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Exotic, Intoxicated, and Very Rich

The music on this album, probably Hassell's finest work, is at once surreal, intoxicating, and organic. In other words, very good, and very hard to describe! The ensemble of musicians here provide a textured ambiance of piano, sitar, drones, and chimes, while the main focus of the work -the horn- shapeshifts from flute like tones to barbaric wails to Coletrane-esque riffs. Such strange and sultry work is incomparable. Listen to "Caravanesque" to hear how this can actually Swing. Or on "Mevlana Duke", how this music creates a cinematic snake-charming scenario of tense, dense interplay among the very capable players who perform it. "Nature Boy" is a dark solo rendition that resides in my very heart to this day.
According to the liner notes, this album was recorded on all analouge equipment, without any overdubbing. While being relatively uncommon and yet kinda "hip" in this day and age, it's more than just atmosphere in this instance, and genuinely lends the sound a very hand-crafted and immediate feel that will never be exactly reproduced any where else. I feel this work, while being experimental in genre, is completely assured and powerful in it's form and relies on nothing other than the deft collaboration of talents that can confidently create such a mysterious work.
Personally, I heard this album as a sixteen year old kid, before I'd ever known the music of Brian Eno, Miles Davis, Aphex Twin, or Duke Ellington. Somehow this was the album that really did crack open my ideas of what music could express, and how large the pallate of expression could be.
"Fascinoma" has been a bedrock of musical exploration for me, and if you enjoy challenging, intelligent music, you may well want to look into buying this album. Sample it here on iTunes, and if you buy it, give it a close listen, because it's worth it. If you fall in love with it, as I did, than many repeat hearings reward the listener each time.

Fascinoma, Jon Hassell
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