John Zorn - Interzone (Tzadik, 2010)


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To call John Zorn a saxophonist and composer really limits the scope of his music His vision derives from many sources, from art to film, to in this case the literature of William S. Burroughs. The author became famous in the early to mid 1960's for his technique of “cut up" storytelling; a process that Zorn borrowed for his own technique of card based musical improvisation. For this album, Zorn appropriates musical representations of several of Burroughs' themes and develops an aural montage.

The depth of the music is extraordinary, what at first seems like cathartic anarchy, develops into a controlled, yet risk taking musical performance. “Interzone 1" begins wild and skronky with allusions to Zorn's Naked City work, building to what you would expect from a Zorn composition with a cacophonous splattered cut 'n' paste style.

The epic “Interzone 2" is the lynchpin of the album; starting slow and reflective before giving way to a wild electric guitar and drums interlude, the music plays with dynamics throughout, throttling back to interludes of piano, organ and vibes to guitar fueled freakouts. There's a section where the wah-wah guitar, played by Marc Ribot, fuses with electronics and percussion to build a righteous 1970's Miles Davis dirty-funk vibe.

“Interzone 3" concludes the album, opening with a slow, late night noir feel, before the music develops such a fast collage that it is hard to keep pace with the changes in tempo and instrumentation. This is music that is very difficult to describe, and must truly be influenced to be fully appreciated. Drawing on art, literature, music and improvisation, Zorn has developed a unique statement unlike anything else in contemporary music.

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