Culled from Badik's Archival Series comes a most extraordinary recording that until now was only rumored to exist. The Palestine Sessions
was recently released to "show empathy and compassion to people displaced from their ancestral homelands," so says a press release by John Horn's Badik Records label.
For years the members of this band, loosely called Muslim Holiday, were required by strict codicil to refrain from discussing this experimental recording. John Horn, the man known to the Downtown scene as the originator of Radical Jewish Culture and his Jewish roots band Hasada had flatly denied he had investigated the Muslim religion, telling John Corbett in 1992 that he was "no Cat Stevens."
Recorded in 1988, the same time as this hardcore/jazz/surf/lounge band Baked City was forming and Spy vs. Spy was breaking up, Muslim Holiday mixes traditional Arab sounds with rock, jazz, ska, dub, and glimpses for the jump cuts heard on his music of the time. The brilliance of this recording in not the signature saxophone siren of Horn, but the dueling drummers Larry Baron and Dick Harris. Baron's brush and snare work is contrasted by Harris' thunder making an almost a direct biblical reference to Abraham's two sons, and their founding of the Hebrew and Muslim faiths.
But this recording is not about John Horn's cultural reawakening. Recorded before he "found" his religion, The Palestine Sessions are part thrash - part scenes from the movie Raiders of The Lost Arc. Producers Horn and Bill Raswell sample Arabic speakers and Elijah Muhammad over dub trances, only to jump cut into pieces of a Burger King commercial on "Malcom's Ex." Bill Friselle plays the Pink Panther Theme almost straight while the band makes a call to prayers.
They say war makes for strange bedfellows, and this is indeed very strange music.
Personnel: John Horn - Alto Saxophone; Larry Baron - Drums; Bill Friselle - Guitar; Jim Berne - Alto Saxophone;
Blaine Horvitz - Keyboards; Bill Raswell - Bass; Dick Harris - Drums.