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WHAT THOU WILT

John Zorn

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Anthony H.
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars John Zorn: What Thou Wilt [2010]

Rating: 4/10

What Thou Wilt is an album of contemporary classical music from American avant-garde composer John Zorn. Although I am not normally a fan of Zorn's classical compositions, the past few years have shown him expanding his approach to the style in fresh new ways. The three pieces showcased on this album were originally composed in 1999, so I was immediately wary; his recent innovations were unlikely to be present here. Unfortunately, I was absolutely correct. What Thou Wilt is classical Zorn by the numbers: directionless avant-garde orchestral music with little sense of cohesion, direction, or identity. Good ideas are encased in minutes of indiscernible fluff and unmusical noodling. The musicians are strong as always, but there isn't much for them to work with.

These pieces may be academically interesting, but music fans - even adventurous ones such as me - are not going to find any sort of aesthetic enjoyment here. Cacophonous orgies of strings and endless passages of subtle minimalism may be fun for a little while, but such things utterly fail to entertain for the length of an entire album, much less for an enormous collection of albums. This is about the 694th Zorn release that sounds exactly like this. Hardcore fans may like it, but others should steer clear.

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Send comments to Anthony H. (BETA) | Report this review (#596930)
Posted Tuesday, December 27, 2011 | Review Permalink

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