Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bought this a few weeks back w/ a voucher I got for my birthday; it's one of John Zorn's latest, The Dreamers. Couldn't think of anything else to buy - I've already got two-dozen of the guy's albums, do I need another?! - so I picked it up, played it once at home and filed it away. One for the collection. I gave it another spin this Friday just passed, just to make sure I wasn't being too dismissive when I wrote it off previously as Zorn-on-autopilot, a perfectly predictable combination of sounds he'd run into the ground on other releases such as The Gift and Taboo and Exile (two albums I love, by the way): surf guitar, lounge jazz, improv-jazz screeching, Klezmer melodies and raging faux-hardcore/grind. Well, in fairness, there is a fair bit of exactly that here, and it really doesn't stray too far from a well-worn formula the guy's carved out the last 25 years, but subsequent listens have shown it to be one of his better forays in recent years, and that's coming from a guy who likes Zorn's schtick a lot. And get Mike Patton out of yer head. And Mr. Bungle. I hate 'em both. That half-assed clown-metal shit is a different species and not what Zorn does. The key track here is number 4, "Anulikwatsayl". I'm sure the title means something important. It's over nine minutes long and one of the best things I've heard Zorn do. With Marc Ribot on guitar, it's got that perfect Sonny Sharrock/Pete Cosy wail happening, with droning organs, stuttering drums and awesome atmospherics. Yep, for the record, it does remind me a whole lot of '73-period Miles, but since I'll state on record once more that Miles Davis' music between the years 1969 to 1975 remains the greatest singular output of any musician ever known to mankind - the most brilliant series of albums (and there's a lot of them) ever released in quick succession by an artist who played and put 'em out like he was on the run - I'll state that any Miles comparisons shouldn't be taken the wrong way. The rest of the album's pretty cool, too; it just doesn't happen to sound that different to half-a-dozen other albums I own by the guy. It won't change my world, but I'll take it out on occasion, play it once and file again for the next 12 months. But I'll enjoy it when it's played. That is the life The Dreamers will act out in my house. It's got a real swish package, too, as do most things Zorn-related: a neat fold-out cardboard sleeve adorned with art by the great Heung-Heung "Chippy" Chin. You even get a set of stickers of cute Japanese-style action figures which you'll never use. After all, you don't want to fuck w/ the packaging. If you're into the idea of cluttering your life up w/ a ridiculous amount of music you'll never get the time to truly appreciate in this lifetime, The Dreamers won't break yer back.

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