aka Star Searchers, aka Typhonian Highlife, performing The World of Shells at maat
We should be grateful to live in the same era as Spencer Clark.
Gonçalo F. Cardoso, curator of Atypical Traditions
At a time when we hear that there is nothing new left to be done, his musical career has shown us that there are myriad worlds awaiting discovery. Earlier this century he created (with James Ferraro) a sound fantasy with The Skaters and after that pursued a new alchemy under various aliases (Charles Berlitz, Fourth World Magazine, Monopoly Child, Typhonian Highlife, etc.). If in Possible Musics Jon Hassell began creating sounds for his Fourth World, Spencer Clark has been creating “possible worlds” where his music can exist in his own fourth world.
“Fourth world” is a term that describes the possibility of music in truly global terms, beyond first world, beyond Third World, beyond classical, beyond pop, beyond any genre. Initiated by trumpet explorer extraordinaire Jon Hassel back in the late 1970s, Fourth World is a mutant combination of ancient and futuristic, a kind of contemporary folk music from “unknown and imaginary regions”.
The third evening curated by Discrepant Records for maat Mode 2020, with the performances of Star Seachers and Lagoss, employed the possibilities of the Fourth World concept as a trigger to explore a forever-mutating sound world that depicts alternate civilisations and dimensions: a utopian/dystopian parallel free of North/South concepts of poor and rich; a total breakdown of the cultural status quo; atypical dimensions.
Atypical Traditions, curated by Gonçalo F. Cardoso, head of Discrepant Records, is a music programme that aims to reconfigure our idea of history and traditional thinking to shape a brave new vision of the past, present and future. Taking a no-holds-barred attitude to the past and proposing a complete reinterpretation of the future, artists from different backgrounds and geographies (Portugal, Spain, US, UK) present new musical perceptions that try to find new meanings in an everchanging ultra-globalised society. In keeping with each theme — “Visions at the End of the World”, “Lost Futures”, “4th World Wonders” and “Do You Miss the Present?” — each proposal develops an idea of alternative spaces in which visitors can travel and dream beyond the limits of comprehension.
Cover of The World of Shells by Typhonian Highlife, released in 2016.