The influence of the fourth world style on modern music is incalculable. An offshoot of the ambient innovations of the 1970s, the utopian sounds of fourth world have played a part in everything from dub techno to Balearic house to new age to whatever you would call the material that Animal Collective were making around the time of Strawberry Jam.
Many consider fourth world’s Year Zero to be Jon Hassell’s 1977 debut LP Vernal Equinox. Over the years Hassell’s name has become synonymous with the genre, but at the time the innovations he and his ensemble made on this LP laid the foundations for a brave new (fourth) world. Backed by percussionist Naná Vasconcelos, synth-player David Rosenboom and an array of guest musicians, Hassell leads us into lush and verdant sonic terrain here. A potent brew of styles can be discerned in the fourth world DNA - Indian raga, spiritual jazz, Brian Eno’s ambient LPs, the devotional music that Alice Coltrane was making around the same time - and the likes of Midori Takada owe Hassell a huge debt.
Ndeya Records are the force behind this reissue of Vernal Equinox. This new edition is the first time that the album has been pressed to wax in over four decades and the first new CD copies for thirty years. To celebrate we are treated to remastered audio and sleeve notes from both Hassell himself and Brian Eno - an artist who would later collaborate with Hassell on the LP Fourth World, Vol. 1 - Possible Musics.
Jon Hassell’s hugely important fourth world LP Vernal Equinox will be physically released, fittingly, on the date of the 2020 vernal equinox (20th March).
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