At the Mountains of Madnessby Electric Masada
John Zorn's At the Mountains of Madness presents two sets (Moscow, Ljubljana) recorded at the end of a lengthy European tour. The band is exactly the same as on The 50th Birthday Celebration, Vol. 4 and many of the same tunes are performed, but the performances actually feel very different. Perhaps there was something of wanting to put on a good show for the Europeans vs. playing comfortably at home in familiar surroundings (at Tonic), but this set is a good deal rowdier than the 50th Birthday Celebration. Certainly, the band is at the top of their game after all the touring, and everyone seems to have kicked up the energy a notch or two. There's a lot more conducted improvisation than on the previous Electric Masada release. Ikue Mori's laptop contributions seem to play a more prominent role, and Marc Ribot does some thoroughly deranged things with a delay (which haven't been heard on an album before). Jamie Saft and Zorn are also in fine form and the rhythm section is amazing, especially the dual drum attack of Kenny Wollesen and Joey Baron. Thanks to their improvisational skills, you hardly notice that the program is much the same on both discs. Score another one for John Zorn and company. At the Mountains of Madness is a winner.
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