WTF?! Wednesdays: John Zorn and Thurston Moore, “Jazz Laundromat” (2013)

I was having a little trouble concentrating at work yesterday afternoon, so I got my listening equipment ready and declared that the task at hand required some “squeaky music.” A co-worker raised an eyebrow, so I proceeded to unplug my earbuds for a few seconds to give him a listen. After about 10 seconds of quivering electric guitar torture set against some angry saxophone squall, he turned to me and said “Why…would you put yourself through that?”

It’s a good question, I suppose, though it seems likely I’ll never arrive at a reason that’s concrete enough to satisfy the exasperation. I mean, I do love how Zorn and Moore listen to each other. On “Jazz Laundromat,” the process results in textures that produce so much tension it can make a person feel almost itchy with nervous excitement. I don’t know what I like better, the shriek of Zorn’s sax hurled against Moore’s barely-controlled feedback, or the industrial moan that develops as Zorn floats some low tones over Moore’s growling, razor wire rumbles.

For fans of truly WTF-inflected music, the coming together of John Zorn and Thurston Moore is something of a free jazz miracle. The results are staggering…just don’t make me explain it.

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he writes several weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.