I was first introduced to John Zorn back in the early nineties after hearing his production work on the first (commercially released) Mr. Bungle album. The first record I picked up was his excellent ambient work ‘Elegy’, which featured several members of Mr. Bungle, including Trey Spruance and Mike Patton. I’d never, at age 15, ever heard anything quite so weird, intense and disjointed in my life; the effect was something that would change my music-listening life forever. Basically, ever since I first ‘got’ Bungle and Zorn, I could never really ‘get’ why pop music was fun to listen to. Not only had ‘what’ I listened to changed, but also’ how’ I listened; it was like my ability to consume music had been totally rewired.

Elegy really was only the tip of the iceberg though, Zorn covers a huge amount of bases musically, from Thrash Jazz, to improv, to Jewish compositions, to pieces for suprano (and many many others). I actually think if you were to sit back and absorb the days worth of music in this mans ouvre, you might possibly go mad:

Zorn very rarely does interviews, which to me, adds even more ‘mystique’ to the mix. The problem with this, however, is the ‘need-to-know-every-detail-about-this-music’ side of me is left vastly unsatisfied. Sure, you could argue that Zorn’s label Tzadik’s recently released ‘A Bookshelf on Top of the Sky’ DVD covers a lot of bases; BUT I NEED MORE.

Thankfully, on one of my trawls of the Internets looking for interesting things, I found this excellent Q&A with the man, which I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I did:

***If this isn’t working in your browser (it’s archive.org, cmon), you can watch it here***

Ken Eakins

About the Author

Ken Eakins is a filmmaker and weird stuff enthusiast from the South of England.

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