This tune comes from John Zorn’s first book of Masada tunes, composed between 1992 and 1996. The only other known recording of this tune is on the 1996 double album BAR KOKHBA, one of the first releases on Zorn’s Tzadik label. That recording was performed as a spooky piano and organ duet by John Medeski and Anthony Coleman.
This is our homage of sorts to The Velvet Underground. When we first started working on this, we made a quick scratch recording just for ourselves to help us learn the tune. In the weeks that followed, we added the odd phrase here, the odd counterpoint there. Lots of fine-tuning. But thru it all, we never could match that mix of casualness and intensity that we captured on that first rehearsal.
So we scrapped all the work we had done over the previous six weeks and focused our energy on cleaning up that scratch demo. Most of what you hear was recorded in that first rehearsal. The only thing we mostly (but not completely) re-recorded was the cello. Some additional guitar overdubs, but not much.
The title “mo’ed” (Hebrew: מועד) is a very common in Jewish scripture. Any time you see the phrase “the appointed time” or “the appointed place,” that is the word “mo’ed.”
“And God said: 'Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for MO'EDs, and for days and years.” - Genesis 1:14