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FEMINA

John Zorn

RIO/Avant-Prog


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4 stars If one is interested in dipping their toes into the pool of John Zorn's more avant music, this would be a good place to start. At times boisterous and rowdy and at other times soothingly beautiful, Feminia encompasses all that's great about John Zorn the Composer. There is a good mix of the style of his more accessible Film Works series paired with the unpredictability of his "game pieces" (i.e, Cobra, Xu Feng). I'd also perhaps throw in a bit from his classical works as well for reference.

For this recording Zorn enlisted a small ensemble of talented women who should be familiar names to devoted followers of the Tzadik label. If you think you've got what to expect from this CD all figured out because of the title and the cast involved then you're going to be pleasantly surprised. I've heard some of these performer's solo works and I was still highly intrigued how their talents interacted with one another.

Feminia is only 35 minutes, but is filled with many more inspired passages than most CDs double it's length. This is definitely one of the better John Zorn releases of the two dozen or so CDs I have heard of his.

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Send comments to catfood03 (BETA) | Report this review (#247890)
Posted Monday, November 02, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars My first meeting with Zorn's music was when I first listen to the successful Naked city Album and i was fascinated by his amazing ability to do so complicate music with metallic sound . for me ( and for many others for sure ) he is one of the pioneers in the avant garde and the Jazz realm .

His new cd Famina is something that better remind me more like a tribute to the Modern classical composers like Pierre Boulez or John Cage's Music (and someone said it's sounds like Hildegard von Bingen, Meredith Monk, Simone de Beauvoir, Frida Kahlo, Madame Blavatsky, Isadora Duncan, Hélène Cixous, Gertrude Stein, Abe Sada, Sylvia Plath, Louise Bourgeois, Margaret Mead, Loie Fuller, Dorothy Parker, Yoko Ono and the moon goddess En Hedu'Anna. it seems that he's main reason for calling this album Femina is mainly because the instrumentalists of this album are mainly women . The band consists of Jennifer Choi on violin, Sylvie Courvoisier on piano, Carol Emanuel on harp, Okkyung Lee on cello, Ikue Mori on electronics, Shayna Dunkelman on percussion, with Laurie Anderson opening the album with a few seconds of narration. the style of the music is more Classical and rely on other espects . this is not a regular John Zorn cd . it's seems to be more softy - but at the other hand you still can notice the "Harshy" sound that Zorn use to make . for me this album is very unique because the music seem to affected bu Chinese Traditional music . the on disadvantage that i have on this album that it is very short - just 35 minutes long ... BUT - It's still a fresh , Mystherious , Full of magic and Adventurous album . This album will not dissapoint any enthusiased Fan of Zorn , Nor Experimentalists , Very High recomanded !

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Send comments to ProgMetalist (BETA) | Report this review (#251821)
Posted Thursday, November 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 35 minutes long John Zorn's minimalistic avant-garde release. Just four compositions, based on neo-classic minimalism, some characteristic "movie music", few touches of jazz and few more electronic explosions you usually expects from Ikue Mori participating.

Music is quite liquid, without special structure or rhythm. But usual Zorn's melodies and sensibility both are presented, so generally it is pleasant listening (for prepared listener). Very short for modern standards album is filled with ideas, so it is concentrated listening. It could be quite accessible even for newcomers (interested in Zorn's neo-classic avant-garde, not in much more accessible Masadas or soundtracks series).

One of strong Zorn's album in avant-garde field.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#275805)
Posted Thursday, April 01, 2010 | Review Permalink
Anthony H.
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars John Zorn: Femina [2009]

Rating: 5/10

John Zorn dedicated most of 2009 to melodic music; Alhambra Love Songs and O'o are two of the most accessible albums he has ever released. However, any Zorn fan knows that the man would never go an entire year without releasing an album full of avant-garde insanity. Thus, we have Femina. Tzadik describes this album as a "colorful tribute to women in the Arts." This is a rather overarching and grandiose musical purpose, but Zorn is no stranger to pomposity. The all-female band features Zorn veterans such as violinist Jennifer Choi and electronic noisemaker Ikue Mori, and there are some new names as well.

Musically, this 35-minute composition is a combination of quiet contemporary classical and noisy electronic avant-garde. Like many of Zorn's other middle-of-the-road albums, there are excellent moments and dull moments to be found throughout the course of this piece. Schizophrenic shifts in sound occur frequently here; soft piano motifs suddenly give way to brutal dissonant electronic madness. This is a common Zorn compositional tactic that I find to be rather immature. Cohesion is thrown out the window is favor of needless experimental lunacy. Granted: there are some excellent musical ideas at play here. However, I know that there's a serious problem when I detect filler on an album that is only 35 minutes long.

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Send comments to Anthony H. (BETA) | Report this review (#592012)
Posted Tuesday, December 20, 2011 | Review Permalink

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