Perfume of a Critic's Burning Flesh Department:
I've started doing freelance reviews for the All Music Guide on the Web. Considering that I grew up reading the Lester Bangs-influenced Creem Magazine (started reading it too late to read Lester's original columns, although I got plenty of that later on), it feels as though I've come full-circle, in a way. Of course, if you're familiar with Lester's stuff, you will be sorely disappointed in mine. Even so, the first two are up: a review of Naked City's Radio and Painkiller's Execution Ground. (They used the track list for the Buried Secrets colllection, rather than the correct one, but I'll let them know.) Pretty cool to be doing it, though. I've got a long list of things to review, which I'll be working my way through in the coming weeks. (The title of this section comes from a Naked City tune in the Torture Garden collection, which I've also been listening to of late.)
John Zorn's "Filmworks I" has totally knocked me out. You have to get this. These pieces are film soundtracks from the mid-'80s through 1990, and the diverse range of styles--and his mastery of them--is extremely impressive. It helps that he's got several knockout bands here. The cut-and-paste aesthetic isn't so much in evidence in these pieces--while tone, genre and mood vary from piece to piece, the interior of each one remains largely consistent. One of the great pleasures in several of these is the playing of Robert Quine, whose brilliance I've never fully recognized before. (Maybe that's because he's had less-than-optimal working experiences in the bands I'd known his work from.)
John Zorn: "Redbird"
The title track here is disturbingly hypnotic. I'm not sure what to make of it, but it definitely has an effect.
Equally powerful in a completely different way is "Dark River," a piece scored for four bass drums--and only four bass drums. Most of the information is nearly subsonic. Ultra-hip.
Still listening to Beit by John Zorn's Masada
Beit by John Zorn's Masada
I'm addicted. Particularly track 8. There's apparently 9 different CDs out, and "John Zorn's Tzadik" is planning on releasing 2 12-CD sets this year. My budget is hosed.
I had the great fortune of seeing them at the Mellon Jazz Festival a couple years ago. Zorn has this really strange curled-up posture when he plays. It's got to hurt. A fine show.
Listening to Zorn reminds me that I should really listen again to Christian Marclay's More Encores, which I have on 10-inch vinyl.
Beit by John Zorn's Masada
It really is like klezmer played by one of Ornette Coleman's quartets. It's moody, noisy, and bluesy in that klezmer way.