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Electric Masada


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Electric Masada 50th Birthday Celebration Volume 4: Electric Masada album cover
4.55 | 9 ratings | 3 reviews | 56% 5 stars

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Live, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Tekufah (14:33)
2. Idalah-Abal (6:18)
3. Hadasha (13:48)
4. Hath-Arob (4:07)
5. Yatzar (9:20)
6. Lilin (15:41)
7. Kisofim (8:41)

Total Time: 72:28

Line-up / Musicians

- Cyro Baptista / percussion
- Joey Baron / drums
- Trevor Dunn / bass
- Ikue Mori / laptop electronics
- Marc Ribot / guitar
- Jamie Saft / keyboards
- Kenny Wollesen / drums
- John Zorn / alto saxophone

Releases information

CD Tzadik (TZ 5004), May 2004

Thanks to Joren for the addition
and to Anthony H. for the last updates
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ELECTRIC MASADA 50th Birthday Celebration Volume 4: Electric Masada ratings distribution

(9 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(56%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(22%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ELECTRIC MASADA 50th Birthday Celebration Volume 4: Electric Masada reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ProgressiveAttic
COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars INTENSE!!!

After listening to this album the meaning of the word intense changed for me. Here you have one of the craziest albums of all time (or at least that I've ever listened to), to really enjoy or at least be able to listen to it you have to be open minded and expecting the unexpected. This one was my introduction of John Zorn after a long time of hearing about him and since I love free jazz, rock, avant-garde music and was starting to get into jazzy klezmer, this seemed the best place to start. But believe me, you cannot be ready for this kind of albums.

John Zorn definitively achieved his goal of taking Jewish music to the 20th/21rst century and then to make it electric. The klezmer style is present throughout the entire concert (it is a live album by the way) and is central to the music but it ain't all you are going to get. When they say that this is a mix of free jazz, avant, rock and klezmer they are being very accurate. The music is 100% improvisational and you get full blown rock delivered in a very original fashion with lots of experimentation.

The percussions are what join the music and different tracks together, they are delivered in a very skilled way with really impressive results product of the joint work of the two drummers and percussionist. The breathtaking rhythm section, also joined by a very capable bass player, gives an outstanding foundation and background to the music, while at the same time allowing complete improvisational freedom to the rest of the band.

The first two tracks provide of more than 20 minutes of avant noise with banging percussions and a very noisy sax courtesy of Zorn, which are joined by some rocking heavy guitar riffs ala Jimmy Hendrix (specially during the second track). The overall sound is sometimes reminiscent to King Crimson's improvisations around 21rst Century Schizoid Man in the Ladies of the Road live album, probably due to the interaction of heavy guitar and sax with avant percussions in a free style environment. This was a very weird and probably unnecessarily noisy introduction to the album, but very enjoyable at the end.

Hadasha continues the bluesy nature of the guitar playing with a very apt rhythmic accompaniment. This piece shows the capabilities of Ribot on the guitar and he is a very very talented guitarist. Ribot is sometimes joined, very tastefully, by Saft on keyboards or Zorn on sax, who would take over the main spot for a considerable section of the track. This is easily one of the most enjoyable tracks on the album highlighting the guitar, sax and drum work.

One of the excesses of the album is Hath-Arob, a dispensable and forgettable, although somewhat fun, electronic experimentation.

Yatzar represents a change in the mood of the concert with a quieter and calmed atmosphere, centered on bluesy electric guitar soloing backed by "ambiance" percussions until the middle of the piece when the guitar fades out. The track continues with the always present percussions in a more experimental way joined sporadically by some subtle keyboard and sax interventions (it kind of reminds me of the intro to Larks' Tongues in Aspic part I) in a very repetitive way for about 4 minutes which tend to be boring. Llin is a follow-up of Yatzar in the same calmed and experimental atmosphere of the last half of the previous piece but more proactive and not at all boring with Zorn's sax and Saft's keys alternating the main role and backed by the constant drumming and great bass work.

Kisofim continues, as the last two tracks, in a calmed atmosphere with heavy reliance on the guitar and sax backed by the usual percussions. Here the klezmer sound is more dominant than in the other tracks where the experimentation or rock take over.

This is a magnificent, highly enjoyable, original and really intense album. It sounds like nothing I've heard before and would've reached the masterpiece status if it weren't because of the forgettable experimentation that is Hath-Arob, the sometimes boring experimental sections and, to a lesser extent, the unnecessary noise of the opening tracks. Other than that the musicians are top notch, not a single one of the three percussionists/drummers gets wasted and the guitar and sax couldn't be better. My favorite tracks, as you may have assumed, are Idalah-Abal, Hadasha, Llin and Kisofim.

That is how a birthday is celebrated!!!

4 stars... almost 5

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Debut release of real NY down town supergroup. Besides of many John Zorn different projects, Electric Masada stays at very special position: band's members are most powerful avant-jazz musicians ever played with Zorn, including excellent guitarist Marc Ribot and electronic-avant guru Ikue Mori. And , differently from his many other projects, John Zorn plays there himself as well.

Musical mix you will hear there on this album in fact isn't new at all - it's same combination of klezmer and free-jazz you could listen in any Masada's album. The main difference is there are presented just two regular musicians from Masada quartet - drummer Joey Baron and John Zorn himself. All other musicians are regular Zorn's collaborators as well, but outside of Masada - in Hemophiliac, Bar Kokhba Sextet or Zorn solo recordings. And this time Masada has a guitarist and goes electric!

I believe this album contains all the best Zorn played for years - starting from Naked City-like sax speedy hardcore to electric guitar avant-jazz free rocking, and all based on hot klezmer melodies!

Very often in the past when listened to great Masada's albums, I thought how great it would be to add in that music guitar and some electric rock drive. There it happened - on this live album, John Zorn's 50-th birthday celebration series' release!

There are no traces of Zorn's movies soundtracks series, and some other works, but this album is very representative for big part of his music from last few decades. And happily it's not a collection, it's electrified live show with great musicians, great material and as often - with many surprises for listener.

One of great Zorn's release, very recommended. My rating is 4,5 rounded to 5!

Latest members reviews

5 stars The double wild battery Of Joe Baron and Kenny Wollesen with the percussions of Cyro Baptista on a background of broken glasses, the distorsions of the guitar of a gigantic Marc Ribot, the Rhodes of Jamie Saft they introduce the entrance in scene of the contralto of Zorn, in one of the fiercest, hyp ... (read more)

Report this review (#283813) | Posted by zorn1 | Friday, May 28, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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