Black Box: Torture Garden/Leng Tch'e

Black Box: Torture Garden/Leng Tch'e

by Naked City


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Both Torture Garden and Leng Tch'e are from Zorn's work with Naked City, a collective of avant luminaries including Joey Baron, Bill Frisell, Fred Frith, and Wayne Horvitz. (Yamataka Eye provides vocals on Torture Garden.) Originally released on a small Japanese label, the two-CD set was subsequently issued on Zorn's Tzadik imprint. For its U.S. re-release, the set was dubbed the Black Box, with no cover art or discerning characteristics other than the list of musicians and album title. The reason for the Black Box assignation is the unprintable nature of the artwork (banned in the U.S.) accompanying the album in its Japanese pressing. Upon opening the album, one is greeted by scenes from various Japanese pornographic films and shots of the final public execution to take place in Japan. These rather forbidding pictures set the tone for the music, inspired by Zorn's increasing fascination with the darker side of Japanese culture. Leng Tch'e, translated as "thousand pieces," is a ritual torture (involving administration of large doses of opium to a victim during the course of slow dismemberment) practiced in Japan until the early 20th century; Zorn's musical piece of the same name is a slow, abrasive, 30-minute exploration of the emotions behind this torture. Torture Garden is based on the maniacal anguish presented in the S&M film underground of late-'80s Japan. With its series of 42 pieces ranging in length from eight seconds to one minute, the Torture Garden CD reflects Zorn's infatuation with this element of the Japanese psyche. The complex arrangements span jazz, metal, rock, fusion, and cacophonous noise. With their opposing tempos, the two discs complement each other well. Providing a sense of Zorn's diverse capabilities for expression, this is perhaps the most intense work done by Naked City, and certainly the most ominous.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/22/1997
Label: Tzadik
UPC: 0702397731221
catalogNumber: 7312
Rank: 40219


Disc 1

  1. Blood Is Thin
  2. Demon Sanctuary
  3. Thrash Jazz Assassin
  4. Dead Spot
  5. Bonehead
  6. Speedball
  7. Blood Duster
  8. Pile Driver
  9. Shangkuan Ling-Feng
  10. Numbskull
  11. Perfume of a Critic's Burning Flesh
  12. Jazz Snob Eat Shit
  13. The Prestidigitator
  14. No Reason to Believe
  15. Hellraiser
  16. Torture Garden
  17. Slan
  18. Hammerhead
  19. The Ways of Pain
  20. The Noose
  21. Sack of Shit
  22. Blunt Instrument
  23. Osaka Bondage
  24. Igneous Ejaculation
  25. Shallow Grave
  26. Ujaku
  27. Kaoru
  28. Dead Dread
  29. Billy Liar
  30. Victims of Torture
  31. Speedfreaks
  32. New Jersey Scum Swamp
  33. S&M Sniper
  34. Pig Fucker
  35. Cairo Chop Shop
  36. Fuck the Facts
  37. Obeah Man
  38. Facelifter
  39. N.Y. Flat Top Box
  40. Whiplash
  41. The Blade
  42. Gob of Spit

Disc 2

  1. Leng Tch'e

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