Thursday, August 27, 2020

John Zorn - Baphomet (Tzadik, 2020)

Baphoment is another fine entry for the long running Simulacrum Trio, in which John Zorn composes from the group consisting of of John Medeski on clavinet and organ, Kenny Grohowski on drums and Matt Hollenberg on electric guitar. This is a power trio that has a lot of range from spacey trance music to full on metal, and which allows Zorn a wide palate from which to write. It’s not clear how much of the thirty-nine minute single track “Baphomet” is composed and how much is left to improvisation, because all four men have worked together for many years in various ensembles and are very well familiar with each other’s approach to music, which blends seamlessly on this particular album. Regardless, the LP length performance is wonderful to hear, moving from intricate high speed thrashing guitar and drums to droning church like organ tones (Baphomet dates back to the Knights Templar) and everything in-between. The playing from the three instrumentalists is top notch and they are interact very well with each other at high speed no matter how sharp the centrifugal force of the dynamic shifts may be. Zorn supplies motifs that emerge during the course of the performance that are surprising and interesting and keep the pace of the music moving relentlessly forward while providing enough thematic material to make sure that the music doesn’t become stale. Overall. this is a top notch entry in this group’s collaborative history, with John Zorn providing the direction and material and the Simulacrum Trio providing the relentless energy and drive to bring that material to life. Baphomet -

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