The Squid's Ear Magazine

Cleric (John Zorn - Masada Book 3): The Book Beri'ah Vol 2 | Chokhma (Tzadik)

John Zorn's Masada Book Three, "The Book Beri'ah", continues in its second volume with this powerful and demanding album from the Philadelphia avant-metal band of Ludovic Beier on accordion & accordina, Timba Harris on violins, Matt Hollenberg on guitars & Oud, Dan Kennedy on bass, Larry Kwartowitz on drums, and Nick Shellenberger on keyboards & vocals.

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product information:

UPC: 702397510222

Label: Tzadik
Catalog ID: CD-TZA-5102
Squidco Product Code: 27207

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Orange Music Sound Studios, in West Orange, New Jersey, August 2016 to March 2017, by James Dellatacoma.


Ludovic Beier-accordion, accordina

Timba Harris-violins

Matt Hollenberg-guitars, Oud

Dan Kennedy-bass

Larry Kwartowitz-drums, percussion

Nick Shellenberger-keyboards, vocals

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Matt Hollenberg, Dan Kennedy, Nick Shellenberger, Larry Kwartowitz, Timba Harris, Ludovic Beier At the forefront of the new rock complexity, Cleric is one of the most cutting edge bands out of the experimental Metal community. Here they put their hand to 9 compositions from Masada Book Three, weaving them into insane arrangements of epic proportions. Outrageous, exhilarating and intense music that combines Metal with modern classical, jazz and the Jewish tradition. You have never heard such sounds in your life!"-Tzadik

"Cleric is an American avant-garde metal band based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Formed in 2003, their initial lineup consisted of guitarist Matt Hollenberg, drummer Larry Kwartowitz, vocalist Nick Shellenberger and bassist Chris Weindel. After their first EP Chris Weindel was replaced by James Lynch, who was succeeded by bassist Daniel Ephraim Kennedy in 2012. Informed by metal pioneers such as Meshuggah, Converge, Fantômas, and Neurosis, the band is known for their experimental approach to grindcore, doom and avant-garde metal."-Wikipedia

Artist Biographies

"Born in 1978, Ludovic Beier learned the accordion from his father and benefits from being part of a musical family. He was brought up in the French tradition of the instrument and turned to jazz a few years ago. He has a spirited, adventurous style which strays into all kinds of byways.

He is playing on the French and European scene with some of the top players of the Django/Swing Jazz style including Angelo Debarre, Dorado Schmitt, Florin Niculescu...He certainly is giving the accordion a new name as his fingers go across the keys in an almost unbelievable way, both swinging and amazingly creative in his improvisation. Along with his virtuoso playing, he composes and arranges, and has his own band, Ludovic Beier Quartet, to perform his "cool and latin" French jazz. He has an impressive technique and also a great dose of lyricism with a band that keeps him at full stretch. Accordion will never be the same under his knowledgeable hands, and the new directions he takes. Besides playing around Europe at top festivals and clubs, he appeared in the States with the Django Reinhardt Project, performing at Birdland (NYC) with guests such as Paquito D'Rivera, at Lincoln Center with Joe Lovano, at Yoshis (CA) with David Sanchez, and last summer at the Montreal International Jazz Festival with Angelo Debarre and James Carter where he brought the house down. He also had the honour to perform at Carnegie Hall with Toots Thielemans among a prestigious line up including Herbie Hancock, Ivan Lins and Eliane Elias." (

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"Timba Harris (born September 21, 1977) is a violinist, violist, trumpet player, and composer. He is an active touring and recording member of Trey Spruance's Secret Chiefs 3, a founding member of the band Estradasphere, and one half of the electroacoustic chamber duo Probosci. His large ensemble works have been recorded for John Zorn's Tzadik Records, and his playing and orchestral arrangements can be found on recordings throughout the experimental rock world and on video games and film. Harris has performed in theaters, halls, clubs, and festivals in over 45 countries throughout North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. He has been based in several locations during his career, including Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, Seattle, New York, England, and France.

Timothy "Timba" Bruce Harris was born in 1977 in Burbank, California. During his childhood and teenage years, he studied and performed classical music, percussion, wind ensemble music, and played iconic rock clubs on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood with his heavy metal band Insanity.

From 1995-2000, he attended the University of California, Santa Cruz, studying trumpet performance and violin performance, the latter under Roy Malan. Here he formed the band Estradasphere with schoolmates, which became his first international touring ensemble and led to working relationships with the larger professional worlds of contemporary classical music, avant-garde jazz, and experimental rock.

Timba Harris is a longtime multi-instrumentalist in Trey Spruance's musical exploration into mysticism, Secret Chiefs 3, an offshoot of Mr. Bungle. Since performing with the band during a US tour with Harris's band Estradasphere in the summer of 2000, he has been a perpetual presence on Secret Chiefs 3's recordings and in performances, including the Xaphan: Book of Angels Volume 9 ensemble, which performs and records interpretations of John Zorn's Masada music.

Estradasphere, formed in 1999, toured the US and Europe during the 2000s. They released several recordings and movies on Mimicry Records and The End Records before disbanding in 2009. In 2007, the band met Amanda Palmer (of the Dresden Dolls) and collaborated on Palmer's projects including her 2007 album Who Killed Amanda Palmer and her duo with Jason Webley, Evelyn Evelyn, culminating in an invite-only, multi-day live performance at the band's Seattle compound.

Harris's work, beginning in the mid-2000s, with composer and guitarist Gyan Riley (son of the American composer Terry Riley) in the Gyan Riley Trio, first with drummer Scott Amendola and then Ches Smith, led to an enduring musical relationship with Riley, which in 2014 became a duo named Probosci. The duo, comprised of Harris and Riley, composes pieces for each other, which are then performed electro-acoustically on violin and classical/electric guitar. Since 2014, the group has performed throughout North America, South America, and Europe, and released their first recording, Time to Feed, on Mimicry Records.

After becoming involved with the New York Arabic Orchestra in 2012, both as a performer and an administrator, Harris subsequently formed Arabic/rock fusion band Al Madar with the NYAO's directors, Lebanese multi-instrumentalist Basam Saba and percussionist April Centrone. Al Madar has performed at the Beirut Jazz Festival in Lebanon, the Sines Festival Músicas do Mundo in Portugal, and Joe's Pub in Manhattan.

Timba Harris has appeared frequently with the contemporary music ensemble New Music Works in Santa Cruz, California. As "guest artist" and "featured artist," he has performed NMW director Phil Collins live music scores for Metropolis and Nosferatu, as well as the world premiere of Harris's own composition, neXus I: Cascadia with the New Music Works ensemble and the Ariose Singers.

Harris toured and recorded with the Seattle-based band led by Randall Dunn, Master Musicians of Bukkake, during their Totem Trilogy era (2009-2011).

imba Harris's composition neXus I: Cascadia (2011), for choir and electroacoustic instrumental ensemble, is a "musical representation of the natural environment of the Pacific Northwest with a focus on transitional processes." The musical narrative focuses on the life cycle of the monarch butterfly, the seasonal behavior of the black bear, and the eruption of Mount Saint Helens. The 45-minute piece is a set of compositions and controlled improvisations informed by data concerning the subject matter and recorded and composed in a back-and-forth process that defined the ultimate musical result. The choral movements were recorded by the 85-member CSULB University Choir under the baton of Dr. Jonathan Talberg.

Harris other compositional and playing styles make use of elements of Arabic, Romanian, contemporary classical, and rock music. An essay written by Harris on this subject was published in John Zorn's Arcana III: Musicians on Music (2008).

Timba Harris composes and records solo, chamber, and large ensemble collaborations with other artists such as Eyvind Kang, Stephen O'Malley (Ensemble Pearl) and Grails.

As a session musician and performer, Harris has also contributed to composers' work such as John Zorn, Peter Garland, Eyvind Kang, and Toby Driver. He appears on recordings by Mr. Bungle, Amanda Palmer, and several projects produced by Randall Dunn, including albums by Wolves in the Throne Room and Sunn O))). He also provided the violin and trumpet performances on the soundtracks for the popular Valve Corporation video games Left 4 Dead 2 and Team Fortress 2."

-Wikipedia (

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Guitarist Matt Hollenberg was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is a member of iNFiNiEN, Cleric, Cetus, and has performed with John Frum. He studied Liberal arts at Community College of Philadelphia, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

-Matt Hollenberg Facebook page (§ion=education&pnref=about)

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Daniel Ephraim Kennedy, aka Dan Kennedy, is the bassist for the Philadelphia-based band Cleric.

-Squidco 9/25/2023

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"For nearly 17 years drummer Larry Kwartowitz has been at the percussion-helm of Philly's avant-metal/spazzy-soundtrack/ purveyors of controlled chaos; Cleric!!

We get into the ups downs, tragedy's and other madness of Cleric's career, stolen gear & vans, working with John Zorn & touring with Secret Chiefs 3/ releasing Retrocausal on Trey Spruance's Web of Mimicry label, gifted drum sets, battling crohn's disease, a Pearl Jam geek out, Tomas Haake, Tim Alexander & Ken Schalk as drumming influences, recurring themes & confirmation bias, the intensity of Cleric's music and the process of writing it, time traveling, sci-fi the origin of Cleric's name & Larry's obsession with the movie Equilibrium, our mutual fascination with the Mr. Bungle California tour, plus Larry's super human ability to eat large quantities of weed edibles. Good Lawd!!!!"

-The Drumslinger Bogspot (

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Bassist Nick Shellenberger is a member of Cleric and Shardik.

-Squidco 9/25/2023

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Track Listing:

1. Gadolot 5:00

2. Panim 5:13

3. Kav 7:59

4. Nogah 8:32

5. Imma 8:51

6. Separ 7:11

7. Iyyun 9:25

8. Ta'amim 8:05

9. Chalal 7:36

Related Categories of Interest:


Rock and Related
Improvised Rock
Improvised Music
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Zorn. John
Unusual Vocal Forms
Sextet Recordings
New in Rock Forms

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