John Zorn
The Big Gundown


4.5
superb

Review

by Zig'haloperidol USER (61 Reviews)
November 1st, 2016 | 14 replies


Release Date: 1984 | Tracklist

Review Summary: John Zorn plays the music of Ennio Morricone.

'The Big Gundown' was released in 1985. In the beginning, John Zorn didn't want to accept the project, that was suggested by producer Yale Evelev, because he thought that Morricone's music was already too perfect on itself. But fortunately, as Morricone was one of Zorn's major influences, he couldn't resist the temptation.

Now, John Zorn takes Morricone's music, strips it down to the bone, keeps only the essential and builds it up again, not so much a record of covers, but as re-incarnations. Zorn appropriates Morricone's music to himself. Most of the soundtracks present are from Western Spaghetti and Italian crime films, (except for 'Tre Nel 5000', the only track composed by Zorn).

But it is John Zorn, so all pieces are heavily reworked. Zorn uses different teams of musicians for each track, Bill Frisell and Fred Frith are between them. The musical width on 'The Big Gundown' is very eclectic mix of some original movie sound from the 60's and 70's, neoclassic minimalism, free jazz techniques, avant-garde noises, heavy-rock and blues moments as well. Some of the big moments for me are: a Free Jazz influenced nerve racking guitar sawing like: 'The Big Gundown'; a kind of medley 'Once Upon a Time in the West'; 'Erotico', a "erotic soul" with Big John Patton's great organ playing; the Japanese Music influenced 'Giu La Testa'; and the delicate 'Poverty' with Toots Thielmans on whistling and harmonica playing. On the Bonus Tracks, present on the 15th Anniversary Edition released in 2000, there is even a possible 'hit single': 'The Ballad of Hank McCain' with Mike Patton on vocals; and a "Bar Kokhba" version of 'The Sicilian Clan'.

All in all, the album is a brilliant re-interpretation of Morricone classics. Some pieces are beautiful, some noises are out of place, and almost nothing is in balance, just chaotically mixed. But all is build in a very strange way and in it's own manner beautiful atmosphere, when you don't need to see the films to listen this soundtracks. They are kind of art by itself.



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user ratings (48)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Mad.
November 1st 2016


4743 Comments


Good review and great stuff

JigglyPDiddy
November 1st 2016


3354 Comments


Awesome review and I did NOT know this existed. I gotta get on top of it.

FullOfSounds
November 1st 2016


15770 Comments


Interested in this

DrJohn
November 1st 2016


1041 Comments


pos

Veldin
November 1st 2016


3778 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pos'd. Amazing album and the re-issue tracks are absolutely necessary

Polyethylene
November 1st 2016


4677 Comments


I love me some Zorn, need to get onto this

GhettoHmbrglr
November 1st 2016


980 Comments


Will check out. Been getting really into his work this past year.

Veldin
November 1st 2016


3778 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Make 2017 the year of Zorn. You won't regret it. Yr friends might avoid you, but you'll always have Zorn. And Uncle Patton periodically

GhettoHmbrglr
November 2nd 2016


980 Comments


now that's a movement i can get behind

EasterInTheBatcave
November 3rd 2016


311 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Always glad to see a Zorn review

MillionDead
November 3rd 2016


1061 Comments


Zorn is easily one of my favorite composers ever. He basically blends everything I could ever like and arranges it in a way that actually sounds cohesive. Genius. Great review as well.

Zig
November 3rd 2016


1546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, people!

Zorn is an universe of music. Don't know other modern composer as "complete" and productive as him.

Digging: Carl Stalling - The Carl Stalling Project

Donchivo
June 2nd 2017


736 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is a great album. And it's the Zorn-Album i come back to the most often... maybe because it is rather accesible compared to other works of his and because I love Morricone.



Digging: Drug Church - CHEER

rabidfish
April 7th 2018


4785 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh shit, BUMP

Digging: Blizzi Boi - Europa



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