (one month ago) Permalink

But dear god, the language used to describe this is a minefield. Hassell's music is wonderful, but when he starts describing it ("coffee-coloured") I want to slam the laptop lid dow

yes agreed ... I have this album and I love it but the less I hear these two pseuds talk about their intentions the better

the late great, Monday, 20 March 2017 18:46 (one month ago) Permalink

Also, the term is bandied around a lot lately to describe stuff at the ironic/not-ironic vaporwave end of the spectrum that fits much more closely into the "world music" bracket.

can you recommend some stuff that fits this description? i like vaporwave and i like "world music" but i'm not sure i've ever encountered a hybrid. (i'm listening to the eno album now and it's definitely not what i expected and i can definitely see how vaporwave might've incorporated this kind of sound into their music -- it's def not like what my google research indicates i.e. just a synonym for "world music.")

Mordy, Monday, 20 March 2017 18:57 (one month ago) Permalink

can you recommend some stuff that fits this description? i like vaporwave and i like "world music" but i'm not sure i've ever encountered a hybrid. (i'm listening to the eno album now and it's definitely not what i expected and i can definitely see how vaporwave might've incorporated this kind of sound into their music -- it's def not like what my google research indicates i.e. just a synonym for "world music.")

The example that springs to mind quickest is perhaps the new Tornado Wallace album? Which I like a lot. I think there's a depth of purpose to it but the pastichey use of hoary old Fairlight panflute is a bit of a tell. (Not that I've hear TW use the term fourth world, but I think other people have applied it.)

bamboohouses, Monday, 20 March 2017 19:08 (one month ago) Permalink

yes agreed ... I have this album and I love it but the less I hear these two pseuds talk about their intentions the better

Not least because the music does represent (to my ears) a fairly unproblematic example of how cultural cross-pollination can be respectfully achieve. JH undoubtedly put the legwork in (studying raga for years and developing new trumpet-playing techniques based on his findings), he didn't just hit up the sampler and some field recordings.

Tl;dr he's a terrible ambassador for his own ideas.

bamboohouses, Monday, 20 March 2017 19:12 (one month ago) Permalink

Thinking about this a lot this week. Reason is Glitterbeat (Noura Mint Seymali, Tamikrest...) sent me promos from their new sublabel 'tak:til', describing the philosophy as:

"The concept behind tak:til is to create a highly selective label imprint that specializes in contemporary (mostly) instrumental music. At least to begin with, the sound of tak:til will at times echo
rhythms and textures that could be found on Glitterbeat releases. We are interested in albums that loosely navigate Jon Hassell's idea of "Fourth World" musics, musics that blur the divide between (so-called) futurists and (so-called) traditionalists."

For the the first two releases (Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society's Simultonality and 75 Dollar Bill reissue of WMPPRR) I indeed hear some relation to JH's definition.

maarten, Monday, 20 March 2017 19:17 (one month ago) Permalink

and yes, had the chance to play Simultonality's great song 'Ophiuchus' on the radio last Friday: https://www.mixcloud.com/Sterrenplaten/sterrenplaten-17-maart-2017/

maarten, Monday, 20 March 2017 19:19 (one month ago) Permalink

lol white people

― the late great, Monday, March 20, 2017 2:43 PM (thirty-one minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

One of the most infuriating aspects of this shitty meme is how Anglo-American it is, as if being white automatically meant 'hurr durr colonialism, slavery, Orientalism, etc.' How do the so-called 'Balkans' fit into your narrative? Or the Baltic countries? Is Bulgaria a paragon of white privilege?

pomenitul, Monday, 20 March 2017 19:21 (one month ago) Permalink

Gonna be writing about that Simultonality record for Stereogum in about a month, as part of my jazz column.

Wondering where Can's "Ethnological Forgery Series" songs fit into this.

Don Van Gorp, midwest regional VP, marketing (誤訳侮辱), Monday, 20 March 2017 19:32 (one month ago) Permalink

Czukay's 'Boat Woman Song' more so, I'd say.

Noel Emits, Monday, 20 March 2017 19:36 (one month ago) Permalink

pomenitul you are a shitty poster and should quit the board

the late great, Monday, 20 March 2017 19:43 (one month ago) Permalink

One of the most infuriating aspects of this shitty meme is how Anglo-American it is, as if being white automatically meant 'hurr durr colonialism, slavery, Orientalism, etc.' How do the so-called 'Balkans' fit into your narrative? Or the Baltic countries? Is Bulgaria a paragon of white privilege?

your application to include all Caucasians in the category of 'white ppl' has been denied. the term will continue to apply to anglos and other continental whites up to about Poland where things start to get murky.

Mordy, Monday, 20 March 2017 19:48 (one month ago) Permalink

That's true in a highly specialized sense, but an Ukrainian in, say, Sub-Saharan Africa is still considered 'white.' A more precise term when discussing these matters would be useful.

pomenitul, Monday, 20 March 2017 19:54 (one month ago) Permalink

A couple good contemporary examples of 4th world vapowave are Visible Cloaks 'Reassemblage' and Ramzi 'Phobiza Vol. 2'.

Yelploaf, Monday, 20 March 2017 20:08 (one month ago) Permalink

The example that springs to mind quickest is perhaps the new Tornado Wallace album?

this is wonderful btw i'd be happy to hear anything else you think is like it

Mordy, Monday, 20 March 2017 20:10 (one month ago) Permalink

uhhhhhh nu balearic, anyone?

there's a cool old ILM thread about 80s "global village syncrenticism"...

a but (brimstead), Monday, 20 March 2017 20:39 (one month ago) Permalink

the georgia album 'all kind music' is kinda fourth world vaporwave, but the beats are a whole lot more discombobulated than tornado wallace. i don't love the whole record but the song 'time feel' is fantastic (but alas not on youtube). this one's okay too though:

https://youtu.be/ZhYSu-61ED4

jay kay huysmans (NickB), Monday, 20 March 2017 20:42 (one month ago) Permalink

cool that roberto musci was the first other guy mentioned on this thread, that comp on music from memory is so good

also thanks to bamboohouses for your posts, you articulated some of my discomfort very neatly

jay kay huysmans (NickB), Monday, 20 March 2017 20:49 (one month ago) Permalink

on the more minimal electronic side of things...

craig leon - nommo
(video is from 'holy mountain' so nsfw)

jay kay huysmans (NickB), Monday, 20 March 2017 20:58 (one month ago) Permalink

oh fuck, sorry for boobs

jay kay huysmans (NickB), Monday, 20 March 2017 21:00 (one month ago) Permalink

btw i found an amazing and possibly exhaustive rym fourth world list:
https://rateyourmusic.com/list/mkrasna/fourth_world_music/

jay kay huysmans (NickB), Monday, 20 March 2017 21:02 (one month ago) Permalink

What a great find. Thanks!

pomenitul, Monday, 20 March 2017 21:04 (one month ago) Permalink

That's true in a highly specialized sense, but an Ukrainian in, say, Sub-Saharan Africa is still considered 'white.' A more precise term when discussing these matters would be useful.

― pomenitul, Monday, March 20, 2017 12:54 PM (fifty-five minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

my father, a dark skinned, brown eyed, and black haired south american, was greeted in malawi by a crowd of children gleefully shouting the same word at him. his colleague informed him they were shouting "white man". so I'm not really sure considered white in sub-saharan africa is a good way to measure whiteness

Islamic State of Mind (jim in vancouver), Monday, 20 March 2017 21:13 (one month ago) Permalink

The Wolf Muller & Cass album from last year is probably a more total examination of the "Balearic as Fourth World" concept than Tornado Wallace is, at least if we basically mean "sounds like someone's been taking cues from Jon Hassell or David Sylvian's 'Words with the Shaman'."

Actually the more interesting TW axis was a couple of years ago when that whole Australian house scene sounded like it was trying to update Yothu Yindi's "Treaty" by way of Jungle Wonz and "Voodoo stay" (see: TW's "Circadia", Coober Pedy University Band's "Kookaburra" etc.).

Tim F, Monday, 20 March 2017 21:18 (one month ago) Permalink

"Voodoo Ray", rather.

Tim F, Monday, 20 March 2017 21:19 (one month ago) Permalink

Also check the new Jonny Nash album people!

Tim F, Monday, 20 March 2017 21:21 (one month ago) Permalink

aye, that Johnny Nash album is ace

calzino, Monday, 20 March 2017 21:31 (one month ago) Permalink

my father, a dark skinned, brown eyed, and black haired south american, was greeted in malawi by a crowd of children gleefully shouting the same word at him. his colleague informed him they were shouting "white man". so I'm not really sure considered white in sub-saharan africa is a good way to measure whiteness

― Islamic State of Mind (jim in vancouver), Monday, March 20, 2017 5:13 PM (five minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Although the term mzungu is most often used to describe white people (no doubt for historical reasons), it literally means 'aimless wanderer.' As far as I can tell, it's not a direct reference to skin colour.

Here's the hypothetical case-scenario I had in mind: a working class Moldovan man arrives in South Africa, where he is likely to be deemed 'privileged' by some observers due to the lightness of his skin, even though the Republic of Moldova is not a model of wealth and influence by any stretch of the imagination. In this instance, the assumption *is* based on skin colour, and may in fact unfairly work to the man's advantage.

Anyway, my point is that 'whiteness' is a simplistic category, even when it's used to denounce Hassell's glaringly Orientalist statements and the like. Saying stuff like 'lol white people' doesn't help anyone.

pomenitul, Monday, 20 March 2017 21:59 (one month ago) Permalink

excellent point

the late great, Monday, 20 March 2017 22:27 (one month ago) Permalink

/The example that springs to mind quickest is perhaps the new Tornado Wallace album? /

this is wonderful btw i'd be happy to hear anything else you think is like it

Some CFCF records are in this ballpark. Not the most recent stuff which is more Balearic, but Outside and Colours of Life might float your boat? Again, on the lightly vaporwave/world end of things rather than fourth-world.

bamboohouses, Monday, 20 March 2017 22:41 (one month ago) Permalink

Big hell yes to Roberto Musci upthread. And I think Visible Cloaks might be the canonical 2017 example.

I think some of the Steve Roach tribal LPs nod in that direction, definitely the Fever Dreams trilogy.

Some of Haruomi Hosono's more exploratory solo stuff fits the bill, right? He referred to a few of those records as "sight seeing music". Particular the Monad albums and stuff around that time. (Sakamoto's Neo Geo period is a much blunter instrument).

bamboohouses, Monday, 20 March 2017 22:47 (one month ago) Permalink

synthesized mallet instruments

a but (brimstead), Monday, 20 March 2017 23:01 (one month ago) Permalink

just remebered i have the reissue of midori takada's 'through the looking glass' on order - if you like beautiful fourth world-leaning ambient music and nature sounds, this truly is the shit:

<3<3<3<3

jay kay huysmans (NickB), Monday, 20 March 2017 23:09 (one month ago) Permalink

damn when i was about 22 i made a bunch of generative wind chime sounding pieces with gamelan frequencies, i could've been buds with brian eno :c

Islamic State of Mind (jim in vancouver), Monday, 20 March 2017 23:11 (one month ago) Permalink

coulda shoulda buddha

jay kay huysmans (NickB), Monday, 20 March 2017 23:14 (one month ago) Permalink

this is one of the more thread appropriate tracks off music from memory's brazilian electronic music comp:

Fernando Falcão - Amanhecer Tabajara

jay kay huysmans (NickB), Monday, 20 March 2017 23:18 (one month ago) Permalink

could really use a copy of this one:

Markus Stockhausen & Jasper Van't Hof ‎– Aqua Sansa

jay kay huysmans (NickB), Monday, 20 March 2017 23:21 (one month ago) Permalink

Sounds promising.

bamboohouses, Monday, 20 March 2017 23:21 (one month ago) Permalink

o nice

jay kay huysmans (NickB), Monday, 20 March 2017 23:25 (one month ago) Permalink

That David Cunningham track is choice

a but (brimstead), Tuesday, 21 March 2017 00:53 (one month ago) Permalink

anyway to respond to nick's post:

how might it differ from regular 'world music'?

what about how it differs from 'exotica'? a futurist bent and bigger, more 'cosmic' concepts and feelings.. contrast with martin denny etc whose records were indeed played to evoke being out in nature amongst wildlife, but they had a smaller and more intimate scope in terms of the atmosphere, they had cozy feelings. a lot of fourth world stuff seems be less about cozy chillness and more about vastness and wonder. i haven't listened to a ton of this stuff, though, probably talkin crap.

a but (brimstead), Tuesday, 21 March 2017 01:41 (one month ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

This article about the sound of a loon in Balearic house was in Pitchfork a while back, but was linked to in a review of a compilation of italo-house. I thought it would fit this thread pretty well: http://pitchfork.com/thepitch/474-anaconda-pacific-state-sueno-latino-and-the-story-of-a-sample-that-keeps-coming-back/

Frederik B, Saturday, 8 April 2017 22:29 (three weeks ago) Permalink


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