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Moonchild Trio - Six Litanies For Heliogabalus CD (album) cover


Moonchild Trio



4.06 | 39 ratings

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Equality 7-2521
4 stars Since I began listening to John Zorn I felt that his rock trio affair of Astronome and Moonchild rested near the bottom tier of his works. They were still very entertaining and well composed, but overall I felt they contain about the same elements of his superior works without the great variety of them. Perhaps Mr. Zorn began to feel the same way because for Six Litanies he embellishes the Dunn/Patton/Baron team with a female choir, organ, electronic effects, and the trademark Zorn sax.

Despite the strong prominence of vocals, and the purely vocal track "Litany IV", I wouldn't hesitate to describe this as an instrumental album. Besides some chanting of "Heliogabalus" by the female choir, I don't believe a single word is spoken throughout. If you would have any doubt about the validity of calling vocals an instrument, Six Litanies will be the album to convince you. The whispers and chants of the female choir offer a perfect backdrop and provide much of the romantic atmosphere of the album throughout the chaos of the musicians playing. Mike Patton contributes a variety of squeaks, squeals, snorts, and breathing that will amaze you firstly for how inhuman they are. They'll amaze you even more so once you begin to appreciate the great care with which they are placed in the tracks. Honestly, anyone could hire a lunatic to scream randomly throughout an album for weirdness' sake, but their placement and use in the selections speaks volumes of Zorn's compositional ability. Most enjoyable are the great trade-offs and unison lines of Patton's high pitched shrieks and Zorn's trademark sax.

The brutality and technicality of Dunn/Baron duo can be compared to Meshuggah. Combined with the insanity of Zorn and Patton, Six Litanies hardly makes for an accessible record. The album is heavy and quite impenetrable at first. However, it's certainly one of Zorn's finest releases making it also one of the finest releases of its time.

Equality 7-2521 | 4/5 |


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