John Zorn – Music and Its Double (2012)

John Zorn – Music and Its Double (2012) I’m not an “expert”, actually, not even a frequent and frenetic listener of contemporary symphonic music. But Zorn it’s Zorn, my curiosity was bigger then my fear of abstract, eventually unfriendly listening. And Zorn managed to grab my attention. Still, this is quite dark, dramatic, twisted out Wagnerian feels-like music, unfriendly and probably for most nerve-racking, or at least disturbing. The violin (the cello and ultimately the soprano… 😆 ) sometimes literally split your brain in two and makes your ears bleeding, while the tension it’s tenebrous and the dissonances makes you feel like you’re trapped in a horror movie – think of the Kubrick’s “The Shining” soundtrack. The four parts of “Ceremonial Magic” definitively fits that profile and vibe. Still, the work have a huge groove and Kenny Wollesen bang his drums like crazy. Zorn’s cinematic experiences are leaving their sonic finger-prints on his symphonic adventures as well. Don’t think that the closing one-act opera, “La Machine de l’Être”, because of the vocals it’s an easier piece. It’s not.
John Zorn is not only prolific, but also fascinating, he manage to express himself in so many different ways by different musical vehicles – just like any true Magician. And there is no doubt, Zorn it’s a Magician. Read more John Zorn – Music and Its Double (2012)

Emilie Autumn – Fight Like A Girl (2012)

World-class violinist. Fashion icon. Famously bipolar. Vegetarian turned vegan. Identifies herself as asexual, freak for some, idol for others, Emilie Autumn is one artist you may love or you may hate, but definitively hard to stay indifferent. And even further, listing – and living – through “F.L.A.G.” – her third installment – you may love one song and hate the next one while this is another tumultuous journey from glossy cabaret to Industrial chaos, from burlesque to Glam Rock and back to psychotic Steampunk, while she often labels her music and style as “Victoriandustrial”.
Her vocal work has been compared to Tori Amos and Kate Bush, while her music encompasses a wide range of styles, it was labeled “new age chamber music, trip-hop baroque, and experimental space pop”, as well as “cabaret, electronic, symphonic, new age, and rock & roll”. Things did not changed with “F.L.A.G.”, Emilie cry one moment and laugh the next one and the music follows her ever changing flow of mood. Not an easy walk through a sunny park Sunday at the noon, but a dark, fractured, fever burned trip on the wild side. For real and for delusion. Read more Emilie Autumn – Fight Like A Girl (2012)

Peter Gabriel – New Blood (2011)

Roughly one and a half years after “Scratch My Back”, the magician is back with another album recorded with orchestra and not classic rock, electronic instruments. Peter Gabriel after the release of “Up” back in 2002 said that he had a lot of songs and “I/O” will be released “within 18 months”. I’m still waiting that follow-up, but at least that “trick” of two albums within 18 months succeeded with “New Blood”. Still, I rather wished for listening the Gabriel I used to know. And don’t get me wrong, I grew up half on my mom’s symphonic, half on her’s rock (and not only) vinyls, but with all respect, Gabriel is not “some” – quite unappropriated way to put those things – Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Prokofiev just as Sting never ever gonna be a jazz musician, but nothing else than a punk rocker – and it’s absolutely not a bad thing to be yourself. I guess Gabriel being bored by electronic experiments and the rock s*it and this symphonic adventure seems to be his ultimate challenge. Read more Peter Gabriel – New Blood (2011)

Tori Amos – Night Of Hunters (2011)

Twisted and dark, Tori Amos is back. Hard or impossible to describe her gloomy universe, “Night Of Hunters” pays tribute to such renowned composers as Bach, Chopin, Debussy, Granados, Satie and Schubert and taking inspiration from their original compositions to create a new, independent work. She revealed that the work on the album began after Deutsche Grammophon approached her to write a 21st Century song cycle under the condition that it be centered around classical music themes. Regarding the album’s concept, she has described it as the exploration of “the hunter and the hunted and how both exist within us” through the story of “a woman who finds herself in the dying embers of a relationship.”
Beautiful and troubled, Tori Amos returned to her darker roots and delivered a dense and thrilling opera. Read more Tori Amos – Night Of Hunters (2011)