Largely thought of merely as a mostly stillborn offshoot of Brian Eno's larger ambient music series, the Fourth World series of albums, in collaboration with trumpeter Jon Hassell, is actually an entirely separate beast. Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics starts off from the same basic idea as Hassell's previous solo albums, like Earthquake Island and Vernal Equinox: a blend of avant-garde composition, jazz soloing, and African and Middle Eastern rhythmic forms.
Overwhelmingly interesting and extremely variant, Jon Hassell's Dream Theory in Malaya is rescued from the stereotypical new age recipe, thanks to its ever-changing instrumental structure and the use of numerous eccentric instruments that emerge as the album progresses. The album's concept is taken from an anthropologist's 1935 study of a tribe of Malaysian aborigines who made it part of their daily routine to discuss the dreams they had the night before. To this story line, Hassell has created a novel and extraordinary set of instrumental meanderings that even includes a refurbished and re-fragmented set of rhythms that was believed to be created by the Semelai tribe.