“This record fascinated me,” Mr. Eno wrote in 2007. “It was a dreamy, strange, meditative music that was inflected by Indian, African and South American music, but also seemed located in the lineage of tonal Minimalism. It was a music I felt I’d been waiting for.”
In New York City, where in the late 1970s art-rock, punk, pop and jazz shared a creative flux, Mr. Eno sought out Mr. Hassell, and they collaborated on “Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Musics” (1980). As the marketing category “world music” arose, its sounds and ideas strongly influenced musicians like Talking Heads and Peter Gabriel. Mr. Eno was also producing Talking Heads, and Mr. Hassell’s ghostly trumpet is prominent in “Houses in Motion” on Talking Heads’ 1980 album, “Remain in Light.”
Mr. Hassell helped conceptualize the 1981 Byrne-Eno album “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts,” which merged found recordings with studio rhythm tracks and introduced a broad audience to ideas of sonic and cultural collage. But Mr. Hassell later said that he could not afford the airfare to join the recording sessions, and he told Billboard magazine that he considered the results “too poppy.”
Writing in 1982 for the science-fiction magazine Heavy Metal, Mr. Hassell championed both preserving and extending local traditions, in order “to understand which music made sorrows bearable and expressed the mystery of creation before the entry date of the first transistor radio into the village.”
Through the decades, Mr. Hassell continued to record, experiment and recombine far-flung musical elements.
He collaborated with the African percussionists and singers of Farafina, from Burkina Faso, for “Flash of the Spirit” in 1988. He wrote theater music for “Sulla Strada,” an Italian stage adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.” He recorded with Mr. Cooder and Indian musicians — Ronu Majumdar on bansuri, a wooden flute, and Abhijit Banerjee on tabla drums — on the 2000 album “Hollow Bamboo.” In 2005 he began touring internationally with a group called Maarifa Street, which he named after a street in Iran; “maarifa” means knowledge or wisdom.