John Zorn, Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn & Joey Baron - Moonchild: Songs Without Words [2006]

John Zorn, Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn & Joey Baron - Moonchild: Songs Without Words [2006]

GENRE: Jazz, Avant Garde
STYLE: Jazz, Noise, Avant Garde, Alternative, Experimental
LABEL: Tzadik Records

Now here is a real treat for those of us who like for our music to be a little forward-thinking and belong to the oft-abused avant-garde category. Moonchild is a guided improvisation project led by none other than John Zorn (the father of 'extreme' avant-garde) and includes the incredibly talented Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn and Joey Byron as instrumentalists. The effect belongs to roughly the same category as similar experiments by Fushitsusha, Keiji Haino, Massacre, Ruins or Zeni Geva, although to me it actually seems like this is the most consistent and focused release of this kind yet.

John Zorn is not actually a performer on Moonchild. Instead, he is responsible for the whole concept of the project and for guiding the trio of great musicians that he invited to record it. Moonchild is influenced by such things as Alistair Crowley and Artonin Artaud and is supposed to be a hybrid of magickal spontaneity and ritualistic trance, at least according to Zorn's detailed notes. Even if we think of all of this as hogwash, the music on this record truly speaks for itself. This is absolutely brilliant stuff with all the performers going to much further extremes than they ever dared before. Especially Patton is incredible. Adding to his already impressive portfolio of techniques, he now also provides us with a bona-fide black metal screech, as well as some real death metal growls. Trevor Dunn outdoes himself on the bass, providing both a solid rhythm section and quite melodic riffs. The drummer, Joey Byron is a real animal and it really amazes me that he doesn't get lost amongst all the convoluted rhythms.

This is a masterpiece of a record and highly recommended to anyone interested in the more experimental sides of rock music. This might not come as a surprise considering the caliber of the musicians involved in this endeavor but a lot of things could have also gone wrong. They didn't.

1. Hellfire (4:07)
2. Ghosts of Thelema (4:32)
3. Abraxas (3:13)
4. Possession (5:21)
5. Caligula (1:47)
6. 616 (5:20)
7. Equinox (4:07)
8. Moonchild (6:51)
9. Part Maudit (2:49)
10. The Summoning (2:30)
11. Sorceress (4:37)

Moonchild: Songs Without Words
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