John Zorn's Simulacrum project rewrite radical organ trio template at Jazz em Agosto



King Crimson and tech-death titans such as Cynic and Atheist meet in the carousel of nightmares conjured by Simulacrum, the eviscerating triumvirate of guitarist Matt Hollenberg, organist John Medeski and drummer Kenny Grohowski. At this year's special John Zorn-themed Jazz em Agosto bash in Lisbon the trio pile riff upon riff from their curator's compositional scripts. Hollenberg, hunched over his instrument, lurches back and forth, alternating his attack between Earth Crisis's crunching chords and the angular gyp of former post-hardcore heroes such as Clikatat Ikatowi and Crom-Tech. Medeski vamps hard, drilling low-flying hornet squadrons from his Hammond, before plunging into a series of stammering jabs – grousing and grumbling in a deep-throb mastication of the blues. Someone pass the baking soda, that wooden crate's got a seriously dickey gut. Behind them, Grohowski (member of New York avant-metallers Imperial Triumphant) is a simpatico powerhouse, hair hanging down over his face as he rustles up some tribal beef, rousing double kick-drum whumps, epic tom-rolls and cymbal-snapping punctuations, recalling Dave Lombardo at his Reign In Blood peak. Testosterone levels reach savage proportions, but are gratefully tempered by migrations into horror soundtrack, astrological drift, klezmer, surf rock, sci-fi themes and cartoonish psychedelic odyssey in microcosm. Simulacrum live up to their name as a form of splendid caricature, emphasising, exaggerating and embodying the finest eclectic aspects and passions of John Zorn's unceasing creativity.

Spencer Grady
Photo by Petra Cvelbar (Gulbenkian Música)