Naked City
Grand Guignol


4.5
superb

Review

by Lambda USER (68 Reviews)
June 16th, 2009 | 7 replies


Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "It's like surfing through radio stations and finding the same band on every one."

'Grand Guignol' is the second album by the band Naked City. It was released in 1992 on John Zorn's Avant label. It is a chaotic, freeform listen, combining jazz and grindcore elements, and mixing in some ambiance and avant-garde too.

The album opens up with the nearly eighteen-minute song 'Grand Guignol'. It starts with a very fast drum solo courtesy of Joey Barone, which is played atop a constant ambient note. This song remains ambient for the most part, always keeping a creepy vibe thanks to the low ambient notes and weird-sounding effects. This song still manges to retain variation though, as it changes every two or three minutes.

The first eight songs of the album are mostly calm, ambient, relaxing songs, or otherwise fairly slow jazz songs (featuring great saxophone-playing by John Zorn and also excellent drumming by Joey Baron). Highlights of this section of the album include: 'Three Preludes Op. 74: Douloureux, D├ęchirant', which is a very mellow song feautring some cool instruments, and 'Three Preludes Op. 74: Allegro Drammatico', which is a great jazz track, albeit fairly short at only fifty-one seconds. 'The Cage' actually features some fairly melodic singing, which may be the only Naked City song to feature traditional singing, as far as I know.

'Blood is Thin' opens up with another ambient note, misleading you into thinking that it will be another ambient track. Then suddenly a rock riff starts, which quickly leads into a varied frenzied section of the song, with everyone in the band going absolutely nuts. There is a cool guitar solo from Bill Frisell as well.

Most of the album is chaotic grindcore-jazz, with howling vocals from Yamatsuka Eye. The songs constantly change direction, sometimes featuring keyboard-breaks, upbeat swing vibes, bass solos, and extremely fast saxophone-playing all in the same song. I forget who said this, but I think it describes Naked City very well: "It's like surfing through radio stations and finding the same band on every one." The chaotic grindcore songs featured on this album can also be found on another Naked City release: 'Torture Garden', which is a collection of the spontaneous music from this release and also their self-titled debut album, 'Naked City'.

The album ends the same more chaotic music. While it is very hard to describe the band's sound, you can be sure of one thing:

Nothing.

You really have to expect the unexpected with Naked City, and this is what this album is all about. If you're a fan of experimental music, or even music in general, you should check this album out, because it's just so out of the ordinary that music fans will be able to appreciate it. Even if you're unsure of whether or not you like it, I urge you to check it out.



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user ratings (69)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
EyesWideShut
June 16th 2009


3179 Comments


remember hearing about this band some time ago and now sparked some intrest after the review. cover says one thing.. BRUTAL !! or something from Salo..

Lambda
June 16th 2009


2449 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's a really cool album; lots of chaos. And yes, the cover is interesting. :D

scyther
June 17th 2009


1606 Comments


Good review, I'll check this out.

Lambda
June 17th 2009


2449 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good idea.

Rationalist
December 22nd 2009


880 Comments


Amazement.

KILL
July 16th 2012


71957 Comments


fukd

Digging: Exodus - Blood In, Blood Out

DUIF
May 17th 2013


21 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Zorn is a genius!

LOVE it!



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