Songs                                          Zorn's Inspirations
1. Asylum 1:54                            Charles Mingus on Candid, Eric Dolphy, Paul Bley
2. Sunset Surfer 3:22                    Bob Demmon + The Astronauts
3. Party Girl 2:33                         Little Feat
4. The Outsider 2:27                    Ruins, Booker T. and the M.G.'s, Colin Wilson
5. Triggerfingers 3:31                   Ennio Morricone, Albert King, Chuck Brown
6. Terkmani Teepee 3:56             Orchestra Baobab, Terauchi Takeshi, E.M. Elanka
7. Sex Fiend 3:31                        The Accused, The Meters, Yakuza Zankoku Hiroku
8. Razorwire 5:28                        Tony Williams' Lifetime, Old
9. The Bitter and the Sweet 4:48  Anthony Braxton, Anton Webern's Six Bagatelles, Frank Sinatra, Morton Feldman
10. Krazy Kat 1:51                      Carl Stalling, Igor Stravinsky
11. The Vault 4:44                       The Melvin's, The Beatmasters, Septic Death, Hellfire, Leather Folk (the book)
12. Metaltov 2:07                        Abe Scharz, Ivo Papasov, Naftule Brandwien
13. Poisonhead 1:09                    Repulsion
14. Bone Orchard 3:53                Led Zeppelin, Akemi and Jagatara, Bernard Hermann
15. I Die Screaming 2:29             Santana, Extreme Noise Terror, Conway Twitty
16. Pistol Whipping 0:57              Agnostic Front, Seige
17. Skatekey 1:24                       Ornette Coleman, Corrosion of Conformity, Massacre, Quincy Jones
18. Shock Corridor 1:05             Sam Fuller, Funkadelic, Carcass
19. American Pyscho 6:09           Liberace, Jan Hammer, Napalm Death, Eddie Blackwell, Charlie Haden, Mick Harris,                                         Carole King, Red Garland, The Boredoms, Jerry Reed, SPK, Roger Williams

The Old Commentary:
Recorded in 1992, Radio has many of Naked City's best songs. The album is worth buying for the first seven tracks alone, which are all quite standard in structure compared to other Naked City songs. However, they are also some of Naked City's best, from the rockabilly "Party Girl" to the Far East jazz romp of "Terkmani Teepee." As the album progresses, the songs start to slowly deconstruct into an atonal, genre jumping insanity. The album ends with the quietly disturbing "American Pyscho" which features short vignettes of music placed across a silent backdrop.

Naked City's Radio album is a great example of Zorn's many influences. On the inside of the CD cover, there is a list titled "Inspirations/Refer" that directly corresponds to each song. As you can see, his influences are many and varied. Perhaps the most bizaare thing is that he throws them together into songs, like building blocks. As the disturbing "American Pyscho" illustrates, with influences ranging from Charlie Haden and Red Garland to Liberace and The Boredoms.

Radio Revisited:

May 8, 2000

My original impression of Naked City's was that it didn't sound or look as good as the first Naked City album, and that it didn't have as much feeling. It's been collecting dust on my shelf for a year or so until recently, when I was describing Naked City to a friend, and found myself talking about the last half of Radio quite a bit. So I popped it into my regular rotation of CD's, and have been listening to it pretty frequently for about a week. It occured to me that perhaps I hadn't given Radio as much listening time as I should.

Taken on its own, the album makes the disturbing progression from the easily digestable and fun pop rock feel of the first seven tunes into the depths of hard rock, noise, hardcore, and 20th century classical. The last ten songs recall the in your face aggressiveness of Torture Garden, but they run longer than the Torture Garden songs, most of which are under one minute. These songs lend themselves to repeated listenings more than the vignette style of Torture Garden, which are over almost too fast to be considered. These pieces seem to have more concrete sense of form than Torture Garden, often revisiting sections and expanding upon them, as in "The Vault" where we are led through a succession of textures and styles that repeat in succession, but with the order changed slightly each time. By the end the textures and images begin to overlap and form together in new ways.

It is also interesting to consider the motivation behind Zorn's structure of Radio and its relation to the title. The album starts with complete songs in recognizable idioms, with Sunset Surfer, Party Girl and to a lesser extent Sex Fiend and The Bitter and the Sweet staying within a certain style throughout. However, one gets the feeling of a slow descent into madness and destruction throughout the album, which finally culminates in "American Psycho" and the brilliant use of sections of silence between a collage of American music and images. Zorn keeps the listener constantly surprised, sometimes fading from noise improv into silence, sometimes into a jazz swing, then funk for a few seconds, then... silence again. The last minute or so has Wayne Horvitz laying jazz piano chords over a light but constant throb of cymbals, expectancy hanging in every note as you wait for Zorn to make it all come crashing down in a barrage of noise. But the album fades out to the sound of an ominous sigh.

John Zorn: alto sax
Bill Frisell: electric guitar
Fred Frith: bass guitar
Joey Baron: drums
Wayne Horvitz: keyboards
Yamatsuka Eye: vocals

Home // Naked City // Masada // Tributes // Filmworks // Classical // Various