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John Zorn - Enigmata CD (album) cover


John Zorn



2.00 | 1 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
2 stars John Zorn: Enigmata [2011]

Rating: 3/10

"Enigma" certainly is a good descriptive word for John Zorn's third 2011 release. During my momentous voyages through his monolithic discography, I have come across a few albums that have left me absolutely mystified. Sometimes, this confusion is a good thing; it leaves me with a sense of challenge and a desire to figure the music out. Other times, I am simply befuddled as to how or why an album was created in the first place. How could somebody enjoy it, and for what purpose was it made? This quandary permeated my consciousness while I listened to Enigmata. This 41-minute album features guitarist Marc Ribot and bassist Trevor Dunn making noise; that's it. Composition and improvisation meld together seamlessly, to the point where it is near-impossible to tell the difference between the two. Ribot is an exceptional guitarist, but his playing here sounds like nothing but mindless feedback. Dunn's bass is a pulsating drone backing up Ribot's cacophonous twanging. Needless to say, 41 minutes of this is not pleasant in the slightest.

I really don't know what Zorn was trying to accomplish with Enigmata. Tzadik describes the album as "Captain Beefheart's Magic Band meets Arnold Schoenberg", but the result isn't nearly as interesting as such a label would make one think. This isn't a terrible album; nothing about it disgusts or repels me. However, it is an uninteresting and fairly unpleasant piece of work that even Zorn die-hards may have troubling enjoying. Enigmata is a black sheep among the excellent music that Zorn has released during this young decade. This is pretentiousness at its worst, and it is best avoided.

Anthony H. | 2/5 |


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