Naked City
Torture Garden


4.0
excellent

Review

by MeowMeow USER (3 Reviews)
April 11th, 2007 | 35 replies


Release Date: 1989 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Jazz meets grindcore. Get it now.

Chances are, you've never heard of John Zorn. John Zorn plays the saxophone, and is normally an avant garde jazz artist, but has also done quite a few noteworthy things, such as producing the Patton-lead Mr. Bungle's self titled release. You've also probably never heard of Yamantaka Eye, vocalist for Japanese Noise/Avant-Garde/Punk group The Boredoms. However, both of these men are held high on the experimental platform.

Now, I've never been huge on Grind, sans some of Napalm Death's material, and the only jazz I really own is Herbie Hancock and a handful of Zorn's material. Why did I bring these two genres up? Why did I talk about Zorn and Eye? Because of this album. Naked City's "Torture Garden" is a combination of the two genres, and is the brainchild of these two men. Strange? Yes. Conventional? No. Does it work? Yes.

Unconventional song structures, howling vocals (I'm actually not completely sure if the album has any real lyrics), loud and chaotic instrumentation. That about sums up Naked City. With the two longest songs clocking in at 1:18, this album is pure chaos in the most blissful form. This music is freeform to the extreme, working in chaotic grind guitar riffs, pounding drums, inhuman screams, random keyboard breaks, and saxophone styles just as chaotic, if not more so, than the rest of the instruments.

This music is DEFINITLEY not for the casual listener. If you find most your music over the radio, you're probably not going to like this. However, for lovers of bands like Mr. Bungle, Melt-Banana, or any noise/avant-garde group… welcome to heaven. You'll be addicted to this for a while.

This is not to say this album is without flaws. One major thing is that, well, there's no real stand-out tracks. The only things really different on the record are the ambient opening to the album opener, "Blood Is Thin" and the fairly mellow "N.Y. Flat Top Box". This is most definitely an album made for listening all the way through, rather than a few songs at a time. Hence the 42 songs clocking in at just 26 minutes.

Other downfalls include the fact that songs don't really seem to have any direction. While this may not bother some listeners, it just feels like it's mixing the two genres to become something different. Of course this is if we're being nitpicky.

So, let's recap, shall we?

The Good:

-Great mixture of grind and jazz

-The saxophone is kicking just as much ass as the guitar

-Some parts are very technical

-Something completely different for people to try

The Bad

-Takes a bit of time to grow on you

-Hard to tell when the songs change

-The vocals may annoy some

-Short album

The weird:

-It sounds like he just made a fart noise with his mouth

Naked City is:
John Zorn: saxophone, voice, composer, bandleader.
Bill Frisell: guitar
Wayne Horvitz: synthesizer, piano
Fred Frith: bass guitar
Joey Baron: drums
Yamatsuka Eye: voice
Mike Patton also makes a few appearances and does all live vocals.


user ratings (122)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
For Meatplow (5)
While it might be far too inaccessible for many, for those who pay attention to Torture Garden will ...

KYZAR (4.5)
Um? What just hit me?...


Comments:Add a Comment 
MeowMeow
April 11th 2007


662 Comments


I know it's pretty short, but it's a hard album to do. So yeah, enjoy.
EDIT: Crap, I didn't mean to make the spaces so large.This Message Edited On 04.11.07

antihippy
April 11th 2007


696 Comments


don't worry about it, looks fine. i'll vote.

really wanted this. i love the boredoms and john zorn.

AlienEater
April 11th 2007


716 Comments


john zorn is cool
boredoms are cool
naked city is cool

Abaddon2005
April 11th 2007


684 Comments


The paragraphs are really, really short. If you'd like you can edit them(remove the spaces or just write more) in your user profile.

Welcome to Sputnik!

pulseczar
April 11th 2007


2385 Comments


pretty good review, might wanna fix the spaces.

ohcleverhansyou
April 11th 2007


885 Comments


This sounds interesting, though I still am not sure what to make of the sound.

Slaapkamers
April 20th 2007


596 Comments


It rules.

Kulver
April 20th 2007


12 Comments


Good album. Not as good as their Self-Titled though. That album at least had some flow & structure (not to say something's bad if it doesn't).

MeowMeow
June 8th 2007


662 Comments


I finally fixed some of the spacing issues. I prefer my Rosemary's Baby OST review still, though.

And yeah, this isn't as good as the self-titled, but that album is a fucking classic.

antihippy
June 8th 2007


696 Comments


maybe add a tracklist........?

DWittisarockstar
November 26th 2007


1501 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Naked City is amazing.

Just fyi

Zebra
Moderator
February 17th 2008


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album slays.
It's just a jaw dropping album from beginning to end.

LearntoSwim
October 30th 2008


68 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

orgasmic.

NortherlyNanook
October 30th 2008


1285 Comments


it's ridiculously cool. i can't decide whether i prefer this to Naked City, though.

joshuatree
Emeritus
October 30th 2008


3742 Comments


Naked City is better than this, but this is still really excellent.

LearntoSwim
October 30th 2008


68 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

funny games.

Mendross
September 3rd 2009


397 Comments


I just listened to a few songs after I heard Bonehead on funny games. At times It makes me think of a more spastic version of Screamo .

oceangrave
April 21st 2010


2 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Probably one of the most underrated albums of all time. Zorn and hardcore/grindcore fans alike will find plenty of good stuff on this one.

Bitchfork
March 3rd 2011


7584 Comments


original funny games is so much better than the remake all i cared about during that one was watching the little kid in fright with zorn seizing on the squalling saxo

Bitchfork
March 3rd 2011


7584 Comments


the american one is a shot-for-shot remake but it has little of the power the austrian one does because the austrian one isn't just a bunch of random camera angles it's actually surreal and dark not a shock-flick.



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