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John Zorn - Interzone CD (album) cover

INTERZONE

John Zorn

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.57 | 10 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
4 stars John Zorn: Interzone [2010]

Rating: 7/10

Interzone is one of the toughest nuts to crack in John Zorn's discography. If one word could fittingly describe the incalculably diverse range of music that Zorn has released, "challenging" would probably be it. This 2010 release is not the densest album he has ever done, nor is it the least accessible. However, it may be the most difficult to figure out. This three-part piece was conceived as a tribute to William S. Burroughs, so it's obvious that normal compositional structure was thrown out the window here. Interzone is a lengthy collage of nearly every genre that Zorn has ever touched on, and each style is executed with precision.

Much of Zorn's work often features what I call "stop/start composition." Smooth transitions are often discarded in favor of disharmonious juxtaposition of sonic opposites. This is probably my least favorite characteristic of Zorn's music; I find it to be an immature and lazy way of composing that favors an "avant-garde for the sake of avant-garde" approach. It's a major reason why I dislike many of his classical pieces. This compositional style is displayed in full force on Interzone, but strangely enough, it actually works here. The music rapidly shifts from avant-jazz to metal to ambient to tribal music to classical to melodic jazz and so forth, but it all manages to sound totally natural. This bizarre avant-garde stew is difficult to label, a quality that manages to be a strength rather than a weakness. This is Zorn-style genre-busting at its best.

Interzone is one of Zorn's strongest albums. There are some unforgettable moments here. However, some sections don't live up to others. A few movements drag on to the point of monotony, particularly the more minimalistic ones. Regardless, this is still a strong piece of work that even Zorn skeptics should be able to appreciate. In fact, this may be a sensible place for unfamiliar prog fans to start with Zorn. Interzone is an avant-rock monolith.

Anthony H. | 4/5 |

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