Naked City - _Live Vol. 1: Knitting Factory 1989_
(Tzadik, 2002)
by: Xander Hoose (9 out of 10)
It's a shame that Naked City has always remained in relative obscurity, because to metalheads it is without doubt John Zorn's most attractive band. Together with Bill Frisell, Wayne Horovitz, Fred Frith and Joey Baron plus a plethora of collaborating artists (most notably Yamatsuka Eye from The Boredoms), the outfit Naked City produced something that could best be described as a mix between free jazz, avant-garde and extreme rock. Especially the first two releases, _Torture Garden_ and _Grand Guignol_, featured many short songs (most of them in between 10 and 45 seconds) that were basically grindcore songs performed with jazz instruments under snappy titles such as "Thrash Jazz Assassin", "Blood Duster", "Hellraiser" and "Victims of Torture". In 1994, Naked City went dormant with no plans for revival in the future. While _Live Vol. 1: Knitting Factory 1989_ is not exactly a revival, at least it gives hope for the future. Featuring the entire concert performed at the Knitting Factory back in 1989, it gives a clear view of the versatility of the band: easily shifting from brutal grind assaults to R&B, from punk to blues improvisations, _LV1:KF1989_ proves to be not just an essential album for Naked City fans but also a very accessible album for people not familiar with the material. The fact that all the material on this album is instrumental doesn't bother, and the excellent production should be an example for many other bands. Mandatory material.

(article published 1/9/2002)


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