As John Cleese would say "And now for something completely different..."
Torture Garden was "the Japanese side of Naked City", and played the shorter, more hardcore/grindcore oriented songs of John Zorn's Naked City project. They never recorded a studio album with this lineup, but played some shows in New York, one of which is documented here.
If you've heard Naked City's "Torture Garden" album, then you'll know what to expect here, as this is pretty much all material from that album. If you've never heard it, just expect complete insanity. Free form jazz grindcore with Zorn's screaming sax and Yamatsuka Eye's almost inhuman vocals. It just has to be heard to be believed. This set was recorded live at the Knitting Factory in NYC on October 6, 1990, and the sound quality is excellent. Thanks Ronald. Enjoy.
Torture Garden Live
John Zorn on Torture Garden:
I hear you have a hardcore band in New York. Is that true?
Zorn: Well, in Japan, I have got a group of musicians that I have worked with a lot, that concentrate just on the hardcore stuff, say, that Naked City has been working on. We have like a repertoire of sixty songs now.
Wow. Does it have a name?
Zorn: It's called Torture Garden: Yoshida, the drummer from the Ruins; Eye is the vocalist, Ema Hori who is an incredible guitar player. And the bass player is also from the Ruins, this guy Kimoto. We just played at CB's last week. I brought them all over to New York to do some gigs.
Great. Is there going to be anything coming out on vinyl or CD of that band?
Zorn: For that particular band, nothing is planned yet. I'd like to do a twelve-inch with 5 songs or something like that. All the Torture Garden material has already been recorded by the band Naked City. That'll come out on Earache out of Great Britain and Shimmy Disc here in the States [ed. note: It came out in 1991].
Shimmy Disc is licensing the Earache record?
Zorn: Well, it's a complicated thing. Basically, this Naked City record (the first album on Nonesuch) came out, right. In the middle of it are about ten songs that are really short and hard. I said I wanted to do a record of 40 of those pieces, cause I was really interested in the compression and compactness of form that that music gets to.
You can read the entire interview here.
Zorn's discography seems to be endless. His band Painkiller with Mick Harris (Napalm Death) on drums, and Bill Laswell on bass, is also worth checking out. A great mix of thrash and ambient, mostly improvised. I'd also recommend the first Naked City album, which includes covers of movie scores, as well as songs in the more psychotic style of the Torture Garden album, with Yamatsuka Eye (Boredoms) on vocals, and some other goodies thrown in. Zorn and Eye were both a huge influence on Mike Patton, who also collaberated with Zorn and sang for Naked City for a while. Outside of Naked City and Painkiller, i've never really checked out any of Zorn's other work. The volume of his recorded work intimidates me i guess.