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Naked City - Absinthe CD (album) cover

ABSINTHE

Naked City

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.48 | 18 ratings

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Captain Capricorn
3 stars 'Absinthe' is the last, & by far the strangest album of Naked City's catalogue. Rather than returning to their trademark genre-blending jazz core sound, for 'Absinthe' Zorn opted to do something entirely different. The members traded in their instruments for microtonal & prepared guitars (Frisell & Frith), bags of trash (Baron), & samplers & synths (Horvitz & Zorn). The result is a very atmoshpheric & haunting ambience highly reminiscent of the late sixties British free improv group AMM. The titles of the tracks, keeping in style with the title of the album, are inspired by icons of the Decadent Movement of late 19th century France, with titles like 'Fleurs du Mal', named after the book of the same name by the amazingly influential poet Charles Baudelaire, & the 'Verlaine' pieces, named after Paul-Marie Verlaine, both of which were avid drinkers of Absinthe. The album's artwork is equally dark, featuring disturbing sculptures by surrealist Hans Bellmer that accent the music to great effect. Though I really enjoy this album, it is probably my least favorite recording of the Naked City catalogue. It lacks nearly all of what I would normally listen for in them, but if one is able to meet the album on its own terms & hear it as it is (as opposed to how it could be) then it can still be a very interesting & rewarding listen.
Captain Capricorn | 3/5 |

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