Boomkat Product Review:
Ndeya begins a three-part series of archival editions from fourth world trailblazer Jon Hassell with this well-presented double pack. The first disc is a Brian Eno-mixed recording of a 1989 performance at NYC's Winter Garden, and the second a reduced decomposition of the album that inspired the show.
Presented as a double anthology with plenty of detailed notes and photos (on the 2CD edition), "Further Fictions (Zones of Feeling)" is a gift to Hassell devotees. The proposed three volume series from Ndeya focuses on Hassell and his group in the 1980s, as they were pushing the boundaries of his fourth world concept. On the first disc 'The Living City', Hassell performs with Gregg Arreguin on guitar, Jeff Rona on keyboards and samples, Adam Rudolph on percussion and Daniel Schwartz on bass. Live mixed by Brian Eno, it's an interpolation of Hassell's beloved "City: Works of Fiction" full-length, which on the second disc Hassell works into with a precise blade, distorting the original session tapes into an alternate album that's markedly distinct and multi-dimensional.
At the time, Hassell was fascinated by hip-hop, particularly Bomb Squad's wall-of-sound collages of jazz and funk samples. He sampled the NYC troupe on "City" highlight 'Voiceprint', and wanted to make connections between his own fourth world concepts and rap's similar-but-different cityscape fragmentation. On "Psychogeography" he was inspired by situationist art and Teo Macero's innovative tape spliced productions on Miles Davis's "In A Silent Way" and "Bitches Brew". Hassell could see the through-line from Miles to Public Enemy, and linked that to the urban landscape, representing that on his "City" redux with heaving instrumental fuzz, slap bass loops and rhythmic oscillations. Like a speculative sci-fi landscape spied from an unmistakably 1980s viewpoint, the album is of its time but also a few paces outside of it - one to jam alongside "Akira" for peak OG cyberpunk aesthetic meltdown..