John Zorn

August 16, 2006

Book of Heads

A John Zorn album that’s a Marc Ribot album that’s a Eugene Chadbourne album – sort of….
Thirty-five little etudes of varying lengths played by the brilliant Marc Ribot, each displaying one unorthodox guitar technique after another, in a piece Zorn originally wrote for Chadbourne.

From the liner notes by John Zorn:

Composed in the summer of 1978 at a time when I was spending almost every day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in search of inspiration, this music was originally written for and is dedicated to guitarist Eugene Chadbourne. Meant to GAS him, and to stretch his already prodigious virtuosity to even wilder extremes, many of the extended techniques used here (toy balloons, talking dolls, mbira keys, wet finger whoops) were learned from him and were an integral part of his improvisational language at that time. Others are standard to contemporary classical guitar notation (body knocks, whisks, bowing, multiple harmonics) and still others were the product of my own sick imagination (playing with pencils, rice, pulling strings out of the bridge notch).
Marc Ribot tackles all of these effects with unusual precision and an astounding virtuosity, adding his own personal touches to make the music even more beautiful than I could have imagined.

I don’t know if anyone’s shared this one in the past or not, but I thought as long as we’re on a Chadbourne binge…

Get it here.



  1. i find this one really bad.. i don’t feel any pleasure..
    Could you explain it?
    i prefer when Ribot plays on Masada Guitar..

  2. I too found it really aggravating and irritating when I first got it.
    This may not be the case with you, but subsequent plays – when I was in another frame of mind – made it rather enjoyable.
    But I do prefer Ribot’s playing in other projects to this.
    Perhaps I’ll put up some of his Cuban stuff?

  3. with los cubanos postizos!
    i don’t have the second one, do you have it?

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