This is a Random Album Generator.
One album a day.
From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Spy Vs. Spy: The Music Of Ornette Coleman

John Zorn

1989

Spy Vs. Spy: The Music Of Ornette Coleman
Album Summary

Spy vs Spy: The Music of Ornette Coleman is a 1989 album by American composer and saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist John Zorn, featuring the compositions of Ornette Coleman performed in the brief, intense style of Zorn's hardcore miniatures. The liner notes thank Ornette and Denardo Coleman, Mick Harris of Napalm Death, Ted Epstein of Blind Idiot God, Pil of Lip Cream (a Japanese thrashcore group), The Accused, Craig Flanagan, DRI, CBGB, and "the New York-London-Tokyo Hardcore Triangle". The cover artwork was created by indie comics personality Mark Beyer (of Amy and Jordan fame). The album itself approaches free jazz from the perspective of hardcore punk, particularly taking note of the contemporary innovations of thrashcore and grindcore. Zorn would later pursue these preoccupations in the thrash jazz group Naked City. Like some classic free jazz albums (Free Jazz, Ascension, Archie Shepp's Mama Too Tight), different saxophonists improvise simultaneously in stereo. Tim Berne appears on the left channel, while John Zorn is recorded on the right channel.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.2

Votes

9146
Genres
Jazz

Reviews

Like a review? Give it a thumb up to help us display relevant reviews!
Sort by: Top Date
View Author
Fri Oct 29 2021
4

Hey, reader! If you can't find the full album anywhere, email me at sodaco3@gmail.com and I'll send a zipped file of the songs. John Zorn. Hmmm.....let's talk about John Zorn. He's a jazz artist (saxophone) who specializes in avant-garde jazz. This alone will turn away quite a few people, and I can't blame them: avant-garde art is inherently pretentious with it's "ooo, look at how I deconstruct certain pervasive elements in art and rearrange them for new experiences". It's pretty anarchist, and anarchists SUCK! Given this, I'm pretty surprised that Zorn is even on this list. I would've went with his much more popular "Naked City", but maybe that was too "jazz-rock" for 1001. Regardless, most people are going to walk away not enjoying John Zorn's work. So, what is he doing with this album? Well, he's got a 5-piece band built of two alto-saxophones, a bass, and TWO DRUMMERS! Neat. Double drummers is always risky but it's avant-garde so we'll let it slide. Cool production note: each saxophone is playing in a different channel (Zorn is in the right; listen for his licks!). Also of note is that everyone playing is improvising, giving a sort of full sound that surrounds the listener like a chaotic hug. Can you feel it? Zorn's compositions are interesting, as he opts to do these much shorter tracks that don't stick around for long before moving on the the next one. Zorn is heavily inspired by the hardcore punk scene in New York, London, and Tokyo at the time, particularly the rise in grindcore (see: Scum by Napalm Death). That sort of quick-and-dirty, attack on the ears is something that was very much inspired from grindcore and can be seen crossing over in jazz through Zorn. Again, most people will not like this, but for what it's worth I think it's a cool approach to jazz. By the 80's, Jazz had pretty well split; smooth jazz was on the rise with the likes of Kenny G, producing the most accessible, commercial music possible. Meanwhile, Jazz was being used more as a prop for other genres, such as acid jazz in the UK being a combination of electronic beats with jazz (great for clubs), or hip-hop producers incorporating jazz samples in their beats, leading to the rise of jazz rap in the late 80's and early 90's. This comes AFTER the prominence of avant-garde jazz actually, so Zorn is late to the party and very much on his own. Regardless, his approach to jazz with the mindset of hardcore punk makes for a fresh and thrilling listening experience. Overall, I think there's a lot one can take from this album, but they'll need to be open to the weirdness of it all. Do not expect structure, melodies, and rhythms that ground most songs. Instead, listen for how each instrument is playing off the others while also being totally independent from the song. There are times in this record where the stars align and you can hear the purposefulness of Zorn's band coming together in creating some really rad shit. But you gotta be open to it, or you'll just walk away thinking it's a total stinker. If you liked this record, consider listening to Ornette Coleman's stuff! I recommend "The Shape of Jazz to Come" and "Free Jazz", both records that did NOT make this list because Coleman ISN'T ANYWHERE ON THE LIST, DESPITE HIS NAME BEING HONORED BY THIS ALBUM. FUCK YOUUUUUUU 1001 ALBUMS!!!!

👍
View Author
Fri Aug 13 2021
5

Sounds like the drums are beating the shit out of the saxophones.

👍
View Author
Fri Oct 07 2022
3

You know what? Fuck you. 3 stars. After reading some of the more informative reviews here and putting this LP in context, I'm willing to give it a decent rating for being completely different than anything else I've heard on this list. While the first half is an absolute auditory mess (and I would bet more than a few of the people here don't even listen for more than 5 minutes), the back half shapes up into some pretty energetic improv work that had my toe tapping. It may not be an easy listen and it does take some understanding, but at least it's not another tepid Britpop or Bob Dylan album

👍
View Author
Thu Aug 26 2021
1

Tried to listen to this but there was something wrong with the YouTube file - it was just 40 minutes of a bunch of toddlers goofing around in a garage with an old saxophone and half a drum set.

👍
View Author
Wed Aug 04 2021
1

Just really terrible, very hard to listen to, and I say this as a lover of jazz. "Like a migraine in music form" -my wife

👍
View Author
Fri Sep 16 2022
5

John Zorn has made a work of genius that will transcend the ages. I went into this record completely blind and naive to what music could truly be. This damn incredible soundtrack feels like it has taken my aural virginity. My ears are bleeding for the first time, but it feels so good. My darkest desires have been set in motion, like a runaway train about to meet an explosive crescendo at the bottom of a rocky ravine. My windswept hair has Zorn's semen brushed through it and his dick is hanging out of my slack jaw as I listen in complete awe and adoration. I lust as it slithers its way into my psyche, into my trousers. If I could, I would marry this record so hard, that it would think that it's been fucked sideways by its own grandchild in the back of a station wagon heading 1000 miles an hour into the centre of the sun.

👍
View Author
Wed Nov 24 2021
2

I’ve listened to, and enjoyed, Ornette Coleman. I’ve listened to, and enjoyed, John Zorn. This sounds exactly like how I’d imagine Ornette Coleman played by John Zorn. This is music for masochists.

👍
View Author
Fri May 14 2021
1

I lasted 5 minutes. I now have a headache and the urge for some heroin.

👍
View Author
Wed Nov 24 2021
1

This album is possibly the worst album I have ever listened to, and that may be generous. I love experimentation, but this experiment should've stayed in the lab, John. From top to bottom, this was an assault on the senses. I had an ear infection listening to this, and I enjoyed the ear infection more. I cannot find a single redeemable thing about this album. I had to pause the album for about 15 minutes, and those 15 minutes were a sweet Oasis in a dessert of pointless cacophony without rhythm. How do you have two drummers and a bassist and use none of them effectively? All the great elements of any genre that could be compared were missing. None of the soul, punch, or craftsmanship of Jazz, none of the rhythm of thrash, no groove, no vocals, no variety. This sounds like vomit incarnate.

👍
View Author
Fri Dec 10 2021
1

This sent me down the rabbit hole of music in psychological warfare. Truly an abomination.

👍
View Author
Wed Jul 13 2022
1

12th July 2022 Listened while in the office, played life sized monopoly with Sav and Sal in the evening. At one point a fleet of police cars drove past the window with sirens blazing and I couldn’t tell if that was part of the music or not.

👍
View Author
Fri Oct 01 2021
5

The overall effect is of speed and density. At least two LP's of musical material is compressed to forty minutes. I have only the lightest grounding in Ornette's discography, but it's enough to bring me into each tune. With the exception of Peace Warriors, which gets a bit vampy (not a good thing in this form factor), there's plenty of distinction to find aural purchase on. One saxophone or the other is often playing something slower, or they're both holding a tone, or the drums become legible, or a bass line emerges. This doesn't abstract the tunes as much as I thought it would: The rhythm section is weird, with the drummers departing from all tradition and creating the unique texture, but there are intact melodies galore.

👍
View Author
Wed Aug 31 2022
5

Its either a 5 or a 1. I do not know what to do with this.

👍
View Author
Fri Jan 28 2022
4

That was fucking awesome. I love the intensity and the drums sound great! I typically learn towards fast-paced music, so this is right up my alley. This is basically the hardcore punk of jazz music.

👍
View Author
Wed Jan 27 2021
3

I know many people, including some whose opinions I hold in high regard, really go for this side of Zorn's eclectic catalogue. This struck me as a little less beatnik-screamo than Naked City but still not my cup of tea. Of course this is coming from the asshole who gave The Doors by The Doors 4 stars. An exhausting listen for me and the first item my Youtube Music subscription failed me on.

👍
View Author
Mon Jan 17 2022
2

Genre: Avant-Garde Jazz 2/5 I will say this: in some fucked up way, I do feel that I needed to hear this before I died. An absolute onslaught of noise, squealing saxophones and manic free-time drumming, sometimes so over-bearing and wild that laughter just spurted out of me, Spy vs. Spy is truly unique. It was fun playing the game, "Oh, There's The Song", where each song would start with a rushed take on an Ornette Coleman piece, go absolutely fucking crazy in the middle, then come on back to the song again, therein you'd say "Oh, There's The Song". Generally all in the course of a minute-and-a-half. And there's like 12 of them. The last few tracks slow it down big time compared to what preceded it, giving us a look at 4 really tremendous, classically trained jazz musicians, covering songs from a pioneer of their genre. Truthfully, the whole project showcases their talents. It takes a lot of training to be able to make saxophones sound like this, but it certainly isn't rendered in any way that makes it accessible. Put this on for a laugh next time you're in the car with someone, maybe The Disguise or Rejoicing.

👍
View Author
Thu Jun 03 2021
1

whoever gives this something higher than 1 star is off their fucking tits.

👍
View Author
Thu Feb 18 2021
1

Truly horrible. Unpleasant and unlistenable, with an overall historical profile that suggests it has no business being on this list. It's a shame that this was included over so many other worthy albums.

👍
View Author
Wed May 12 2021
1

Wish I could award zero stars

👍
View Author
Fri Jan 14 2022
4

Thrashcore jazz? What in god? Holy shit, I guess we are in for a violent, unhinged jazz onslaught. Good Old Days takes a little off the gas pedal for some more synchronized power. The drums are just SO BOOMY! They sound like they are 50 feet away! This is a fun album to just sonically surf through. Ecars is a fun tune with the heaviest end beat imaginable. Mob Job is like a pulling up to the station as the last act of this jazz rollercoaster of bodyblows and razor blades.

👍
View Author
Thu Sep 30 2021
3

What a thunderous cacophony! I'm surprised I've never heard this. I can't say I exactly enjoy a whole album of it but for a track or two this is kind of stunning in it's intensity. Two sets of drums recorded with some significant reverb and dueling saxophones going at it all at once is quite a unique arrangement. Really stopped me in my tracks when I first put it on. My ears took a minute to even be able to process what they were hearing. I like this but I'm giving it a 3 because I know I'd never put this on as an album or tolerate it if someone else did. There's very little variation of mood or relief from the intensity. Again, a track or two is exhilarating and would be mind blowing live but any more than that gets exhausting real quick.

👍
View Author
Fri Mar 05 2021
1

Just noise. And not good noise

👍
View Author
Fri Sep 16 2022
1

I really enjoyed this! Of course, by enjoyed, I mean I tolerated it. By tolerated it, I mean I'd rather have all of my skin chipped off with a cheese grater, whilst my dad mixes lemon juice with his own urine and pours it onto my raw, skinless body. All the while piranhas bite away at my feet, the piercing shrill of a whistle is blown in my face relentlessly and a montage of my worst ever erection moments is broadcast on giant TV screens to every major city in the world, than ever listen to this ever again.

👍
View Author
Wed Feb 22 2023
4

Bottled insanity. Not sure whether I like it, but I'm damn sure that it exists in the world. That someone said "how about Ornette Coleman...but hardcore?" and then executed this notion has helped me to love the human race just a little more.

👍
View Author
Thu Jan 27 2022
3

Une incompréhension totale à l'écoute de cet album. Que cherche à nous dire John Zorn? Quel message tente t'il de nous faire parvenir? Je vais tâcher de percer le mystère John Zorn, et reviendrai vers vous dès que j'ai du nouveau.

👍
View Author
Fri Aug 27 2021
1

What the fuck did I just listen to? It's like whoever orchestrated this mess told all the musicians, "Don't worry about what everyone else is playing, just play whatever you want as loud, hard, and fast as you can." I'm sure there is someone somewhere who enjoys listening to this type of thing, but it's not me. 1 star.

👍
View Author
Fri Apr 15 2022
1

It sounds like someone gave some random people some saxes and drums and said "go".

👍
View Author
Sun Aug 21 2022
5

Intense, demanding and thrilling, it is safe to say nothing else will sound quite like this on this whole project. There is something special when artists make something fresh from the sound around them and here two alto saxophones, two drums and bass make this ridiculous album which throws everything out the window whilst remaining compelling and exciting. It’s definitely challenging but there is something powerful in the emotional response of the listener, whether positive or negative. I think this might be a classic for the ages.

👍
View Author
Wed Apr 05 2023
5

This is fucking mental, I love it. The longer it goes on the more I love it. Hilarious that I got this the day after Adele. Obviously it starts off sounding like a jazz band falling down the stairs, but then you adjust. Kind of glad for the Spotify fail as it forced me to listen on headphones, and you can really pick out the intricacies. Can't tell because YouTube smooshed it all together but the song I think is Good Old Days is absolutely banging. Several more bangers later on but I've fully lost track by then. Thrash jazz, fuck yeah baby!

👍
View Author
Wed Apr 12 2023
5

TIDAL didn’t have Spy vs Spy but I listened to his top tracks and love it. Brought visions of the pink panther.

👍
View Author
Fri Jun 16 2023
5

This was very unique, and kind of awesome. The only way it is that, though, is knowing that Zorn and friends went in to record a jazz album as if it was a hardcore album. Otherwise, this is just a bunch of noise.

👍
View Author
Sat Jul 08 2023
5

Waaa… I braces myself for this record being often at the bottom of the rankings but whoa this actually blew me away. Death Metal but jazz … the drum sound is earth shatteringly awesome and amidst the swirling chaos is order and precision. Not for everyone I guess but I loved it.

👍
View Author
Wed Sep 06 2023
5

Weird as hell but strangely infectious! Don’t know what it says about me that I preferred this to any other jazz album I’ve had generated for me in the past 10 months, but I did. It’s fun and interesting and made me want to wiggle like a worm.

👍
View Author
Mon Oct 02 2023
5

Finally, my prayers for one of the insanely weird and inaccessible albums from the low rated list have been answered! This is jazz on acid. Not acid jazz, jazz on acid. It does bother me that Coleman himself is not included, and I would cut this album to make room for one of his, but I would cut other albums first. It’s just insane and brimming with energy, too, especially the drums and sax. I can tell why people dislike this one, but I love it.

👍
View Author
Thu Feb 11 2021
4

Not for everyone, I suppose, but I love the organized chaos that John Zorn brings, especially when paired with Ornette Coleman.

👍
View Author
Fri Feb 12 2021
4

Hard to find an actual copy of this--not even sure it's on YouTube? But the jamz are great.

👍
View Author
Wed Mar 10 2021
4

i couldnt find the studio album so I listened to the originals by Ornette Coleman. While my depth of knowledge of jazz music is limited I thoroughly enjoyed his work.

👍
View Author
Wed Jun 09 2021
4

It one of the strangest things that I ever listen to, but still very powerful and I don't know why I liked it, but I liked it. I'm not a jazz fan, but this kind of thing touches me in some way that is strongest than my comprehension

👍
View Author
Thu Jun 17 2021
4

Exellent avant garde jazz sound but cannot get the album unfortunately.

👍
View Author
Fri Jul 30 2021
4

this specific album was not on Spotify, but John Zorn's songs were. I liked a lot of them, but the more out-there songs/instrumentals were not my favorite.

👍
View Author
Sun Nov 07 2021
4

Jazzy, funky fun It wasn't on spotify, I listened to it on youtube.

👍
View Author
Fri Mar 25 2022
4

I like weird stuff! But i probably wouldn't listen again

👍
View Author
Wed Apr 06 2022
4

Explosive. Noise rock fused with jazz. Very energetic, very upbeat, very experimental and free. The album does not really have any sort of direction or flow, but it is fun to listen to and keeps me on the edge of my seat. At times it can seem like a battle of the bands between the two saxophonists, and at others they synergize well; I prefer the latter. A great showcase of talent here and it is good to hear something so experimental.

👍
View Author
Mon Aug 22 2022
4

It's loud, it's obnoxious and it's unsettling. But isn't that the point of jazz? John Zorn pushes the Avante Garde sound of jazz to the limits where it almost sounds like heavy metal - again, isn't that the point of jazz? To experiment? Spy vs. Spy is a great symphonic, catastrophic wall of noise that somehow flows into a very good album. 4/5.

👍
View Author
Thu Sep 29 2022
4

Bat shit crazy but wonderful

👍
View Author
Thu Oct 20 2022
4

This is an extreme musical example of the Marmite principle - and I wanted to slather it all over my morning bitterly toast, then lick the knife. Granted, you can’t listen to this all day, everyday: it’s an assault on your brain and ears which doesn’t leave you much choice other than to turn the volume firmly down then rip off the knob or jump right in and let the chaos wash over you. But. It’s chaos built on a foundation of incredible talent and musicianship. Two saxophone, two drum kits and a bass guitar all improvising and able to remain in some Free Jazz hive mind state. Most of the album is so perilously on the edge of descending and unraveling into an inaudible dirge - but they some how keep enough tension between them to keep walking along the tightrope. However there are also examples of more traditional harmonies and jazz rhythms (Ecars, Feet Music & Mob Job) to show that these are a group of musicians right at the top of thier game. And fuck me, rather this than Oasis, The Manics or The Stones. At least they won’t die wondering “What if…?”

👍
View Author
Wed Nov 09 2022
4

When my mom complains that all jazz sounds made up, this is what she must be referring to. I love it

👍
View Author
Sun Dec 04 2022
4

I found this baffling, intense, gut wrenching, and cool as hell

👍
View Author
Mon Mar 20 2023
4

Lolol!! I'm not sure what kind of mood you'd need to be in to listen to this. You couldn't need to concentrate because it takes over as a wall of sound. I guess it's interesting to listen to to spot any patterns or rhythm in the total chaos. Maybe you could use it to unwind tension or anger?? Weirdly enough there's a Radiohead track "The National Anthem" that ends like this so I guess i has influenced others?

👍
View Author
Sun Apr 09 2023
4

Maniacal in the best way. Not for everyone but I'm glad this was on the list, I've got a new avant-garde jazz catalog to dive into now.

👍
View Author
Fri Apr 28 2023
4

I like John Zorn, but why this album? Why not Naked City or Bar Kokhba? Anyway, it was delightfully chaotic and pleasantly unpredictable. "Good Old Days", "Enfant", the playful "Ecars", the romping "Feet Music" and the epic finale of "Mob Job" are my favs here. 4 Oh's out of 5 Yeah's

👍
View Author
Tue Aug 15 2023
4

Despite the fact that I like Ornette Coleman, I was set to not like this album, since it's difficult to reinterpret the work of such a distinctive artist. I think what makes this album really work is the drums, which help bring focus to the chaos of each song. The drums thunder throughout and it makes everything seem much more coherent. I will say that the tone on the bass can be a little muzak-y for my taste, but it doesn't do much to harm the overall sound of the album 4/5

👍
View Author
Thu Jan 27 2022
3

Un album absolument effrayant quand on connaît le contexte dans lequel il a été enregistré. En 1989, alors que John Zorn sort d'un concert, celui-ci appelle un taxi. Il s'assoit sur la banquette arrière et remarque que la place à sa gauche est occupée par un fût métallique sur lequel est dessiné une tête de mort ainsi que le mot DANGER. Il donne sa destination au taxi qui se met en route. Quelques instants plus tard, la voiture entre en collision avec un poids lourd. À son réveil à l'hôpital, trois jours après l'accident, John Zorn est horrifié : son saxophone a été soudé à sa bouche. Il ne fait désormais qu'un avec l'instrument. Il sort alors de sa chambre puis du bâtiment et s'en va semer la terreur dans les rues de New-York avec ses mélodies très rapides et aléatoires.

👍
View Author
Thu Mar 09 2023
3

Absolutely anxiety inducing less than a minute in. He certainly is doing his own thing and I—kinda—like it, but also I one hundred percent understand how someone wouldn't. It sounds like every musician was given sheet music for the song and told to just get through it as fast as they fucking could. I don't think I'll ever listen to this again, but it was surely interesting to hear what thrash and jazz would sound like together. In that sense, he did a great job, but music is no good if you can't enjoy it and I can't imagine where this could be enjoyed or who would ever seriously put this on. The timing of the drums rarely match up with the brass, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it isn't done particularly well on this album. Also gets a tad repetitive. It looks like people are really hating on this album and all I can say is that I get it, at least more than most people it seems. 3/5

👍
View Author
Fri Sep 01 2023
3

Because I had to go to YouTube to listen to Spy vs Spy, this ended up being a hilarious listening experience: Every 7 minutes or so, the completely uncommercial free jazz squall on this record was interrupted by YouTube ads, as if to say, “This atonal jazz nightmare acid trip was brought to you by 1-800-FLOWERS.” There was also a commercial for schizophrenia medication, which felt like an extremely cynical attempt at targeted marketing on YouTube’s part.

👍
View Author
Thu Oct 12 2023
3

Not as "extreme" as I thought it would be, honestly. This record having one of the lowest global scores on this app, I was already aware of its "reputation" through some of the reviews left here. I was expecting utter chaos. Well, chaos is there, there's no arguing about that. But good music is there too, as "tiring" as said music may be for some virgin ears. Oh, by the way: wikipedia rants about the supposed "grindcore" and "thrashcore" influences on those Ornette Coleman covers, but I gotta say that those influences sound quite superficial to me. Maybe I'm deaf to them, I don't know, but I'm relatively familiar with those genres, so I don't think I'm talking though my hat here... Indeed, it seems to me that the so-called "punk influences" on *Spy vs Spy* mostly came from the fact that John Zorn was hanging out with members of that scene at the time. But essentially, what we have here is more like an amped-up and sped-up version of free-jazz, which doesn't owe a lot to hardcore punk, except for a few quick, subliminal rhythm patterns once in a while. As a matter of fact, and for the first four or five tracks at least, you can easily link this work to the free-jazz giants of the preceding decades. You just need to add more amphetamines or cocaine to the mix. Symbolically speaking, of course... Things get even more hectic in the middle of the LP though, somewhere between "Enfant" and "Ecars". Zorn and company are making a mean and wonderful racket there, and aspirin is highly recommended by that point. Yet starting with "Feet Music", Zorn and his musicians let things breathe a little again. The proceedings are not exactly "mellow" there, mark my words--but there's a film-noir dimension to some of those cuts that's, well... interesting. Those last cuts would rather illustrate frantic action scenes, instead of melancholic ones, obviously. But once again, we're not so far from certain other jazz traditions that also hailed form NYC. Now the real problem with the presence of this record in Dimery's list does not come from the record itself, very ironically. As "weird" as *Spy vs Spy* is, it is what it is--not worse than plenty of other "experimental" recordings out there, and probably even better than many others. No, the real issue stems from the following situation: a) There's no Ornette Coleman album in the 1001 Albums book. Yet every jazz fan knows how much of a pivotal (and controversial) figure he was at the turn of the sixties. It's a little as if the book had selected an album made out of covers of Bob Dylan without selecting any of Bob's original albums. Including *The Shape Of Jazz To Come* in the book would probably have been enough. Yet, like so many jazz masterpieces--especially in the subcategory of free jazz--said album is conspicuously absent from Dimery's work. b) I'm no more of an expert about John Zorn than I am one of Ornette Coleman, but I happen to have a couple of friends who know him quite well. I can't say that I've dug any further after the evenings we spent together when they played some of Zorn's works to me (it was a long time ago, and I only have a blurry memory of what the music sounded like). Yet I'm adamant they never told me about *Spy vs Spy*'s existence. When it comes to Zorn's hardcore-free-jazz and film-noir-oriented work, they probably played *Naked City*, with its reference points going from Ennio Morricone's soundtracks to the Cramps and B52s gothic strands of 50s rock. And they surely played excerpts from the "world-music-oriented" collection of "Masada" albums--summing up a lot of the man's overall sense of sonic adventure. Those albums (*Naked City* and the *Masada" collection) have even been the starting point of two of Zorn's most famous side-projects as a group member--side-priojects actually named after those LPs. Which probably proves how important those records are in his discography. To put it in a nutshell, it appears that Dimmery's inclusion of *Spy vs Spy* is a disservice not only to *one* artist whose name is associated with the project, but to *two* of them, both Coleman and Zorn. Besides, it doesn't take an expert to quickly get that this record is a very poor entry point to know more about those two legendary musicians. It's too "niche", and not much more than an anecdote compared to the greater picture I'm sensing here--once again, both for Ornette Coleman and John Zorn. So I'm gonna have to do my own research elsewhere, I'm afraid... I'm still giving a 3/5 grade to *Spy vs Spy* according to the purposes of this list of "essential" albums (translating to a 8/10 grade for more general purposes--5+3). Because I feel like the record's global score is unfairly low, given what it really is and the sort of audience it aims at. Yet I can't argue with the innocent listeners who have been confronted to the album without having the slightest contextual elements in hand to understand the global works of the artists who originated this music, in one way or another. Which is why I don't feel like it's necessary to include this LP is a general list of "essential" albums. Let potentially interested people come to it through other (and longer) paths. Exposing it like this, without any preliminary caution or explanation, is only exposing it to ridicule from the masses. Which is pretty unfair. Number of albums left to review: 417 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 269 Albums from the list might* include in mine later on: 142 Albums from the list I won't include in mine (many others are more essential to me): 178 (including this one).

👍
View Author
Thu Sep 29 2022
2

I'm glad that someone made this and it exists. I don't ever want to listen to it again. There's something about it, like when you go to an art gallery and see some pretentious shit and think, "My toddler could do that." But there is some subtle difference. This is the musical equivalent of Tate Modern finger painting.

👍
View Author
Thu Mar 18 2021
1

Wow, I didn't know that music can make you so uncomfortable. I didn't like it at all, Korn was at least listenable and sometimes fun.

👍
View Author
Fri May 14 2021
1

Unlistenable Zero stars if I could

👍
View Author
Thu Jul 01 2021
1

What happens when you give a bunch of spazzes, that have only played with their instruments for an hour or so, a gigantic bag of cocaine. This chaotic dumpsterfire of "jazz" apparently.... 1/5.

👍
View Author
Wed Sep 29 2021
1

What. In the blue fuck. Was that?

👍
View Author
Mon Nov 08 2021
1

Fuckin' what?! Just dreadful. 0/5.

👍
View Author
Mon Jan 24 2022
1

In the words of Michael Scott. "No God, Please No! NOOOOOOOOOOO"

👍
View Author
Fri Mar 11 2022
1

The sound of an anxiety attack

👍
View Author
Fri Mar 11 2022
1

Absolutely hectic bullshit that made me feel even more anxious than I normally do on a daily basis… hope I never have to listen again

👍
View Author
Tue Oct 17 2023
1

I was curious to listen to this album, as I had heard that John Zorn was a talented and innovative saxophonist and composer. However, I was very disappointed by what I heard. The album is a tribute to Ornette Coleman, a pioneer of free jazz, but it does not do justice to his legacy. Instead, it is a chaotic and noisy mess that tries to combine free jazz with hardcore punk, thrashcore and grindcore. The album consists of 17 tracks, all composed by Coleman, but performed in a very brief and intense style by Zorn and his band. The tracks range from 1 to 4 minutes in length, but they feel much longer due to the lack of structure, melody and harmony. The saxophones are constantly screeching, squealing and clashing in stereo, while the bass and drums provide a frenetic and erratic rhythm. The music is so loud and abrasive that it gave me a headache after listening to it. I understand that Zorn wanted to experiment with different genres and challenge the conventions of jazz, but I think he went too far with this album. It is not enjoyable or accessible to listen to, and it does not capture the spirit or the beauty of Coleman's music. Even more frustrating that Coleman himself doesn’t have an album on the list! It is an insult to both jazz and punk fans, and a waste of time and money. I would not recommend this album to anyone, unless they want to torture themselves or their enemies. I give it 1 star out of 5. (Lost an extra star due to this being picked over an actual Coleman album)

👍
View Author
Fri Jan 21 2022
5

I loved listening to this. It was surprising and sharp. Chaotic, yet organized. It kinda felt like my life, haha. I have a feeling that if I owned a coffee shop, this might be on rotation there. But, softly!

👍
View Author
Thu Nov 23 2023
5

Jazzin elementit: Blues, Ragtime ja Marssi Uuden ajan tekojen tuska ei näy blues puolella. Ragtimen synkooppinen rytmi on taas pelkkä naurunalaisuus, sillä maple leaf rag on näiden poikien mielestä klassista. Punkin sentään pojat luontavat yksinkertaiseksi, niinkuin se on. Klassinen ei siis 80 luvun lopulle käy ja punkkiin eivät pojat alistu. Puhallinsoittimien Tim bernen vasen ja John Stornen oikea ovat marssista kaukana. Halkaistu sotilas ei pitkälle kävele.. Ja kun looginen puoli ja artistinen ovat täysin irrallisena, saadaan mielettöman hauska trash jazz albumi.

👍
View Author
Sun Dec 03 2023
5

I can't say if Ornette Coleman ever heard this album, but I like to think he would approve. John Zorn and his band spin Coleman's free jazz in a new direction, taking influence from the 80s hardcore scene, with two (!!) sets of blistering drums, a heavy bass guitar, and short, quick compositions. With a different saxophone improvising in each ear you're blasted with a beautiful wall of sound. A pleasant and unexpected discovery for me.

👍
View Author
Fri Dec 08 2023
5

This is the perfect blend of the New York-London-Tokyo punk jazz. The album itself approaches free jazz from the perspective of hardcore punk, particularly taking note of the contemporary innovations of thrashcore and grindcore. I loved this album and listened to it multiple times today - a new classic for sure! Was it aggressive throughout? Yes. Did it need to let up on the gas a bit and breathe in the second half? Most definitely. Did I love it anyways? Absolutely!

👍
View Author
Sun Dec 24 2023
5

Anything that TRULY broadens my horizons earns a perfect score in my eyes. That was batshit insane.

👍
View Author
Fri Jan 19 2024
5

Fucking phenomenal. Sounds like a manic episode. I'm absolutely obsessed, new favorite study music

👍
View Author
Mon Feb 12 2024
5

Speed jazz. I'm pretty sure that at least one of these is just someone tripping over the drums and falling into the saxaphones. Squigley. Definitely squigley. I really like this quite a lot. It seems sort of like concrete poetry to me where there is a slab of language all working at the same time to do multiple things. It is amazing how the brain takes a pile of noise like this and follows different parts looking for patterns and recognizable things.

👍
View Author
Thu Feb 22 2024
5

Think of how much blow these guys were doing recording this bad boy.

👍
View Author
Thu Feb 22 2024
5

A wild record. It’s an amazing work if you sit down and pay attention and soak in the sounds. But if you’re not 100 percent into it, you’ve got a bad time on the horizon. What a sonic wonder.

👍
View Author
Wed Jan 27 2021
4

Jazz, met lekkere muzikale ritmische nummers. Qua mastering lekker strakke mix.

👍
View Author
Thu Mar 31 2022
4

Couldn't find this exact album but listened to some other stuff. It was alright.

👍
View Author
Thu Jun 16 2022
4

Me ha parecido un flipe. Difícil, pero flipante. Nunca he escuchado el Jazz como se escucha aquí. Brutal.

👍
View Author
Tue May 09 2023
4

I kind of knew what I was getting into here, I've dabbled in some of Coleman's more well known albums (The Shape of Jazz To Come, Free Jazz, This Is Our Music etc) and once owned a cassette of Zorn's Naked City from back when I used to just read the reviews in Rolling Stone and Spin and buy music sight unseen (sound unheard?) Some of those albums turned into discoveries of some all time favorite bands and artists. They Might Be Giants self titled debut and Camper Van Beethoven's Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart are couple of examples, Naked City really isn't. I liked some of it to an extent but it really wasn't my thing. The Coleman stuff though I can honestly say I've enjoyed over the years, I'm no expert but free jazz doesn't just sound like a bunch of noise to me as it apparently does judging from many of the reviews here. Maybe the negative reviews lowered my expectations a little but I did enjoy this. Am I gonna put it on during a party? It would have to be the hippest party I've ever been to so probably not but if a couple of like-minded friends came over to toke I might see what they thought.

👍
View Author
Fri May 19 2023
4

This was pretty remarkable - I don't know that I'll listen to it regularly, but it was quite a feat to take one of the most experimental jazz performers and somehow make it even more out there.

👍
View Author
Tue May 23 2023
4

10am - too much 10pm - loved it This is not background music

👍
View Author
Fri Jun 02 2023
4

This shit is off the hook. Amazing guitars. I actually like this better than Ornate Coleman.

👍
View Author
Fri Jun 09 2023
4

Didn't know this kind of hardcore jazz existed but I'm a big fan. Love the drums and overall chaos. Enjoyed the whole album but the first ten songs were my favorite. 4.5/5 FS: Good Ole Days, Enfant

👍
View Author
Thu Jun 15 2023
4

I've never had an album give me literal anxiety before. Like what the hell did I just listen to. That being said, this album is either a 1 or a 5, and there is no in-between. Screw this, I'm giving it a 4. Does it sound like children messing around with random sounds and bashing on drums? Yes, yes, it does. Jazz is awesome.

👍
View Author
Tue Jul 04 2023
4

Two alto sax, two drums, one bass: John Zorn + Ornette Coleman = awesome!

👍
View Author
Fri Jul 28 2023
4

No nyt oli kyllä kunnon jazz mäiskettä :D Aika helvetin kaoottista mutta silti kyllä oudon hyvä

👍
View Author
Sat Sep 09 2023
4

Damn even if it's bot easy to listen that i love it

👍
Load more reviews