John Zorn

FilmWorks IV: S&M

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The diversity in these pieces betrays the fact that they are for five vastly different films. "Pueblo," which Zorn calls one of his personal favorites, is a trance-influenced piece that also manages to convey the openness of the American West. Guitar chords bloom onto Lynch-ian landscapes while percussion bubbles in the background. Produced for Maria Beatty's Elegant Spanking, the piece echoes the subtlety of her dark S&M films, with Erik Friedlander's plaintive cello rounded out by harp, viola, and vibraphone. The vibes especially provide a retro feel, and the harp adds delicacy. "Credits Included" (written for the film of the same name written and directed by Jalal Toufic) combines turbulent, swelling noise with Middle Eastern elements; like "Pueblo," it conveys a sense of space, albeit within a completely different context. "Maogai" is an anomaly on the album in that it was not intended to serve as background material for a scene, but instead to act as source music for a character who actually plays the piano on screen. Director Hiroki Ryuichi has threatened to actually cast Zorn in a film, but here the music is performed by pianist Kuroda Kyoko. Delicate and romantic, this suite sounds like nothing Zorn has ever done. Actually, this entire Film Works volume takes Zorn in directions that he has not previously gone. "Pueblo" is dangerously close to a country & western song, "Maogai" sounds strikingly conventional, and the last track, "A Lot of Fun for the Evil One," is entirely constructed of samples, something that the computer-unfriendly Zorn had not attempted previously. While this album may not contain the precise and complex structures of Zorn's other experiemental work, one gets the sense that he gave himself free rein to play a little, and came up with something new.

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