Monday, October 19, 2015

Heretic: Jeux des Dames Cruelles - Naked City

This is the third studio album, and only soundtrack, released by John Zorn's super group Naked City. This is my first Naked City review, and since I like this album (a favorite of mine) I decided to review this. I also decided to review this keeping in the themes of Flith [;)] and more dark side of things..... what "scares" me I guess. I haven't been able to find the this film on the internet, thought if means anything I sat thought The Elegant Spanking which Zorn also scored. I would rather not relive this film, it's kinda boring but also if you can look past the kind of slow pace.... It's hilarious. Plain and simple, it's just so.... I feel like I could have written that script. So that should be saying something. The music did thought add to the experience, so I am kinda 'pissed' I couldn't find a copy on the interwebs of this. Thought based off the cover, and the inside photographs from the film, it's probably much more hardcore. I'm also not really into anything that isn't.... I don't like pain, plain and simple. However I should stop wandering and review this album. Playing on this record we have Yamantaka Eye (I should really do a Hanatarash and Boredoms review soon) on vocals, John Zorn on Alto Saxophone, Bill Frisell on Guitar, Wayne Horvitz plays keyboards, Fred Frith is on bass and Joey Baron is the drummer. But this album is pretty awesome, so let's get it on. Also I though, since the last review was a soundtrack, why not do another. One I much better like. Because they conveniently listed each player on each track in the liner notes (well back cover), I decided to mention them by name. I also would like to note I hope to have another review up tomorrow. This was intended for last Thursday.
  1. Main Titles: With this track, featuring Eye, Horvitz and Baron; we get the opening to the album. It also serves as the main titles to the underground S&M film Jeux des Dames Cruelles. This opens the album, and is very odd sounding. The first time you hear it you almost have to wrap your head around what's happening. What I imagine is a they were in a room and they are just hitting a bunch of chimes and electronics and, it's crazy. It makes me thing that drums also includes percussion (though it isn't listed). It's not the most extreme thing I've heard, it almost sounds watered down listening to it now.... But it's still a great track in my opinion. And Watered Down in making it more accessible vs making it stupider and less good. Does that makes sense
  2. Sex Games: This is kinda of the exact opposite of the last track. Where that was very improvised and loose, this kinda of has a very jazzy structure, be it a loose one. Frisell really sounds like he's playing if Pink Floyd did jazz. And I also like the contrast in rhythm of Frith's bass. It isn't exactly in sync with anything really. Don't get me wrong this is loose, but it's loose like..... well..... I hate to say this but.... Like if they were stoned and they played. It's still there, but not completely. But then I also feel like Baron wouldn't be having those drum bursts if he toked up before hand. It's not until about 30 seconds until the song kinda melds and works cohesively. But I kinda feel like it came together the same way It's Gonna Rain fell apart. They way they were playing eventually it would sync up, like that ones eventually it would unsync. Though there is a clear difference between this and that... that's what I liken it to, loosely. Like after that if you listen it's still together, but not completely again. I do like the razor sharp sounds the guitar is making and those bass "scales" damn. Plus while I've heard faster drumming, I still gotta hand it to Joey for keeping it together, but at the same time not.
  3. The Brood: There is a very Ennio Morricone atonal film score piece feeling I get to this track. Zorn's Sax tricks you into thinking it's a string instrument. Or maybe that's Horvitz's keys playing a string sample. And throw in Joey's drums and you have one unsettling piece that is giving me goose bumps. And Zorn doesn't over do those squeals. They make the track more uncomfortable.
  4. Sweat, Sperm + Blood: What's better than a Yamantaka eYe and John Zorn alto saxophone and voice harmonization in the beginning of your track. If I'm being completely honest, I kinda like that backing him up vs the Boredoms. While I haven't even come close to hearing everything by them, or everything by Hanatarash I think he's best fit here. There is a part where he does this sound where it sounds like a growl (stomach) and it's kinda funny. But serioulsy, this type of piece where it's just voice and what not.... It blew my mind when I heard this. Fuck Mike Patton was inspired to do his first solo album because of Eye. So I mean the sounds he produces with his voice, and the saxophone accompanying him. Let's just say The Classic Guide to Strategy would easily be an lot if Eye was on it.
  5. Vliet: The only name I've ever seen with Vliet is Don Van Vliet. So this could be a tribute to him, it also could just be a coincidence. I love the funky bass paying here, I also love the very Residents' guitar of Nolan Cook playing on the track. This guitar sounds like it'd fit on one of the newer albums with him playing on it. It's very short, and I kinda wish there was a bit more. But I also don't know how long the track would be able to keep my interest. But I also don't haven't any lack of faith when it comes to these guys, and this album. So it's more of a devils advocate for me.
  6. Heretic 1: The first of three title tracks, and this intro reminds me so much of Oingo Boingo. The rhythm and it's great. I love the guitar on this and the sax. This isn't really industrial, at least I don't think it is, but I have a very machine like quality to it. It kinda almost sounds like a backwords version of an Oingo Boingo rhythm section. With Saxophone shrieks. also it's just sax and bass. I think the saxophone is what really give it that feeling. And eventually before I can even really realize it, I doesn't remind me of what I was just listening to. Prominent bass and sax, also solid bass playing here. Then just saxophone before going into what sounds like a sped up backwards tape fuck of a storm. It's very interesting sounding. Like I can Imagine someone sticking their penis into that tape machine and having sex with it and then that is what caused the atmosphere of the track.... And considering what type of film this is sound track to, that might not be that insane.
  7. Submission: I wonder what happens at this part in the movie. And to be honest, I don't really know what to make of this track. There is a feeling of a motif with the guitar, like I could imagine someone walking around or being more innocent maybe. That might be a stretch, but still. And it's funny, the guitar and the drums are together, but off, there are only seconds where it could be a "theme" in the conventional sense but not long enough to be able to be one. This actually reminds me of a Zappa track that I am blanking on at the moment. This is a very drum based track, and while I kinda whish it had the drum playing of Han Bennink on it, Joe does a great job none the less. There there is a part where it sounds like the guitar is playing a loop of a section of the South Park theme. Also the keys on this track make it more atmospheric (thought it could be looped guitar) but it adds a really nice texture here. And oddly enough the song gets more aggressive, or irritated as it progresses. In terms of a movie, what plays in my head is the sub is tired and over throws the dom. Maybe kills or hurts the person. That's what played in my head, scene wise. And then the reflection of no wait no. I could totally imagine a silent film being played with this playing to a scene. And while the drums at the ending might make more sense when you see it in practice, I can't say I feel the solo drums are necessary.
  8. Heretic 2: This has to have a backwards bass on it, al thought the drums kinda sound backwards a bit too. The only part I can say that I know is forwards is the sax. This isn't all to much like the first Heretic. I mean, yes it's similar and could be a continuation or a variation, but I don't know. I get a different feeling with this one. Its not so "industrial" and more in like with the other tracks.
  9. Catacombs: There is a very ambient feeling of this track, and what sounds like a saw. That saw is what I'm assuming is the keyboards on the track. While I haven't heard anything in the genre, the best way I can describe this is "dark ambient". There is a bit that reminds me a tad of Delìrium Còrdia and maybe other Fantômas tracks. Just bursts of that group in the track.
  10. Heretic 3: With the same Zorn, Horvitz, Baron line up tha was on the second part, this sounds like there are game calls on this track. And this is also just so weird, I mean it's not weirder than anything you've heard earlier, but I feel like the track was maybe sped up a bit. It's more in line with Torture Garden in my opinion. It almost could be an outtake from the sequel. Althougth I am also getting more of a Radio feeling to it. I like the extra wind instruments on this and the odd noises that make it worth coming back to.
  11. My Master, My Slave: Wooooooow, is what I imagine the intro is saying. It sounds like they wah-wahed Frith or Horvitz. It also sounds more like there is an actual piano on the track vs just keyboards. There is also this noise that sounds like scraping in the beginning that reminds me a tad of drum and bass music. Honestly the best thing I can compare this too is a move interesting version of something that was done on The Elegant Spanking. There are water echoes and it almost make me think of under  water.
  12. Saint Jude: This track vaguely reminds me of a solo by Zappa off Tinsel Town Rebellion. This could actually be a tampered with tempo cover of one of those tracks. It's got drums, bass and guitar so it has the basis of one of those vamps. If not Tinsel Town then maybe 78-81, so like the period that Shut Up And Play Yer Guitar was recorded.
  13. The Conqueror Worm: This is the name of a poem by the famous Edgar Allen Poe. I saw the 60's film they made of it, I thought it was kinda boring. I don't believe this is just Zorn and Horvitz. There is too many percussive sounds that aren't covered by sax and keys. I also think there is a whale call in this track. I also get a tad of an oriental feeling from the sounds.
  14. Dominatrix 5B: I like the drums in this track, and the weird prepared guitar sounds. Then it goes into an overdriven guitar and the fastest drums by Joey I've heard. This actually vaguely reminds me of Spillane. Not a ton, but just a bit. I really like the more "metal" feeling I'm getting here. There is a lot more power and force here than on previous tracks. And Damn that drumming, he's fast.
  15. Back Through the Looking Glass: Classic title, classic duo. Here we have Frith and Frisell. This picks up the guitar overdrive from the last track, and goes has these sounds that I could imagine Eraserhead having in the film. But buried, in the film. Like that type of atmospheric, thought the movie has much more settling music. This is a pretty weird track that often goes into Nolan Cook territory..... But get this, Frisell did it first. I can see this title fitting the track. The loops feel very psychedelic towards the ending, before kinda dying off and decaying.
  16. Here Comes the 7,000 Frogs: That's a shit ton of frogs. While I wished there would be a ribbut, I can't say I am complaining. In reality this isn't that different from Sweat, Sperm + Blood, though parts sound more like Mike Patton doing the vocals. He also makes monkey sounds rather than frog sounds on this.
  17. Slaughter House / Chase Sequence: The album seems to be making more sense, syncing together, as it moves forward. Another more industrial feeling track. This is more cohesive though and features the bass, drums and guitar trio of earlier. This is actually, while maybe not as good as the other, still solid. I mean the drums are awesome, and so is the bass, but the guitar is what is off for me. Just not feeling it, thought I am feeling the jungle vibe. Also the guitar kinda reminds me the guitar, tone wise and at certain parts sonic-wise(?), in the "live section" of Train Kept A-Rollin'.
  18. Castle Keep: This much more ambient in nature. Like there is barley any guitar and it's mostly very pretty relaxing sound that lasts most of the track. It decays out before being played again. This is something that I think is easy to listen to. Thought the second time though it sounds like whistles blowing. Which isn't as pretty on your ears.
  19. Mantra of Resurrected Shit: I might have second thoughts of this film.... maybe I shouldn't watch it. In fact based off that title I think I'm gonna throw up. I will give them this, there are parts where the voice and sax become one. This is probably one of the weaker tracks, thought I still do think it's solid. I can't say it's awesome, I just with he'd do voice over other instruments instead of just sax.
  20. Trypsicore: This sounds like sand falling slowing being recorded with chimes and guitar mixed in and drums. Thought some of the drums/percussion sounds like rocks falling and hitting stuff. It's also just keys and drums.
  21. Fire and Ice (Club Scene): This title makes me laugh, because it reminds me of the Fire and Ice Ball. But, seriously, this is a track I could feel myself jamming over. I can best describe it as a funky groove meets Deep Purple organ, with cyber computer effects and saxophone mixed in. The rhythm section is solid throughout and everything else is just added over sounds from what sounds like sirens, whistle blows... this really is a great track. This is also the only track to feature everyone.
  22. Crosstalk: The guitar in the beginning reminds me of Crack Hitler, and the drums are frantic. The beginning sounds like when I pitch shift and speed stuff up really fast. Then it goes into something more like and earlier track with popping bass and popping guitar. Thought parts sound backwards.
  23. Copraphagist Rituals: This is my favorite of the Eye tracks, it features Baron and Horvitz too and everyone in on the same wave length this time. eYe does his thing while they accompany him with some faster drums and piano. I dig this track.
  24. Labyrinth: Significantly longer then the rest of the track, here at 5:47. The second longest is Submission at 4:21 followed by The Brood at 2:48. The beginning remind me of Jimi Hendrix and Voodoo Child. This is a very laid back track, very ambient. There are also guitar moments that remind me of the laid back part right before the almost Batman Theme like section of Spillane. You could almost look at this as that section, just the full take rather than an edit. I don't think this needs to be as long as it is, maybe if it changed up a bit more, but it is what it is. The track ends on a very, what sounds like, thunder storm coming in.
Overall I have to give this album a 7.8/10. While anything by Naked City is terrific from the genre melting pot that is Radio to the Grindcore (or I guess Jazzcore) Torture Garden to even the ambient Absinthe... This is the first one I listened to front to back. I'd suggest if you want to broaden your horizons, and you are not looking to something super off putting, check out the John Zorn album Naked City, which is considered the groups first album.... Though I think Torture Garden came first.... I don't know it's confusing. But at 57 minutes this is a great album to check out and to get new fresh ideas for expanding your musical vocabulary. It also doesn't take forever to get over with. While based in Free Improvisation, there is enough variety to keep me interested here.... like wholly interested. I cant really pick any favorites, I usually sit through the entire album. Also after re-listening to this album, I will probably regret this.... I really want to watch this film.

No comments:

Post a Comment