The latest in John Zorn‘s second Masada songbook, the highly melodic and dynamic Book of Angels, the 10 songs on Alastor come courtesy of master composer and violist / multi-instrumentalist Eyvind Kang. Though Kang generally skews towards classical, chamber, and ambient, his take on Zorn’s hand-picked selections is a surprising and gorgeous collision of styles.
“Hakem” opens with synthesized accents and a strong Indian and Persian inflection—elements that recurs, particularly in epic film-score motifs. The usual Jewish overtones pair with jazzy undertones, and string quartets blend with exotica and lounge sounds. A bit of Steve Reich-ian minimalism appears on “Rachiel,” a piece that includes extra-reverberated percussion and a trumpet freak-out. In all, it’s a beautiful collection—and yet another new interpretation of Zorn’s compositions.