Moonchild Trio


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Moonchild Trio Six Litanies For Heliogabalus album cover
3.96 | 41 ratings | 6 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Litany I (7:53)
2. Litany II (7:06)
3. Litany III (10:36)
4. Litany IV (8:13)
5. Litany V (4:30)
6. Litany VI (6:16)

Total Time: 44:18


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- John Zorn / alto sax, composer
- Joey Baron / drums
- Trevor Dunn / bass
- Ikue Mori / electronics
- Mike Patton / voice
- Jamie Saft / organ
- Martha Cluver / voice
- Abby Fischer / voice
- Kirsten Soller / voice

Releases information

CD Tzadik (TZ 7361), Mar 2007

Thanks to Joren for the addition
and to LiquidEternity for the last updates
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MOONCHILD TRIO Six Litanies For Heliogabalus ratings distribution

(41 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

MOONCHILD TRIO Six Litanies For Heliogabalus reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by MikeEnRegalia
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is the third album of the stars/astronomy related trilogy ... and it's my favorite one. It has just the right mix of melodic elements and what I'll call "chaos" in the track reviews - the parts that consist of relatively free improvising, only conducted/guided by Zorn. See the track comments for further details!

Litany 1: The track begins in the "usual" way ... heavy, complex riffs which remind me of Meshuggah, with Patton's insane "vocals" on top. Half way through there is an interruption with subdued harmonic vocal parts, only to be continued with a free-jazz saxophone part and finally near silence with faint whispering and hammond organ bits.

Litany 2: The second track begins much like the first began, but at 0:50 the controlled chaos is suddenly interrupted by a straight beat ... only for a few seconds, then experimental parts continue. This is repeated once, until a calm, melodic part starts (2:30), dominated by Doors-like Hammond organ and cool jazz drums/bass with conversation-like vocals (several voices, much laughter) in the background. That continues for several minutes, with the bass taking the (improvising) helm. But at 6:30 Patton's vocals introduce a return to the controlled chaos.

Litany 3: This begins with organ and bass, followed by slight chaos, then organ and bass again with Patton whispering mystical latin words ("Heliogabalus" among others). At 5:20 there's an outburst of chaos again which totally reminds me of the Fantomas debut. At 6:00 we get something new: Strange angelic choir parts on top of near silence (whispering/breathing and effects). Then at 8:00 it's chaos time again with extreme screams, only to be followed (8:30) by a cool jazz rock part with an organ solo and much bass improvisation.

Litany 4: This track is dominated by Patton's "vocals" ... he does a magnificent job here. It's difficult to describe exactly what he does ... essentially he is describing sceneries/stories with vocal effects. It doesn't include words in the original sense - at least not English words or of any other language. It includes heavy breathing, whispering, screaming, shouting, growling (rarely), whistling, groaning, suffocating, coughing, puking, laughing, giggling ... at one point he's even imitating a gun fight, pigs or police officers (I know, it doesn't make sense). All that sometimes at lightning speed (a bit like scatting), sometimes totally calm and reduced.

Litany 5: This is a bit like the first track, but it also features the angelic choir / organ calm parts, which makes it a bit more interesting to me.

Litany 6: Much like the previous track, and a good combination of all the other litanies.


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Review by 1800iareyay
4 stars After reading some glowing recommendations on the forums, I decided to check out John Zorn, and where better to start than with his latest album, Six Litanies For Heliogabalus? The final album fo Zorn's astronomy trilogy, Litanies cracks with all the energy of RIO and Avant-Prog, thanks to Zorn's incredible arrangements and the contributions of Mike Patton and Trevor Dunn from RIO revivalists Mr. Bungle. Litanies is without a doubt the heaviest album of the year, even more so than Devin Townsend's Ziltoid, which is full of ambience to offset some of the metallic onslaught. This sounds like Meshuggah with a saxophone and the craziest vocalist of all time.

Litany I has intricite guitar, bass, and sax riffs over thundering drums, complete with Patton screaming over everything. To call Patton's vocalizations "singing" is generous; he foregoes lyrics and even language itself in order to simply shriek, growl, grunt, and everything else that doesn't involve words. The frantic sound is interuppted by a more mellow section before Zorn leads them to the end with his wild sax. Litany II opens with a crunching bass riff courtesy of Trevor Dunn, the second most talented man in Mr. Bungle. This one is more mellow (with the exception of the first two minutes) with some hammond organ and a more conventional bass and drum beat and some spoken vocals. Patton's entrance shatters the mellowmess with more of his "vocals." Litany III is an avant epic that starts with Hammond and drums, leads into more chaotic avant jazz, gives way to more whispered material, then all hell breaks loose again, before a choir enters made up of the three female vocalists Zorn brought in (I admit this caught me off guard, since it was teh closest thing to "normal" music I'd heard on the album), which ends with more screaming and some great improv from Dunn's distorted bass (often it sounds more like a downtuned guitar than a bass).

Litany IV is an 8 minute unaccompanied solo where Patton lets loose. If you thought what he was doing so far was bizarre, just wait until you hear this. He does things with his vocals cords that I've never heard anyone else even consider doing. He gibbers frantically in a manner that reminds me of the wild boy Donny from the 90s animated show The Wild Thornberrys (strangely enough, the gibbering boy was voiced by the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea). He goes from the high pitched pseudo-scatting to take a moment to catch his breath (nearly thrity seconds, but it's all for effect). He laughs like a hyena, jostles his Adam's Apple to make bizarre noises, imitates a pig's snorts, grunts, shrieks, and all kinds of effects and imitations with his voice. The only thing that can even come close to real singing (on this track or the rest of the album) is at around 4:00 minutes when he breaks into an semi-operatic falsetto. Still no words, but if nothing else it reminds you that Patton can actually sing, he just choose to push teh boundaries of vocal cords (I have no problem with that). Litany V throws the instruments back into the fray for more frantic jazz, complete with another choir section. The album closes with Litany VI, which essentially takes pieces from the previous five tracks and combines them as a nice summary of things.

Zorn might just wind up the Frank Zappa of the 21st century. He is wildly prolific (check out his page here on PA, it justs goes on and on), and he is a master of the avant-garde compositon. Six Litanies is for me the RIO release of the year, even over Sleeytime Gorilla Museum's excellent In Glorious Times. Once again, the partnership between Zorn and Patton pays off well as the two feed off one another as the pioneers and masters of metal in opposition. The only issue I have is that V and VI have a little bit too much in common with teh previous tracks and don't explore new territory like the first four litanies did. They are still masterfully composed however, they just didn't throw me for a loop like the rest of the album. Still, fans of the avant-garde must pick this up as soon as possible.

Grade: B+


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Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Third in the line of Astronomic-related trilogy, this Moonchild trio's album is the best of all three.

Moonlight Trio is one of the most current John Zorn's project, and even from participating musicians line-up you can expect this project isn't so pleasant and easy listening, as Masada or The Dreamers. Mark Patton on vocals, Trevor Dunn on bass and Joey Baron on drums don't sound as very safe team of musicians, and guests are all the same - radical electronics artist Ikue Mori and Zorn himself, playing hard core free jazz attacking sax, between others.

Album's music than is what you expected - uncontrolled genius' madness. Possibly last time John's music sounded similar on Naked City releases, but there it was mostly punkish avant hard core. There, played by Moonchild trio, the music is eclectic mix of free jazz, brutal rhythms (rare example when even zeuhl influences could be recognised in Zorn's music), radical avant noise, screaming vocals (or just screams), some soundtracks themes, downtown atmosphere - and all mixed in one very theatrical brew!

If you're in mellow well-structured pleasant and comfortable prog for burgers, better leave this album where it is. If you're not very tolerant in what you're listen, and think Bjork music is extremal and almost extremist, better run from this album away. Believe me, most radical Bjork's screams sound as Moon Safari (nowadays Take That) comparing with "Six Litanies...".

This music will wake you up, will push your blood to circulate faster and your brains to work harder. Great album for those who is ready to listen to it!


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Latest members reviews

4 stars Rating: A If you don't know what a litany is, there's no shame in that. I didn't either when I first picked up John Zorn's Six Litanies for Heliogabalus. Finally, though, I cracked open my dictionary and discovered that litany has two meanings: 1. a prayer consisting of a series of supplic ... (read more)

Report this review (#162402) | Posted by Pnoom! | Friday, February 22, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Probably the best possible review for this gem are these simple two words: Very loud! But, to keep my honour as a reviewer, I must offer this masterpiece a full review. This is the third production from the Moonchild/Astronome line-up, with Trevor Dunn, Joey Baron, and Mike Patton at its core. Zo ... (read more)

Report this review (#159462) | Posted by Shakespeare | Monday, January 21, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Since I began listening to John Zorn I felt that his rock trio affair of Astronome and Moonchild rested near the bottom tier of his works. They were still very entertaining and well composed, but overall I felt they contain about the same elements of his superior works without the great variety of ... (read more)

Report this review (#142117) | Posted by Equality 7-2521 | Thursday, October 04, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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