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Moonchild Trio - Six Litanies for Heliogabalus CD (album) cover


Moonchild Trio



4.16 | 43 ratings

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5 stars John Zorn's "Moonchild Trio" is a project of extreme contrasts. What else could you expect when the trio is made up of Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn and Joey Baron? To make this the most enjoyable and craziest music out there, Zorn was the only thing missing. His compositions always stretch the limits, but this group of extremely talented musicians stretch it to the breaking point. The question is, will it be the music or your head that will break first?

This is what I consider the best of the Moonchild Trio albums; "Six Litanies for Heliogabalus". These six kaleidoscopic tracks make up some of the most dynamic music out there, ranging from frantic bits of screaming and loud chaos to soft and almost sensual passages within each track. The thing that makes this one the best of the projects in their discography is that it is the most dynamic and variant of all of them.

You probably already know that Mike Patton can do amazing things with his voice and that there simply is no match for his vocalizations, same as you know that he and Trevor Dunn worked together in Mr. Bungle, and that Dunn's bass is some of the most amazing bass put on record anywhere, and that is proven here on this album over and over again. But Joey Baron, who has worked in another project called Electric Masada also along with Dunn is probably the least known of the three, but with his crazy drumming skills, he should be on a level with the other two.

Besides those three, on this album, Zorn plays the sax like a madman, and at times even can make you think they have captured a frantic squealing pig, that Patton is trying to mimic that pig as they torture it with an onslaught of pounding bass, and, of course, the excellent swashes of organ by Jamie Saft and further electronics of Ikue Mori. Add three other vocalists (Martha Cluver, Abby Fishcer, and Kirsten Soller) that come in with choir parts and other sounds, and you have the best and most concise of the Moonchild Trio albums.

Yes there are plenty of outbursts of mayhem and chaos, as you would expect, but in this case, there are also plenty of contrasts to that too. The harmonies done by the 3 other singers give you a feeling of peace and tranquility, yet underlying their sound is a feeling of unease, and when Zorn adds his sax to the choir with the twinkling of dissonant electronics and Patton's heavy breathing, (I'm talking about "Litany Pt. 3" specifically here), the unease just can't be denied. But get ready, Patton is about to let out the most hair-raising scream you've probably ever heard, and then the music melts into a heavy rock cavalcade of organ, wild bass and frantic drums in an amazing instrumental showcase. This is just an example of what to expect here, the most unpredictable music most people will ever hear, and most of them probably won't tolerate it.

The question is, are you prepared for this? I'll tell you now, you have never heard anyone scat like Patton does at the beginning of Pt. 4. The man is crazy. It you are curious and ready for anything, this is the album to hear out of all of their albums. Easily their best as a trio, and one of the best of any output by any of them. Notice I say one of the best as each one of them have had some amazing albums. Just know that this is avant-garde craziness. You'll laugh, cry, and run away in a panic at Patton's antics, but the fact that everyone else involved is just as amazing will either make your head explode or your speakers melt, and now we've come around full circle, the question is, are you ready for this?

TCat | 5/5 |


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