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John Zorn


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John Zorn IAO album cover
3.04 | 7 ratings | 2 reviews | 14% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Invocation (7:19)
2. Sex Magick (13:26)
3. Sacred Rites of the Left Hand Path (6:31)
4. Clavicle of Solomon (9:28)
5. Lucifer Rising (5:23)
6. Leviathan (3:26)
7. Mysteries (5:50)

Total Time 51:23


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

-John Zorn
-Cyro Baptista
-Mike Patton
-Bill Laswell
-Jennifer Ccharles
-Jamie Saft
-Jim Pugliese
-Greg Cohen
-Rebecca Mmoore
-Beth Hatton

Releases information

Tzadik # 7338

Thanks to silentman for the addition
and to Anthony H. for the last updates
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IAO: Music In Sacred LightIAO: Music In Sacred Light
Tzadik 2002
Audio CD$8.99
$6.97 (used)
IAO: Music In Sacred Light by Tzadik (2002-05-21)IAO: Music In Sacred Light by Tzadik (2002-05-21)
Tzadik (2002-05-21)
Audio CD$32.07
IAO: Music In Sacred Light by Zorn, JohnIAO: Music In Sacred Light by Zorn, John
Audio CD$34.01
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JOHN ZORN IAO ratings distribution

(7 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (29%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This Zorn's album is fourth release in "Music Romance" series. Don't be fooled by the name, you will find very dark romance there. Album's name, IAO (subtitled Music in Sacred Light) is inspired by the Beast and the number 666: the Cabbalistic identity of IAO, which are the initials of Isis, Apophis and Osiris, used as a magical formula in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

Liner notes tell this music was inspired by cult theorist Aleister Crowley's "Magick". So, you will easily feel Zorn's focus on primal fears, Gnostic rituals and sexual occultism. Nearest by it's atmosphere to some Naked City's moments, music is radically different there.

Minimalistic electronic sounds, cold, dark, often sounds as thriller soundtrack, but sound is so realistic, that you can be scared. No, it's much more real, than movie, it's something right near you!

John's collaborators on this album are superlative: Cyro Baptista, Greg Cohen, Bill Laswell, Mike Patton, Jamie Saft, Jim Pugliese, Jennifer Charles, Rebecca Moore, and Beth Hatton.They are never playing altogether there, but just two or three of them on each song.

Sex Magick, longest album composition, is meditation drone with tribal drumming. Music is coming from nowhere, and going to nowhere... It just exists, not nervous or agressive, but just as cold dark air around you. You feel breath of eternity there.

Some songs have choral voices, "Omen" like , but again, darker and colder. With no romantic accessories. Just naked , near you... Diamanda Galas could build similar atmosphere, but her world is explosive and nervous, Zorn's world is static.

And then, at Leviathan, all the world will explodes with noisy trash metal attack, Mike Patton wordless vocals and some metallic guitar accessories over the top.

Strange, dark,cold and .... magick. No connections with heavy metal dragons and elfs though.


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Review by Anthony H.
2 stars John Zorn: IAO [2002]

Rating: 3/10

I'm not sure where to start with this album. John Zorn is a musician known for creating intensely challenging music that often defies any sense of categorization. However, they are various terms that can describe certain albums in his extraordinarily eclectic discography: "avant-jazz", "jazzcore", "contemporary classical", "klezmer", and so on. In the case of IAO, however, I am able to conjure up few fitting terms to describe the music. There is some sort of odd conceptual idea behind this album that I can't make heads or tails out of; something about Satan, Kabbalah, the occult, and Osiris? I have no idea. Perhaps such things are too avant-grade for me. On a purely musical level, this is a very minimalistic work that relies on hypnotic trances and repetitive sequences. So, perhaps "avant-ambient-tribal-metal-noise witchcraft music" would be a fitting stylistic label? Unfortunately, such a description makes this album sound much more interesting than it is. IAO is needlessly repetitive and boring.

The opener "Invocation" is a directionless collection of noise. Most of it involves quiet ambient sounds, but it occasionally breaks out in harshly unpleasant buzzing and clanging. "Sex Magick" is a 13-minute tribal drum trance. This same theme is repeated throughout the whole piece with little variation. Needless to say, it gets quite old. "Sacred Rites of the Left Hand Path" is one of the better tracks on the album. It actually manages to create a decent atmosphere, and I like the synth motif. "The Clavicle of Solomon" is an unlistenable nine minutes of aimless noise. The horrible high-pitched electronic squeaks are literally painful to listen to. I cringe whenever I listen to this track; I don't understand the artistic merit of something like this. The dark ambience continues with the creepy "Lucifer Rising." Sexual-sounding female vocalizations accompany the dark synths. This is another track that creates an atmosphere, but it isn't very musically interesting. The sudden entrance of "Leviathan" creates a startlingly abrupt dynamic shift. This is a heavy piece of noise music that ends up breaking down into absolutely indiscernible static chaos. The album ends with "Mysteries." This is similar to the opening piece: minimalistic ambience centered on chimes/bells.

Zorn has a clear musical purpose here: to create an unsettling atmosphere. For the most part, he succeeds. However, the methods he utilizes to achieve this success are not particularly noble. Instead of well-developed compositional ideas, we are presented with a series of uncomfortable noises layered on top of each other. This is an extremely lazy and unsatisfying approach to ambient music. However, a few tracks are fairly decent for what they are. This music lives up to the occult-themed concept. However, any album that makes me cringe at points isn't going to receive a high rating. This is a dull and frustrating release that I would place near the bottom of Zorn's catalogue.


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