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John Zorn - Film Works XIX: The Rain Horse CD (album) cover


John Zorn



4.23 | 15 ratings

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4 stars No appreciation of John Zorn would be complete without a study of his many film scores, all of them for movies unlikely to ever open at your local multiplex: indie art projects, obscure documentaries, and so forth. Number nineteen in his Filmworks catalogue, released in 2008, was commissioned for an austere but often stunning piece of alt-animation by Russian artist Dimitri Geller: a wordless dream-parable of death and rebirth in the natural world.

Geller originally approached Zorn to borrow songs from his Book of Angels archive for the film. But Zorn, as always an incredibly prolific composer (scroll down his page in these Archives for proof), offered instead to write an original score, and in typical fashion recorded and mixed the entire album in a single day.

It's a thing of beauty too, and one of the few soundtrack albums able to stand apart from its parent film as a totally unique and equally worthwhile experience. Hardly surprising, since Geller's 15-minute movie used only a fraction of the music cues collected here, each one a miniature instrumental objet d'art all by itself.

The music couldn't be simpler: graceful yet haunting melodies, drawn from eastern European traditions and arranged for an uncluttered acoustic trio of cello, upright bass and piano, the latter sometimes gently muted by an application of (!) Silly Putty. Is it Jazz? Classical? Gypsy Folk-Art? Whatever the answer, the full album is a joy to hear, and in its own modest way remains one of the highlights of John Zorn's immense musical library.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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