Naked City

Naked City, 1990

This is a stone-cold, avant garde classic. Naked City is the album that catapulted John Zorn to international notoriety. Interestingly, it's also one of the few of his projects trapped in amber. Bands and compositions contemporaneous to Naked City—Masada, Painkiller, Cobra—have enjoyed reunions and revivals, but Naked City remains in the past.

I believe the lore on this album is: Zorn began using tape edits as a tool of composition, cutting abruptly between tempos and musical styles on demos. He then assembled a band of musical assassins and put them through rigorous rehearsals until they could play this crazed music with stunning precision. The results, even today, more than 25 years later, are radical. I get an adrenaline rush, every time I listen to Naked City. It is an unrelenting hour of music. A lesser artist could have only this album to their name, and still go down in history for it.

If you want to get technical, this is a John Zorn record (and I already have a Zorn LP). My defense is Naked City is one of those instances where the band ultimately takes on the name of its first LP. Therefore, retroactively, this is a Naked City album. At least, that's where I'm going to file it.