John Zorn – The Satyr’s Play / Cerberus

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“Ode IV” is the only redeemable cut here, where each time the tribal drumming returns after a quieter bridge, it’s larger than the last. Still, I’m aware that if I want tribal drumming, there are better places to go. I suppose “Ode VII” deserves mention as well, because the pornographic moans shift from erotic to downright worrying as animalistic sounds are introduced. The rest? “Ode I” features the crack of whips (whereas John Zorn once used to force instruments to sound like them), “Ode V” and “Ode VIII” feature the buzz of flies (because once wasn’t enough, apparently), “Ode VI” ends with a coda of rain falling and the second half of “Ode II” features the croak of frogs. The first half of “Ode II” sounds like it takes place in a haunted waterpark and reminds me of Sonic Youth’s “Lee is Free” offConfusion is Sex, which isn’t a compliment. The last 40 seconds of “III” is comparatively more effective for a nightmarish narrative, where the chimes used in the intro are echoed by sinister clicking. Whereas “The Satyr’s Play” had Zorn restricting himself to only using two drummers, the tacked-on “Cerebrus” has him only using a brass trio – and it fucking sucks. A tuba can sound like farting, who knew?

At what point does something cross the line from being a postmodern pancake into a pretentious piece of shit?

C

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