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John Zorn - In Lambeth - Visions From The Walled Garden Of William Blake CD (album) cover

IN LAMBETH - VISIONS FROM THE WALLED GARDEN OF WILLIAM BLAKE

John Zorn

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.96 | 5 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Calling John Zorn a musical chameleon misses the point of his wide-ranging career. He isn't really shifting his colors to suit every change in the immediate environment, but simply revealing other facets of his kaleidoscopic knowledge and passion. So far during my seven-day random sampling of Zorn projects I've caught him switching from traditional Jazz to modern Classical music to the hardest avant-metal and beyond. But this 2013 project sees the chameleon shaded in iridescent pastel hues, all of them soothing to the inner eye (and ear).

Zorn himself, not unusually, was only the composer/producer/arranger. The music itself was performed by the so-called "Gnostic Trio": Kenny Wollesen, Carol Emanuel, and Bill Frisell (the latter another eclectic overachiever, with his own overflowing page in these Archives), playing vibraphone, harp, and understated electric guitar, respectively.

The trio was expanded in this session to a quartet with the addition of 60-year old Ikue Mori, a long-time Zorn collaborator, here given credit only for otherwise undefined 'electronics'. Her enhancements are too subtle for these ears, but together with the conspicuous lack of a rhythm section help give the music its ethereal dreaminess.

The album is so pleasant and so disarming it could almost be mistaken for muzak, which may have been Zorn's intention from the start. But there's a haunting innocence to the music raising it above the mundane toward a rare state of grace, appropriate for an album subtitled 'Visions from the Walled Garden of William Blake'. The trio successfully captures all the romantic mysticism of the 18th century English painter and poet in nine quiet instrumental movements, each one a model of simplicity (but hardly simple).

In the melodic terms of the album, Blake's walled garden becomes analogous to the biblical Eden, before The Fall. No two-faced serpent, no tainted apples, and no original sin: just 48-minutes of uncorrupted beauty.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |

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