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John Zorn - The Satyr's Play - Cerberus CD (album) cover

THE SATYR'S PLAY - CERBERUS

John Zorn

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.00 | 1 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
3 stars John Zorn: The Satyr's Play/Cerberus [2011]

Rating: 6/10

The Satyr's Play/Cerberus is an album of experimental chamber music from American avant-garde composer John Zorn. Although I am generally not a fan of Zorn classical/chamber compositions, he has expanded his approach to the style over the past few years. Some interesting albums have come out of this musical expansion, and this one may be the most fascinating so far. These two compositions are enormously different in terms of both sound and tone, but they share an odd hypnotic atmosphere that evokes images of the mythical creatures that grace their titles.

'The Satyr's Play' is a 26-minute tribal drum sequence divided into eight parts. This piece sounds the soundtrack to a video game's archetypal 'lava level.' Hypnotizing percussive patterns are layered on top of one another to create a mesmerizing experience. Zorn throws in some useless animal noises and the piece drags on for a bit too long, but this is still an excellent composition. 'Cerberus' is a trio piece for tuba, trombone, and trumpet. Although this isn't a particularly special track, it is an interesting fusion of classical music and avant-jazz. The musicians get some terrifyingly menacing sounds out of their instruments, including blares, burps, and bellows. This time around, the animal noises come from the actual playing.

The Satyr's Play/Cerberus is a step in the right direction for Zorn's chamber music. However, it is still a rather underwhelming release. The sum of this album's parts is greater than its whole; there some awesome ideas at 'play' here, but I find it difficult to maintain interest throughout the lengthy durations of each piece. Zorn found a cool idea and rolled with it without proper fine-tuning. Such is typical with his concert music. Regardless, this is still an interesting release that displays some innovative new compositional elements.

Anthony H. | 3/5 |

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