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John Zorn - Elegy CD (album) cover

ELEGY

John Zorn

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

2.49 | 7 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
2 stars John Zorn: Elegy [1992]

Rating: 3/10

Elegy is one of John Zorn's first forays into contemporary classical/chamber music. This genre dominates a large percentage of Zorn's solo albums. He leaves his sax behind on albums such as this, instead focusing exclusively on his role as a composer and arranger. While this is indeed a contemporary classical album, don't expect "Ode to Joy" here. This is Zorn, after all. Elegy is a very short album (not even thirty minutes) that focuses on minimalism, dissonance, and atmosphere. This is achieved through eerie string passages and ghostly flute segues. As with many Zorn albums, this sounds interesting in theory. In practice, however, it ends up sounding like a disorganized mess.

The first movement, "Blue", begins with horrible clanging noises. More avant-garde sounds ensue, and the track goes absolutely nowhere. "Yellow" is the second movement. This improves things slightly; the flute and strings are quite eerie and create a decent atmosphere. "Pink" is the longest movement, clocking in at fifteen minutes. The flute works well here, but most of it gets muddled by useless noise and uncomfortable vocalizations. Coughing, puking, and spitting noises hold no musical value whatsoever. This track seems to never end. The final movement, "Black", features some cool chanting sounds but is absolutely ineffective otherwise.

This is pretty much a useless album. There's not a great deal I can say about it, because there isn't a whole lot going on here. Albums like this show Zorn taking what would have been decent compositions and sullying them with aimless avant-garde asininity. Coughing sounds, random percussive claps, and ear-piercing clanging sounds serve absolutely not purpose other than to annoy. Moments of this piece do have a decent atmosphere, and the flute work is mostly solid; these are the only factors that are keeping me from a full-on one-star rating. No disrespect, but Elegy is best avoided.

Anthony H. | 2/5 |

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