187

Pitom: Blasphemy and Other Serious Crimes

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Pitom: Blasphemy and Other Serious Crimes The sophomore release of Pitom, of one of John Zorn's Radical Jewish Culture series outfits, symbolizes a dead-end in this important musical and cultural movement that began in early nineties. Pitom, led by guitarist Yoshie Fruchter, is influenced by iconic musical figures from visionary seventies fusion bands like Frank Zappa and John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, as well as early nineties grunge/punk bands including Nirvana and The Melvins. Blasphemy and other Serious Crimes is even supposed to be a sonic homage to the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement), in a manner that mixes the seriousness of the day with a tongue-in-cheek style and sound.

But while listening to this release, there's the feeling that Zappa would have found a much deeper and spikier insight on such a holy day— a sarcastic, ironic one, perhaps, or even one that loathed the way that organized religions attempt to entrench constant guilt as a mean of control. Pitom's members, gifted as they are, remain far from replicating Mahavishnu's level of virtuous playing, even at the Orchestra's moments of excess, and it is hard to believe that Pitom's manifestation of sonic angst is nothing more than a compositional and stylistic exercise; paler in its emotional intensity than that of early grunge bands.

Pitom's affinity with some of Zorn's repertoire is evident in its combination of fusion and heavy metal riffs with noise, punk with some klezmer shtick, especially on "Vos Zogt Ir," a too-obvious tribute to Zorn's compositional style. But contrary to the promising title of this album, there is a benevolent adoption of these genres, not a rebellion—sonic or cultural—nor a convincing attempt to create a singular music language that reflects the emotional and intellectual inner battle of the believer on such a tormenting day, or about the cultural identity of a musician that corresponds with other cultures and beliefs.

The end result is so disappointing because each of Pitom's members are excellent musicians. But this set of eleven compositions focuses on their excessive sides and misses their other qualities.

Track Listing: In the Merit of...; Blasphemy and Other Serious Crimes; Head in the Ground; Resentful Repentance; Stumbling Block; Confusion of the Heart; A Crisis of Faith; Neilah; Epic Encounter; Vos Zogt Ir; Azazel.

Personnel: Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz: bass; Yoshie Fruchter: guitar; Kevin Zubek: drums; Jeremy Brown: violin, viola.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Tzadik


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read In the Still of the Night CD/LP/Track Review In the Still of the Night
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Zea CD/LP/Track Review Zea
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Asian Fields Variations CD/LP/Track Review Asian Fields Variations
by John Kelman
Published: May 21, 2017
Read Left Right Left CD/LP/Track Review Left Right Left
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Open The Curtains" CD/LP/Track Review Open The Curtains
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 16, 2016
Read "Araminta" CD/LP/Track Review Araminta
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 17, 2017
Read "Very Early" CD/LP/Track Review Very Early
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "Popofoni" CD/LP/Track Review Popofoni
by Duncan Heining
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "Live" CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 31, 2016
Read "Graveyard Whistling" CD/LP/Track Review Graveyard Whistling
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 5, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, and provide read access to our future articles.