Riss’s Ramblings – The Big Gundown

Preconcived Notions: Well I’ve already read the other record club feelings on this, it seems to be “controversial” at best.  I’m guessing this is going to be another non-formulaic album.  Which means my bounds of patience will be tested.

As Listening:
Five minutes in to the first track, I’ve looked back at the window and realized I still have two more minutes.  It’s chanting and noises from a children’s playground, someone emitting a gamma ray, a drum circle, and classical piano all thrown in a blender and sometimes mixed at high speed and sometimes slowed down. It’s weird to have the cowboy vocals thrown in at the end, like someone playing at being a cowboy in the backyard. Picture in My Head: three little boys running around the house, knocking things over, waking up their little sister, and then finally making it outside to the yard and riding trying to ride the dog like he’s a horse shouting “he-yah, he-yah” as the dog just lays there.

Peur Seur La Ville- Picture in my head: It’s 1939 and it’s a gangster movie and someone is sliding in and out of the shadows, down alleys and abandoned streets.  It’s not as terrible as the first one
Poverty (once upon a time in America)
Erotico: This sounds like the background in some terrible 80s Adrian Lyne film.  I can’t tell if it’s just so awfully obvious and that’s why it’s annoying, or if I really do have an ear allergy to what can best be described as “yeowling”.  Or is that part of the joke?
Battle of Algiers: Did Patton march with kazoos?  I like the piano part of this piece and that’s it. The explosion noises in the background, come on.
Giu La Testa (Duck, You Sucker!): I actually was really liking this piece until the “boing” sound started.  I’m not sure what instrument makes it, but if I ever have a child who comes home from school and tells me that’s what he wants to learn I’m shipping said child off to my parents for the school year.
Metamorfosi- I feel like this is the track that I would hear if I was either walking through Andy Warhol’s actual house, or a haunted house based on Andy Warhol’s actual house.  I’m sure the meaning of it is very deep and I just don’t get it.  The last part seems filled with people who are doing vocal exercises at the Joan Crawford school of improvisation and suddenly Slash shows up!
Tre Nel 5000-09: I was just getting ready to give up on this when the banjos came in, then they disappeared.  Picture in my head: if I was watching a trek through the woods of Tennessee and Alabama through the eyes of a character on acid, who suddenly finds himself babysitting a hillbilly child.  In a state of fear, he abandons the stranger baby to the wolves.
The Sicilian Clan: It’s a shame it took so long for me to get to this track.  Picture in my head: pretty much exactly like the end of “The Spy Who Loved Me”.  Isn’t that the one where Bond and his lady end up in some underwater bubble-like thing that just happens to be furnished?
The Ballad of Hank McCain: At one point, Grooveshark started skipping, but at first, I wasn’t sure if it was intentional, since this seems like the kind of album that would intentionally skip. Oh my god, is Jim Morrison back from the dead?! This is actually my favorite track from the album.  I’m not sure if it’s because there’s actually singing, or because it mostly makes sense to me. Clearly this is the song at the end of a commercial for McCain French Fries featuring cowboy French fries.

After Listening:  I like to think of myself as open-minded, perhaps more set in my ways and opinions than others, but not so much that I can’t admit when my opinions change or when I like something new.  But this album has forced me to find my threshold, so congratulations.  All I can say is that, most of it, wasn’t for me.  I didn’t see where the effort was put in.  All I really heard on most of it was pots and pans being banged together by children under the age of five.  I enjoyed that it certainly made me focus and made my brain try to figure out “what in the hell would this be used for?” but as music, nope, it didn’t strike me as anything I need to hear again.  Going by this album alone, John Zorn is like the Lars Von Trier of music for me. But at least it wasn’t boring.

Favorite: The Ballad of Hank McCain and parts of others like The Sicilian Clan & Giu La Testa
Least Favorite: Erotico  & The Big Gundown

Overall: 2.0

Riss (46 Posts)

Raised in the Midwest, Marissa feels that she has absolutely no good defense for liking what she likes or nominating what she nominates. She likes it that way. With a preference for the indie music scene, there was a time before (alright a rough adolescence) filled with oldies, then country, then pop. She was an unabashed slave to Nsync, and boy bands in general, but not Backstreet Boys, god no! But that has passed. Marissa is passionate about music and about caring about music (and caring about things in general). She considers herself a stereotype, a cliche and a conundrum, all at the same time. When not listening to music Marissa enjoys watching movies, that she will sometimes review on her blog. She is an avid reader and a seasoned podcaster.

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