Taboo and Exile would have made for a really nice “greatest hits” collection for John Zorn.
Of course, Zorn doesn’t write hits, and Taboo and Exile consists entirely of new works.
The album still serves as a perfect introduction to Zorn. Each track somehow includes everything that’s marked Zorn’s repetoire.
There’s some guitar-heavy, punk-influenced, improvisatory work that harkens to Zorn’s Naked City/Painkiller days (“Shaalapalassi,” “Sacrifist”, “Bull’s Eye,” the latter of which features ex-Faith No More singer Mike Patton.)
There’s some nice, Jewish-influenced works that was probably borne from Masada (“Mayim,” “Seraim.”)
There’s some moody stuff that recalls Zorn’s Film Works series (“A Tiki for Blue,” “Oracle”), and one track sounds like a distant cousin to Zorn’s earlier work, New Traditions in East Asian Bar Bands (“Koryojang,” which also harkens to Zorn’s aborted score to the film Latin Playboys Go to Hell.)
All the best bits that make John Zorn such an appealing musician — in spite his efforts to create some of the most disturbing music on the planet — are contained on this one disc.
See? Maybe it is a greatest hits collection in disguise.