Boomkat Product Review:
The imaginative rhythms and tonal colours of Jon Hassell, Farafina and Eno/Lanois’ 1988 Fourth World sojourn returns like a cosmic boomerang on new 2LP pressing.
Given more head room to roam its mix of Burkinese rhythms and revelatory, ambient soundscapes on this 2LP pressing, ‘Flash of the Spirit’ is primed for a new generation of flying armchair travellers in 2020 who have been seduced to Hassell’s unique sound sphere via reissues of his groundbreaking classics such as ‘Possible Musics’ and ‘Dream Theory in Malaya’, and more recently his amazing ‘Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One)’ (2018) side.
Working with Burkinese drummers and dancers Farfina, and assisted by co-production from legendary studio duo Brian Eno & Daniel Lanois, Hassell helms an album that most beautifully lives up to his Fourth World concept, whose roots he outlines as: “My aim was to make a music that was vertically integrated in such a way that at any cross-sectional moment you were not able to pick a single element out as being from a particular country or genre of music."
Fair to say that ‘Flash of the Spirit’ is a masterpiece of the Fourth World interzone. Taking its title from the book by Robert Farris Thompson about the adaptation of African cultures to America, it features Hassell, Eno and Lanois turning recordings of the West African drummers into phantasmic, rhythmelodic reflections of themselves, with intricate percussive patterns diffracted between a range of ecstatic, searching, and lushed-out scenes that resemble the music of Miles Davis as much as Terry Riley.