Sunday, September 11, 2005

Naked City and Firesign Theatre

For many of you this might be a jump, but these days I have noticed a lot of similarity between Naked City and the Firesign Theatre. For those of you familiar enough with both these groups to take exception with my comparison, here's my thinking.

Take, for example, Torture Garden by Naked City. I'd always had a hot / cold relationship with the music of John Zorn. My opinion him increased greatly when Brooks introduced me to the music of Naked City. Aside from the top-notch musicianship in the band, Naked City hold a particular appeal for me, in that, every once in a while, I get to play their music for someone whose entire familiarity with Bill Frisell is his laid-back country-jazz works of the last 15 years or so. However, there is one major problem to listening to an album like Torture Garden.

For those of you that don't know, Torture Garden consists of 42 songs, and most of them are less than a minute long. Most of them are fast, loud, and change quickly- sometimes going through 4 or 5 different style changes in the course of a minute. If you don't have the mental wherewithal to pay close attention for 45 minutes at a time then a lot of it is going to fly right past you unnoticed.

And that brings me to the comparison with Firesign Theatre. For those of you into podcasting, I highly recommend subscribing to the Firesign Theatre Podcast. There are over 100 small soundfiles to download, and again most of them are less than a minute long and require that you pay attention to get everything that goes on. ("as Nick Danger coldly, ruthlessly, " "I wonder where Ruth is?" ...)

Since I've gotten my iPod, though, I find myself enjoying both of these groups much more. The main reason is the shuffle function. If you have just listened to something way too serious, like something from Joni Mitchell's "Blue" for example, and then a 30 second Naked City tune comes on, or a commercial for Jack Poet Volkswagen, the jolt of it all grabs your attention long enough to appreciate what's going on. Highly recommended.

Oh and, by the way, Fozzy and Stuck Mojo just got a whole lot better.


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