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John Zorn - 50th Birthday Celebration Volume 10: Yamataka Eye / John Zorn CD (album) cover


John Zorn



2.50 | 4 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Yamataka Eye/John Zorn: 50th Birthday Celebration Volume 10 [2005]

Rating: 5/10

For the tenth installment of his 50th Birthday Celebration concert series, John Zorn teams up with longtime collaborator Yamataka Eye for a night of improvised barbarity. These two musicians go way back; Eye was responsible for the majority of the vocal work on the Naked City albums, and the two have done collaborative albums in the past. I'm not particularly familiar with Eye's work outside of Zorn, but I know enough about him to understand the absolute insanity of his musical persona. After all, this man was responsible for the screaming on Naked City's Leng Tch'e; since that album is one of my least favorite of all time, my perception of the man as a musician has admittedly been sullied. Because of this, I expected to absolutely hate this 10th volume. Surprisingly, however, I actually enjoyed a decent amount of this performance.

This album is an interesting fusion of Zorn's avant-garde jazz with Eye's experimental electronics. It sounds like an untenable mash-up, but it actually works rather well. Eye gets some very cool sounds out of his - instruments? - and Zorn is a madman on the alto sax, as always. This bizarre combination of sounds creates an album that is enthralling at points and downright dull at others. Unfortunately, the dull moments constitute the majority of these 45 minutes. The music often falls into noisy droning without any sense of cohesion or clarity. However, interesting music does appear time and time again here. The album is mostly instrumental, but Eye's indescribably strange vocalizations serve to actually compliment the music instead of simply making it noisier. For the most part, however, I find myself underwhelmed with this release. Parts of it show great promise, but it is an inconsistent performance overall. Still, I would recommend it to fans of experimental electronic music, as well as to Zorn die-hards.

Anthony H. | 3/5 |


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