Skip to main content
Report this ad

See also:

John Zorn’s occult ditty

John Zorn’s occult ditty-slide0
Fair use, to illustrate article's context.

As per Wikipedia:

“John Zorn (born September 2, 1953) is an American avant-garde composer, arranger, producer, saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist with hundreds of album credits as performer, composer, and producer across a variety of genres including jazz, rock, hardcore, classical, surf, metal, klezmer, soundtrack, ambient and improvised music. He incorporates diverse styles in his compositions which he identifies as avant-garde or experimental.”

Of interest are his albums IAO, Rituals and Magick which featured the “Crowley Quartet.” He also has an album titled “Bar Kokhba” who was a false messiah and one titled, “Lucifer.”

The Wikipedia entry for IAO (album) notes:

“IAO (subtitled Music in Sacred Light) is an album by John Zorn released in 2002 on the Tzadik [Hebrew for righteous] label. The album was inspired by Aleister Crowley and his follower, filmmaker Kenneth Anger and draws its title from the Kabbalistic identity of IAO, the initials of Isis, Apophis and Osiris, used as a magical formula in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.”

All About Jazz notes (Farrell Lowe, John Zorn: IAO-Music in Sacred Light (2002), March 8, 2003 AD):

“An album of ritual, Magick, possible bloodletting, sex, and incantations, this recording is the aural equivalent of film director Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut.”

The label Tzadik’s site states the following:

“The name IAO is Kabbalistically identical to the Beast and his number 666…IAO is a hypnotic seven-movement suite of Alchemy, Mysticism, Metaphysics and Magic both black and white. Inspired in part by the esoteric works of Aleister Crowley and his magickal disciple, filmmaker Kenneth Anger, the seven movements range from hypnotic exotica, ritualistic percussion and death metal to ambient, electronica and a stunning piece for female chorus.”

The songs include, “Invocation,” “Sex Magick,” “Sacred Rites of the Left Hand Path” (Left Hand Path refers to black magick), “The Clavicle of Solomon,” “Lucifer Rising” (named after Anger’s film starring Aleister Crowley adherent Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, see here for video and here for article on this issue), “Leviathan” and “Mysteries.”

The songs on Magick are “Necronomicon: Conjurations,” “Necronomicon: The Magus,” “Necronomicon: Thought Forms,” “Necronomicon: Incunabula,” “Necronomicon: Asmodeus” and “Sortilège.” All of which are references to deep black magick.

Rituals’ songs are simply titled I, II, III, IV and V.

Paolo Baroni wrote (“Tutti Pazzi Per Crowley [Something about Crowley],” Centro Sangiorgio, December 27, 2013 AD):

“John Zorn is a composer, saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist U.S. Although little known to the general public, Zorn is a very active musician, with more than a hundred albums to his name and an activity that ranges from a variety of musical genres. Among His best known projects include the experimental rock group acoustic or electric Masada and the supergroup Naked City. Zorn Also Has Collaborated with the Painkiller, a band criticized heavily for a particularly violent album covers. Many later compositions Zorn are inspired by mysticism and the works of Aleister Crowley, and in particular Magick (2004), a concerto for strings of [George] Crowley Quartet on the Necronomicon…On the cover is engraved in print that Illustrates the witches’ ​​sabbath.

In…Invocation…Zorn seems to want to evoke the spirit of the English magickian during a séance [a footnote states, “Even during the live concerts, Zorn evokes the spirit of Crowley” and directs one to a video here].

Magical seals appear on the cover of this LP. In the same vein is the album Rituals (Tzadik 2005), which appears to be a goat. In 2006 he recorded Moonchild: Songs Without Words (Tzadik Records), an album clearly inspired by the work Moonchild Crowley and Thelema.

Then there Ipsissimus (Tzadik 2010), an album that takes its name from the highest grade of Crowley’s…Argentium Astrum.

John Zorn has stated (Michael Goldberg, “John Zorn [interview],” BOMB 80/Summer 2002 AD):

“It’s like self-hypnosis, in a sense. When I’m writing, sometimes it gets to that place where I feel like the piece is writing itself and I’m trying not to get in the way. I’m getting ready to write a piece now, and it’s been six months thinking about it, changing the instrumentation, changing the name, doing more reading. I’m reading a lot of Aleister Crowley.”

In other words, he is channeling / automatic writing.

Pitchfork noted (Dominique Leone, “John Zorn IAO Tzadik; 2002,” August 1, 2002 AD):

“John Zorn has been living on the edge of deviance for some time now. In the mid-80s, during his six month sojourns to Japan, repeated exposure to extreme porn and S&M; rubbed off on him—enough to find a place in his compositions with Naked City and afterwards.

He's produced soundtracks for South American gay porn, placed dead bodies and decapitated heads on his CD covers (there's a pentagram on the back of this one), and composed whole albums about deadly poisons. Zorn seems tempted by the dark side, and it often brings out the best in him.

IAO is his meditation on evil, specifically concerned with the Beast (the name IAO is Kabbalistically identical to 'Satan')…‘Invocation,’ follows Crowley's ritual model, and its clanging cymbals and use of null space…I won't bring up the backwards-singing choir or voodoo sticks…‘Leviathan’ features…chaotic percussion (which eventually inverts to being played backwards mid-song…”


Feel free to take advantage of the free subscription to this page so that you will get an email notification when something is posted herein—see subscribe link above, next to my name…or just CTRL+F and search for “subscribe.”

Find us on:

Main (repository) homepage




Report this ad