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Complete Studio Recordings Box set
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I'll talk about the packaging first-- the set is beautiful, nice white box, each of the five CDs housed in a digipack styled after the Zorn birthday CDs-- single page inside an envelope opposite a CD tray with some of the original artwork reproduced. The book is about a hundred pages of pictures, some stuff from zorn's notebooks that's quite fascinating and will likely require further inspection on my part to fully appreciate, and annoyingly hard to read clear pages with white print on which members of the band, fans, etc. comment.
The remastering-- the recordings are clean, loud, distinct, undistorted-- they've been mixed hot enough to sound great but really well done. There's stuff buried on here I missed in the original recordings, and I suspect more will reveal on repeated listenings.
Question has been called into the material present-- there's a disc with "Naked City", one with "Grand Guignol" (the album), with the new version of the title track appended to it (and the old one still intact), one for "Heretic", one for "Radio", and one for "Absinthe" with "Leng Tch'e" as well. This is ALL the material, INCLUDING "Torture Garden"-- that particular release was just the "hardcore miniatures" from "Naked City" and "Grand Guignol".Read more ›
If you care for perfect sonics, I recommend listening to the following portions before buying. Pay attention to the left channel. Is it distorted?
Track 01 on "Radio" - time: 01:06 till 01:13
Track 10 on "Absinthe" - time: 04:16 till 04:40
These are only two random examples. The mentioned discs are distorted throughout. If others have clean sounding discs, I might just have had bad luck with my item.
Otherwise this expensive set is absolutely not worth it's high price. Tzadik should take it back and correct these mistakes first. Then I will be happy to buy it.
As for the book: nicely made, but lots of testimonials, no real information on the band and the music.
The package is hyperaesthetically designed.
If the abovementioned problems were nonexistent, I would not hesitate to rate it with 5 stars.
As another reviewer mentioned, Joey Baron is not credited at all on the Heretic notes, which I too thought was really odd.
Other than that, I have no complaints about the remasters. Sounds fine on my stereo and through my headphones. I mean, I don't have a very expensive elaborate stereo system, but to these ears, everything sounds wicked. Even if there WAS a bit of overload, I wouldn't have a nervous breakdown over it. I can see why some people would get edgy over it, after shelling out 100 bucks though.
The new Grand Guignol mix with Mike's vocals is a bit disappointing. Even though I'm a big Patton fan, I think he overdid it on this one. There's vocals where they're not needed in too many places. I don't really think it needs vocals, the piece seems to be darker and more luminous without them. Adding a few vocal bits in certain sections might have added a new dimension to the mood, but Patton just blew off too much. (Sorry Mike) Still, it is an interesting treat to hear and it makes me wonder how all these albums would've turned out if Patton would've been the lead screamer.
Anyway, I think overall, the set is great. Is it worth buying if you have all the originals? Yes, I think so. The only thing I wish Zorn would've included is more history in the booklet, and perhaps another disc of outtakes or unreleased tunes. I'm sure there's tons of stuff sitting in the vaults that Zorn is keeping secret until he feels lile releasing another boxset. Maybe we'll even get the Miles Davis treatment with his work someday, like a 7-disc set of "The Complete Grand Guignol" sessions, with one disc full of EYE doing nothing but farting and belching.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I normally don't write reviews but I wanted to throw in my two cents on a few things that people have commented on about this box set. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Greg
John Zorn remastered this stuff and was really happy with the results. I guess he likes zero dynamics, digital clipping, audible distortion, and other loudness war defects. Read morePublished on March 28, 2009 by jomojomo
The Complete Studio Recordings has been radically remastered by John Zorn and Scott Hull, making them available through this exclusive box-set from Tzadik Records. Read morePublished on April 25, 2008 by Justin St. Vincent
The remastered music sounds a little better than the originals, but even if it didn't, this would be a required purchase: The complete studio albums of one of the best bands of all... Read morePublished on October 7, 2006 by SPM
I bought this set of Naked City's studio recordings on the strength of their reputation, without having heard any Naked City music. It's all great stuff. Read morePublished on February 13, 2006 by The Pitiful Anonymous
Naked City's music isn't my cup of tea, but I will admit that this is some crazy music. The reason I got this box set was because of Bill Frisell. Read morePublished on January 5, 2006 by Transfigured Knight
I think the box set is beautiful and the sound is superb but still have one question... Joey Baron doesn't seem to be credited on the insert card for Heretic. Read morePublished on July 19, 2005 by someguy
Okay so this thing is beautiful and sounds great, but it's put together a little strangely. Torture Garden appears to be included on the Grand Guignol CD (between the 2 versions,... Read morePublished on April 14, 2005 by Thomas Paine
If you ask someone who is a fan of Naked City what they remember about their first listen, chances are you will be treated to a long and joyus conversation about how their lives... Read morePublished on April 2, 2005 by El Duderino