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John Zorn - Magick CD (album) cover


John Zorn



3.28 | 10 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
3 stars John Zorn: Magick [2004]

Rating: 6/10

Magick is approximately the 793rd contemporary-classical album that John Zorn has released. I've talked at such length about his classical compositions in the past that it seems like I'm beating a dead horse that this point. Nothing new is really brought to the table here; the album consists of atonal avant-garde chamber music with frequent lapses into dissonant minimalism. Zorn has presented this style numerous times, to the point where it gets difficult to distinguish between different albums. However, Magick is one of Zorn's stronger contemporary-classical collections. The music is sufficiently atmospheric, and it retains a sense of coherency throughout.

This short album consists of two compositions. The first is a five-part string-quartet piece entitled "Necronomicon." The fast-paced sections feature absolutely furious strings, and the quieter moments are no less unsettling. This twenty-minute tract of tantalizing twanging is suitably eerie and cacophonous, but it doesn't hold a lot of staying power. The second piece, "Sortilege", is performed by a bass-clarinet duo. This is an unusual instrumental lineup, to say the least. However, it works quite well. It's a complex RIO-tinged piece with fantastic instrumental interplay. This is one of my favorite Zorn pieces.

Magick is a solid avant-garde album that should appeal to many RIO fans. It's much more mature than many of Zorn's other works in this style, but it still fails to enthrall me. I find myself underwhelmed while listening to this. Still, it is a very good album, and one of Zorn's strongest in this style. On a side note, this is pretty much the most metal classical music ever created, what with the Satanic/Lovecraftian imagery and the fiercely dissonant string playing. If that's a not a plus, what is?

Anthony H. | 3/5 |


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