Intriguing game piece.
Michael Stack | North Chelmsford, MA USA | 04/28/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"John Zorn's game pieces are generally dense, difficult to understand, and make little sense without seeing them live-- essentially, they are rules for improvisation and interaction between musicians, often cued in various forms.
Having stated that, "Archery" seems to me a lot easier digestable than most of these. The concept is pretty straightforward, the twelve musicians (Robert Dick- flutes, game calls, Geroge Lewis- trombone, Zorn- reeds, gamescalls, Anthony Coleman- keys, Wayne Horvitz- keys, harmonica, electronics, Mark Kramer- synths and devices, Eugene Chadbourne- guitars, Bill Horvitz- guitar, Bill Laswell- bass guitars, Polly Bradfield- violin, Tom Cora- cello, David Moss- drums, percussion, voice) perform in duos and trios of various groups and permutations, keyed off by various events, stimulated in some fashion by one of the musicians or the prompter (in this case Mark Smith) or ther clock and reflected to the ensemble by the prompter. Because the game piece leaves so much room for interaction, and because these guys were getting quite good at playing together by this point, this one holds together a lot better.
The music on here is not conventionally structured or easy to digest, but it is intriguing, entertaining, and amusing. Remarkably, the rehearsal works as well as the album itself (and is nearly as long at 76 minutes vs. the album at about 87). There's not a lot to grab onto in terms of typically recognizable structures, but the musicianship is high and as long as you're willing to stretch out, the performance is enjoyable."