Monday, July 07, 2008

Short Takes

John Zorn - Filmworks XIX (Tzadik, 2008) For this release, John Zorn puts down his saxophone and picks up his composing pen, to write eleven short sketches for the animated short film, The Rain Horse which was directed by Russian animator Dimitri Geller. These compositions are performed by a chamber jazz trio consisting of Greg Cohen on bass, Rob Burger on piano and Erik Friedlander on cello. The group works in a quasi-classical manner, shifting cinematically between melancholy and mysterious moods. The music is played immaculately and would fit an atmospheric film well.The tracks "The Stallion" and "Wedding of the Wild Horses" caught my ear the most, with an edgy and nervous energy that made for memorable music.

Larry Ochs and Orkestrova - The Mirror World (for Stan Brakhage): Realization 1: Hand (Metalanguage, 2007) The first of two versions (or realizations) of an album paying tribute to avant garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage. This was an interesting suite like album, with instruments bubbling up for solo passages and then dropping back down in the quantum foam. The music is quite intricate, it is hard to tell how much is composed and how much is improvised. Despite the relative calm, there is always something interesting going on and the music holds attention throughout. The music builds to interesting landscapes with many different sounds in a multi-textured tapestry.

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