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Pitom: Blasphemy and Other Serious Crimes

Glenn Astarita By

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Track review of "In the Merit of..."

Pitom: Blasphemy and Other Serious Crimes Recorded for John Zorn's Tzadik Records, and sustaining the spirit of radical Jewish music, Pitom's second album is a psychodramatic crash-and-burn event. Spanning Sonic Youth-like reckless abandon, hardcore grunge, jazz improvisation and the blasphemous morphing of traditional Jewish music stylizations with jazz-rock, the unit abides by a take-no-prisoners approach. Offering an antithesis to the norm, with a titanium edge, complex unison choruses and punishing grooves, Pitom's "punkaassjewjazz" credo erves as a fitting depiction of its moving parts.

From the opening bell on "In the Merit of...," guitarist Yoshie Fruchter strikes the knockout blow, with brazen crunch chords atop a punishing rock pulse and violinist Jeremy Brown's streaming lines. The musicians straddle the free zone in spots, but unleash a torrid Jewish folk melody within the realm of progressive jazz-rock.

Brown's beefy and energized solo gushes with recoiling staccato passages and spiraling single-note leads. Fruchter adds to the intensity with an intergalactic jaunt, via pounding support from the rhythm section. It's outlandish escapism amid the pressure-packed ride as the band threads tradition with a notoriously psychotic edge. All in good fun, however.

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

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Tzadik


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