Filmworks XIV: Hiding and Seeking by John Zorn
By
Vincent Francone
8/14/2003 8:28:51 AM

In John Zorn's ongoing and ever increasing canon of work, the series of compositions called Filmworks seems to be some of his most popular. Rightfully so when one measures them against such avant garde work as Cobra and the "game pieces" or the free form madness of Painkiller. As challenging and--more times than not-- rewarding as these complex recording are, the Filmworks releases have often served as a world where Zorn could indulge his innate sense of melody and subsequently allow his fans to see a different, more accessible side of the experientialist. Filmworks XIV: Hiding and Seeking [Tzadik] is the epitome of this different, softer side.

Following the wonderful Morricone and Nino Rota-inspired Filmworks XII: Invitation to a Suicide, Hiding and Seeking is a fantastic accompaniment to a film dealing with holocaust survival. Made up of music composed for classical guitar, upright bass, vibraphone, percussion and voice, the result is shocking in its pure beauty. On board are Zorn regulars Marc Ribot, Trevor Dunn, Kenny Wollesen and Cyro Baptista (whose Beat the Donkey, a 2002 Tzadik release, is one of the most fun and exhilarating records I've heard in some time,) as well vocalist Ganda Suthivarakom, background singer of the Smoky and Miho outfit. These are players at the top of their form, second to none and perfectly suited to execute the commands of mastermind Zorn.

In part a combination of Jewish and classical melodies not unlike the territory Zorn has again and again explored with Masada, Hiding and Seeking feels like music that has always been, that makes perfect sense and that will endure as not only one of his better recordings but as something for the ages. It is subtle, alluring and haunting in a way that speaks volumes. This is truly a record not to missed. Absolutely essential for fans and a perfect place for newcomers to dive into the rich, bizarre and amazing world of John Zorn.

 

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