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Filmworks 1986-1990

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Album Review

Film Works 1986-1990 opens with John Zorn's first film score, White and Lazy. In just under ten minutes comes small capsules of instrumental punk, rockabilly, dark ambient, nightclub jazz, until "End Title," with vocals by Arto Lindsay, and soloing by Robert Quine (of Lou Reed's band), who Zorn regards as "a punk guitar genius." Next on the CD comes the music for The Golden Boat, a 1990 Raul Ruiz film. To parallel Ruiz' low budget, B-movie work, Zorn decided against timing out the music, and instead generated as much variety as possible — from pastoral to pipe organ — in a one day recording session. Zorn then chopped up the results, applying the discontinuous flow to the film. Certainly, the quirky eclecticism heard here is a telling precursor to later film works such as Film Works, Vol. 7. As a bonus, this volume also includes the 1987 short arrangement of Ennio Morricone's "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," which was recorded after Zorn was solicited by an advertising agency who had commissioned a reggae band, a string quartet, and a jazz group with the same task. "Main Title" moves in a driving piano-bass ostinato often heard in Ennio Morricone's work; also, it is almost the exact progression as that later heard in Andy Prieboy's scathing "New York Debut of an L.A. Artist (Jazz Crowd)." Getting the full last half hour of this release, the music for She Must Be Seeing Things has more space to develop, resulting in the most impressive and fully realized score, found in this first volume of film works. Although certainly a younger effort, there is a lot of good music on this first film works compilation. It is interesting to hear where Zorn's scores began. And, for what it's worth, this and all of the film works include well laid-out, beautiful liner notes.


Born: 02 September 1953 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The one word virtually everyone can agree on in any discussion of the work of composer John Zorn is "prolific," in the strictest sense of the definition. Though he didn't begin making records until 1980, the recordings under his own name number well over 100, and the sheer number of works he has performed on, composed, or produced easily doubles that number. Though now an internationally renowned musician and the founder and owner of the wildly successful and equally prolific Tzadik imprint, Zorn...
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