re-released with a 24 page colour booklet. jimi hendrix's debut recording was an instant classic, and is as startling today as when it first hit the streets in 1967. 'are you experienced?' is probably the most rock-oriented of hendrix's official studio releases, but its influences are incredibly diverse. 'third stone from the sun' recalls the supple octaves of jazz guitarist wes montgomery; the churning afro-cuban polyrhythms of 'manic depression' evoke john coltrane and elvin jones; 'i don't live today' employs ritualistic native american drumbeats; and the title tune borrows the eastern airs of sitarist ravi shankar. the mix, beautifully refreshed on this reissue, is dark and churning, a dense wall of sound. mitch mitchell and noel redding blast away with a barely controlled fury, and there's a distorted metallic edge to hendrix's guitar timbre that has made 'are you experienced?' a particular favourite among rock and heavy-metal guitarists. 'purple haze' and 'foxey lady' helped define the power-trio format, thanks to hendrix's full-bodied rhythm guitar and his soaring solos. 'are you experienced?' also established hendrix as a singer-songwriter. his dylanesque vocals and spacey imagery make each tune a little gem, especially on gentle outings such as the ballad 'the wind cries mary'.