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THE DREAMERS

John Zorn

RIO/Avant-Prog


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John Zorn The Dreamers album cover
3.40 | 12 ratings | 4 reviews | 8% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Mow Mow (3:04)
2. Ullwati (3:37)
3. A Ride on Cottonfair (4:22)
4. Anulikwutsayl (9:02)
5. Toys (2:47)
6. Of Woner & Certainty (4:30)
7. Mystic Circles (6:08)
8. Nekashim (3:57)
9. Exodus (7:02)
10. Forbidden Tears (3:07)
11. Raksasa (5:15)

Total Time 52:48

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

-Marc Ribot / guitar
-Jamie Saft / Fender Rhodes, piano, Farfisa organ
-Trevor Dunn / bass
-Kenny Wollesen / vibraphone
-Cyro Baptista / percussion
-Joey Baron / drums

Releases information

CD Tzadik (TZ 7366), March 2008

Thanks to silentman for the addition
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JOHN ZORN The Dreamers ratings distribution


3.40
(12 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
8%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(58%)
58%
Good, but non-essential (25%)
25%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

JOHN ZORN The Dreamers reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Anthony H.
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars John Zorn: The Dreamers [2008]

Rating: 6/10

The Dreamers is the fourth volume in John Zorn's Music Romance series. This series displays a different side of John Zorn musical personality. For the most part, these albums are focused on the more melodic side of his sound. Zorn is a man of many talents. While he may be best known for his ear-splitting free-jazz insanity, he is also capable of making harmonious - and, at times, downright pretty - music. Such is the case with The Dreamers. This is an eclectic release; it touches on melodic jazz, surf music, psychedelic rock, blues, and soft-rock. Although I greatly enjoy Zorn's melodic compositions, I was not particularly impressed with this release. There are a few excellent tracks here, but the album as a whole is bit too pleasant for its own good. It often feels like background music that would not be out of place at a cocktail party. There are tracks here that your grandmother probably wouldn't mind listening to.

"Mow Mow" opens the album with some pleasant surf-rock. Marc Ribot's guitar is excellent, but this piece is mostly uninteresting otherwise. "Uluwati" features a catchy main theme, but not much else. "A Ride on Cottonfair" is an excellent piano-centered melodic jazz piece ala Vince Guaraldi. "Anulikwutsayl" is a psychedelic guitar jam that overstays its welcome for about four minutes. Zorn breaks out his sax on "Toys." This piece is both melodic and cacophonous, with insane electric piano and vibes. It's quite an interesting listen. "Of Wonder and Certainty (For Lou Reed)" is another uninteresting surf piece. The soft surf/jazz continues on the needlessly repetitive "Mystic Circles." "Nekashim" is a boring track redeemed by fantastic vibe work. "Exodus" is the definite highlight of the album. It's a psychedelic jam with phenomenal organ drones. "Forbidden Tears" is another dull surf piece. "Rakassa" ends the album nicely with more searing guitar work from Ribot.

The Dreamers is a nice album, but it fails to provide any sort of solid substance. The light atmosphere, coupled with the needless repetition, brings this bit too close to musak for my tastes. The musicianship is superb, particularly from Marc Ribot, but the compositions don't normally give the musicians enough room to spread their wings. This being said, there are some great tracks to be found here. However, these good ideas are often extended beyond their reasonable capacities. There isn't much to hate on this release, but there isn't much to love, either. The Dreamers is nicely polished, but there's little to be found beneath the gloss.

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Review by Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Approaching the fifth port-of-call on my weeklong odyssey across the vast and (to me, at least) uncharted ocean of John Zorn's musical catalogue, I've suddenly crossed into more temperate latitudes. It's hard to believe this easygoing 2008 album was released only 14-months after the avant-metal sado-masochism of his "Six Litanies for Heliogabalus". Maybe that earlier project succeeded in purging all the venom out of Zorn's blood, leaving nothing behind except a colorful residue of jazzy surf music, like something a party of beatniks would play at a seaside bonfire on a warm summer evening.

The gently reverberating guitar of Marc Ribot is the spotlight instrument here, alongside Kenny Wollesen's snappy vibraphones. And while I hate to lean on the crutch of easy comparison (always the emptiest freight car in a critic's train of thought), it's worth noting a similarity to the genre-busting Brooklyn nu-jazz of Medeski Martin & Wood. The connection isn't a coincidence, either. Ribot has played on several MMW albums, and John Medeski was a guest at a few John Zorn sessions.

The album itself was designed to put a smile on your face. I'm not the only listener to hear a resemblance to Vince Guaraldi's iconic "Peanuts" theme music, particularly in the opening tracks. Just try to hear "A Ride on Cottonfair" without imagining Charlie Brown wearing a trim goatee on his chin and a beret atop his prematurely bald head.

After that the music becomes a little more explorative, but without sacrificing the carefree air of Roots Rock innocence. The unpronounceable "Anulikwutsayl" is a neon-lit fantasia of mystery and menace; the former audible in Jamie Saft's eerie after-hours Farfisa organ; and the latter in Ribot's increasingly agitated electric guitar, all played over a slow, repetitive bass guitar ostinato recalling one of Miles Davis' post- "Bitches Brew" experiments. "Mystic Circles" is another hypnotic collage of heartbeat grooves and exotic percussion accents. And the closing track "Raksasa" was named for a malevolent Hindu deity, depicted in what must have been one of his more upbeat moods.

The album (later the band itself) was well-named, as a collection of lucid dreams recalled in almost perfect clarity. The music of John Zorn, as even a newcomer like me will quickly learn, can sometimes be unfathomable...but not this time. And from here onward along my improvised journey through his bottomless discography, the forecast is much the same: sunny, but cool.

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Latest members reviews

2 stars 2.5 stars. At first listen, this one seems fairly similar to Zorn's seminal album O'o, but after a few more this one pales a bit in comparison. It becomes evident that the only reason one could compare the two is because of the ever-present vibraphones throughout. The addition of some country ... (read more)

Report this review (#285530) | Posted by Triceratopsoil | Monday, June 07, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Rating: B As most artists these days content themselves to a release every two years or so (maybe annually if they're efficient), John Zorn continues to prove himself the most efficient of them all, releasing upwards of three albums each year. After one great one earlier in the year (FIlmworks ... (read more)

Report this review (#165374) | Posted by Pnoom! | Sunday, March 30, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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