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Album Review

Zorn, John (Abraxas) – “Psychomagia” – [Tzadik]

Thurston Hunger   6/11/2015   A Library, CD

Hmmm, under Zorn’s name but he’s strictly composer/arranger
here and Abraxas is the band performing the musical invocations
from the Z-man’s book o’ mystical musical moves. Actually
it ends up being a pretty straight-forward power surf rock
fest, swimming closer to the Mermen than the Beefheart shark
tank. Of course there are klezmerizing mesmerizing melodies,
but that’s not a stretch for surf, where you can hav a dozen
nagila’s without paddling too far. Guitarists Aram Bajakian
and Eyal Maoz are definitely string-slingers, 70’s US hard
rock, electric turks & *maybe* a cleaned up Rallies des Nudes
kind of Japanese bombast are all deployed. Perhaps too much
so for simple silver-haired surfers? But bald prog heads
might appreciate the hairy solo exploits. Bassist Shanir
Blumenkranz builds a solid sand wedge beneath where the
waves of guitar crash. Kenny Grohowski is pretty lively
on the skins (did I hear dual bass drum on #3?) lots of nice
rolls and fills through-out (especially #4). The Meta-title track
opens the CD on a high water mark. “Evocation of the Triumphant
Beast” is killer, in ways its less furious wailing wall of
sound worked better for me. Feb 2014 original release..
-Thurston Hunger

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