Dream Theory in Malaya: Fourth World Volume Two

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Dream Theory in Malaya: Fourth World Volume Two
Studio album by
RecordedGrant Avenue Studio, Ontario, 1981
GenreAmbient, world music
LabelEG, Caroline
ProducerJon Hassell
Jon Hassell chronology
Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics
Dream Theory in Malaya: Fourth World Volume Two
Aka / Darbari / Java: Magic Realism
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars [1]

Dream Theory in Malaya: Fourth World Volume Two is an album by Jon Hassell, released in 1981. It is the sequel to his collaboration with Brian Eno, Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Musics, which was released the previous year. The recording draws influence from the culture of the Senoi people of Malaya.

A 2017 reissue on the label Glitterbeat was named Best New Reissue by Pitchfork.[2]


Hassell got the idea for the album after reading a paper by anthropologist / adventurer-ethnologist Kilton Stewart about the Senoi, an aboriginal tribe Stewart first visited in 1935, who lived in the highlands of Malaya (as it was known before the present state of Malaysia was constructed).

The Senoi culture, he discovered, regarded dreams as an important part of life. Mornings were used by families to indulge in the custom of dream-telling, where, for instance, a "child's fearful dream of falling was praised as a gift to learn to fly the next night". Songs and dances learned in dreams were often taught to neighbouring tribes to foster good relations.

One of the tribes who lived nearby in the swamp regions, the Semelai, practiced the art of splashing water with the hands to form a rhythmic music. Hassell heard recordings of this on a BBC publication - a book (Primitive Peoples) which was accompanied by a vinyl record - and used it as "a thematic guide for the entire recording", especially the track "Malay", "the centerpiece of the record".

Track listing[edit]

All tracks by Jon Hassell

  1. "Chor Moiré" – 2:21
  2. "Courage" – 3:38
  3. "Dream Theory" – 5:15
  4. "Datu Bintung at Jelong" – 7:05
  5. "Malay" – 10:12
  6. "These Times..." – 2:53
  7. "Gift of Fire" – 5:01

An early 1980s EG cassette also included an extra track, "Ordinary Mind", located between "Datu Bintung at Jelong" and "Malay". A 2017 CD issue adds it at the end of the original LP track sequence.

The music[edit]

The album was recorded at Grant Avenue Studio, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, with the engineering and production help of Bob and Daniel Lanois.

Hassell would experiment with "musical sketches" in the basement studio of Michael Brook's house in Toronto, who was helping him to coordinate the recording, and from there he'd commute to Grant Avenue and put things down on multitrack, along with Brian Eno who was also there. Eno's main input on the sessions was playing drums and bells on "Courage," "Dream Theory," and "These Times". These sessions also marked Hassell's first association with Lanois.[citation needed]

He spent a lot of time on an "invented exotic scale on top of a tambura-like drone consisting of a set of sine tones that I've tuned as a guide to keep me on the Indonesian-type tuning that nobody ever tried to play on a trumpet before". As in the previous album, Possible Musics, his trumpet is mixed and looped and stretched so that it never really sounds like a trumpet at all.

Track 1 features digital delay, which at the time was a relatively new studio process, and is composed of rhythmic loops, short trumpet blasts and sharp intonations. Tracks 2 and 3 share a raspy, treated, looped trumpet riff, with 3 employing waves of overdubs, bass and pottery drums. Track 4 is based on a background of gongs and drums over which a breathy, distorted trumpet drones and blasts. The longest track, 5, features the "splash" rhythms mentioned above, along with Raga-style percussion, gongs, the sounds of giggling children, and an over-riding lead trumpet. Track 6 is the most ambient of all, being mostly chimes/gongs and birdsong. (listen out for the passing aeroplane...) A year later, its trumpet solo reappeared in "Shadow", on Brian Eno's album Ambient 4/On Land.[3] The last track has a background of distorted trumpet waves and a gamelan-style beat.


  • Produced, and all titles, by Jon Hassell
  • Cover painting : Alexander's Dream, by Mati Klarwein 1
  • Jon Hassell – trumpet, pottery drums, Prophet 5, bowl gongs, mix (tracks 2 & 7)
  • Brian Eno – drums, bowl gongs & bells, mix (tracks 1, 3, 5 & 6)
  • Michael Brook – bass
  • Miguel Frasconi – bowl gongs
  • Walter De Maria – distant drum
  • Daniel Lanois – engineering, mix (track 4)
  • Greg Roberts – additional engineering
  • Paul Fitzgerald – splash rhythm edit assistant
  • Andrew Timar – frog bog recording
  • Jimmy De Sana – photograph
  • Paula Greif – design


Country Label Cat. No. Media Release Date
US Editions EG EGM 114 LP 1981
France Editions EG 2335 226 LP 1981
US/UK Editions EG EG/EEGCD-13 LP/CD 1987
US Plan 9/Caroline 1537 CD 1987
US Plan 9/Caroline 1571 CD 1990
US Editions EG 13 CD 1991
US EG 13 CD 1999
Germany Glitter Beat GBLP 052 LP/CD 2017


  1. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/album/r158382
  2. ^ a b Beta, Andy. [the figure of the ghost as that which is neither present, nor absent, neither dead nor alive" "Jon Hassell Dream Theory in Malaya: Fourth World Volume Two"] Check |url= value (help). Pitchfork. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  3. ^ "Jon Hassell: Atmospherics". Retrieved 5 May 2017.

External links[edit]