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Complete Studio Recordings Box set

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, March 22, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

NAKED CITY: The quintet of John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Wayne Horvitz, Fred Frith, and Joey Baron; with Yamataka Eye, Mike Patton guest vocalists. "I have radically remastered this music with exacting and loving attention to every last detail. Mistakes have been corrected, balances adjusted and thanks to the latest in digital technology the music is louder, clearer, more in your face and exploding with more energy than ever before. Even if you already own all of the original discs, I strongly urge you to pick this set up and experience Naked City as it always should have sounded. " -John Zorn Probably Zorn's most popular and most controversial musical project, the music of Naked City has been debated, analyzed, adored and reviled by fans, critics and academics alike, but nothing can replace the experience of hearing it in all its frightening glory. Most people know this music from the single domestic release on Nonesuch, but the major portion of their studio recordings were issued from 1989 - 1993 on the hard to find Japanese labels Avant and Toy's Factory. This long awaited set pulls together all of their recorded output - seven studio releases (including four previously released only in Japan) - on 5 CDs in beautiful new packaging, with a special 100+ page scrapbook of Naked City ephemera, including photos, posters, designs, scores, musical sketches, written tributes by members of the Naked City family and pages from Zorn's original notebooks showing the development of the music that drove so many people out of their minds. Zorn's music at its most brutal and uncompromising best. BONUS TRACK CREATED EXCLUSIVELY FOR THIS SET: A spectacular new vocal version of the 18' composition Grand Guignol featuring the charismatic singer Mike Patton. A tour de force concerto for voice and ensemble, finally realizing Zorn's long form composition as it was originally conceived. [PLEASE NOTE: All tracks from TORTURE GARDEN CD IS INCLUDED]

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Batman
  2. The Sicilian Clan
  3. You Will Be Shot
  4. Latin Quarter
  5. A Shot In The Dark
  6. Reanimator
  7. Snagglepuss
  8. I Want To Live
  9. Lonely Woman
  10. Igneous Ejaculation
  11. Blood Duster
  12. Hammerhead
  13. Demon Sanctuary
  14. Obeah Man
  15. Ujaku
  16. Fuck The Facts
  17. Speedball
  18. Chinatown
  19. Punk China Doll
  20. N.Y. Flat Top Box
  21. Saigon Pickup
  22. The James Bond Theme
  23. Den Of Sins
  24. Contempt
  25. Graveyard Shift
  26. Inside Straight

Disc: 2

  1. Grand Guignol
  2. Blood Is Thin
  3. Thrash Jazz Assassin
  4. Dead Spot
  5. Bonehead
  6. Piledriver
  7. Shangkuan Lin-Feng
  8. Numbskull
  9. Perfume Of A Critic's Burning Flesh
  10. Jazz Snob: Eat Shit
  11. The Prestidigitator
  12. No Reason To Believe
  13. Hellraiser
  14. Torture Garden
  15. Slan
  16. The Ways Of Pain
  17. Slan
  18. Sack Of Shit
  19. Blunt Instrument
  20. Osaka Bondage
  21. Shallow Grave
  22. Kaoru
  23. Dead Dread
  24. Billy Liar
  25. Victims Of Torture
  26. Speedfreaks
  27. New Jersey Scum Swamp
  28. S/M Sniper
  29. Pigfucker
  30. Cairo Chop Shop
  31. Facelifter
  32. Whiplash
  33. The Blade
  34. Gob Of Spit
  35. La Cathedrale Engloutie
  36. Three Preludes Op. 74: Douloureux, Dechirant
  37. Three Preludes Op. 74: Tres Lent, Contemplatif
  38. Three Preludes Op. 74: Allegro Drammatico
  39. Prophetiae Sybillarum
  40. The Cage
  41. The Cage
  42. Grand Guignol (Version Vocale)

Disc: 3

  1. Main Titles
  2. Sex Games
  3. The Brood
  4. Sweat, Sperm + Blood
  5. Vliet
  6. Heretic 1
  7. Submission
  8. Heretic 2
  9. Catacombs
  10. Heretic 3
  11. My Master, My Slave
  12. Saint Jude
  13. The Conqueror Worm
  14. Dominatrix 2B
  15. Back Through The Looking Glass
  16. Here Come The 7,000 Frogs
  17. Slaughterhouse/Chase Sequence
  18. Castle Keep
  19. Mantra Of Resurrected Shit
  20. Trypsicore
  21. Fire And Ice (Club Scene)
  22. Crosstalk
  23. Copraphagist Rituals
  24. Labyrinth

Disc: 4

  1. Asylum
  2. Sunset Surfer
  3. Party Girl
  4. The Outsider
  5. Triggerfingers
  6. Terkmani Teepee
  7. Sex Friend
  8. Razorwire
  9. The Bitter And The Sweet
  10. Krazy Kat
  11. The Vault
  12. Metalov
  13. Poisonhead
  14. Bone Orchard
  15. I Die Screaming
  16. Pistol Whipping
  17. Skatekey
  18. Shock Corridor
  19. American Psycho

Disc: 5

  1. Val De Travers
  2. Une Correspondance
  3. La Fee Verte
  4. Fleurs Du Mal
  5. Artemisia Absinthium
  6. Notre Dame De L'Oubli (For Olvier Messiaen)
  7. Verlaine: Part One - Un Midi Moins Dix
  8. Verlaine: Part Two - La Bleue
  9. ...Rend Fou
  10. Leng Tch'e

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 22, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Tzadik
  • ASIN: B0006UYOMO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,976 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Stack on March 25, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This boxed set represents the entire recorded studio output of John Zorn's Naked City project, consisting of Zorn (alto sax, occasional vocals), Bill Frisell (guitar), Wayne Horvitz (keyboards), Fred Frith (bass), and Joey Baron (drums). Frequent collaborator Yamataka Eye joins as a vocalist on probably half of this. Additionally, this set includes a "vocal version" of "Grand Guignol", which Mike Patton overdubbed.

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".
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Format: Audio CD
I'm not rating the music (that would be 5 stars!!!), I'm rating the audio quality. Though the overall sound quality is good (not as aggressive as the original discs), the entire "Radio" album and parts of the "Absinthe" disc (most obvious on the track "Leng T'che") suffer from unacceptable distortion in the left channel (in the low mids, depending on volume). At least my copy had this defect, so I returned it. I suspect that a mistake was made during the mastering process as my original Avant-Discs are not distorted at all. Or could it be an individual manufacturing issue? No other reviewer has mentioned this problem so far.

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.
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Format: Audio CD
First of all, for all the writers here asking where Torture Garden is, why don't you read the booklet. It explains that Torture Garden was released as a special package compliling the hardcore pieces from Naked City and Grand Guignol. Nuff said.

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.
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