As time goes on I’ve come to appreciate the music of (the recently deceased) Jon Hassell more and more. The first albums of his I bought over 30 years ago, and they are still entirely listenable, still sounding fresh, still ahead of the curve. His more recent albums continued to push forward into new territory: the sound is different—he completely embraced the transition from analogue to digital—but the musical texture changed, become more coherent. It’s not just a soloist over a rhythm section, it’s all one thing, one all-inclusive sound.
He is a quite unique mixture of a musician who was classically trained but sort of overthrew everything he’s been taught as he explored the musics of Africa, India, and Indonesia. Out of this came someone with a completely unique and unmistakeable musical voice, and who moreover remained absolutely true to his own vision.
I would recommend any of his post-1980 albums without reservation: they all have something to offer. But here’s a couple of concerts: