Absinthe (album)

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This article is about the Naked City album. For the album by Blood Axis and Les Joyaux De La Princesse, see Absinthe: La Folie Verte.
Studio album by Naked City
Released December 10, 1993
Recorded December 1992
Genre Ambient, noise
Length 46:17
Label Avant Avan 004
Producer John Zorn
Naked City chronology
Naked City Live, Vol. 1: The Knitting Factory 1989
John Zorn chronology
Execution Ground

Absinthe is the final recording from the band Naked City. Unlike the band's other genre-mixing releases, the music on Absinthe is consistently in an ambient and noise style.

The titles of many of its tracks refer to the works of Paul Verlaine, Charles Baudelaire and other figures in the fin de siècle Decadent movement, and to the drink after which the album is named.

The album's cover and liner notes feature photographs by the German Surrealist Hans Bellmer.

The album was also released as part of Naked City: The Complete Studio Recordings on Tzadik Records.

From the official description on the now defunct Avant website:

Joey Baron plays bags of dry leaves, fishing reels and buckshot. Bill Frisell solos on a microtonal guitar. Wayne Horvitz samples everything from crickets to Giacinto Scelsi. Fred Frith does what he does best. Zorn doesn't even touch the saxophone.

The final piece, "...Rend Fou", is six minutes of Frisell and Frith running their guitar jacks over the inputs of their guitars.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[1]

The Allmusic review by Caleb Deupree states "Naked City's final album is by far its most puzzling and enigmatic... Nothing in Naked City's previous oeuvre prepares the listener for this collection, a complete reversal from the hardcore and thrash, but looking forward to Zorn's interest in minimalist pieces like Redbird and Duras."[1]

Track listing[edit]

All compositions by John Zorn

  1. "Val de travers" – 6:19
  2. "Une correspondance" – 5:09
  3. "La fée verte" – 5:12
  4. "Fleurs du mal" – 4:06
  5. "Artemisia absinthium" – 4:31
  6. "Notre dame de l'oubli (For Olivier Messiaen)" – 4:48
  7. "Verlaine: Part I: Un midi moins dix" – 4:24
  8. "Verlaine: Part II: La bleue" – 6:01
  9. "...Rend fou" – 6:03
  • Recorded at Electric Lady, New York City in December 1992


Liner Notes[edit]

  • Published by Theatre of Musical Optics, BMI
  • Produced by John Zorn
  • Executive Producer: Disk Union
  • Recorded at Electric Lady, NYC December 1992
  • Mixed at Platinum Island, NYC January 1993
  • Engineered by Joe Ferla
  • Assistant Engineer: Hoover Le
  • Mastered by Scott Hull
  • Cover photo: Hans Bellmer "Les Jeux de la Poupée"
  • Design: Tomoyo T.L. (Karath=Razar)
  • Photo typesetting: Lisa Wells
  • Special thanks to: Fujieda Mamoru, Giacinto Scelsi, Mick Harris


  1. ^ a b Duepree, C. Allmusic Review accessed March 16, 2009