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The John Lurie National Orchestra: The Invention of Animals

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Saxophonist John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards could function like an orchestra. On its last album, 1998’s Queen of All Ears, there was bass, drums, guitar, percussion, keys, cello and three horns. Lurie’s National Orchestra, though, was a minimal thing. Featuring Grant Calvin Weston on drums, Billy Martin on percussion and the leader on alto and soprano, the Orchestra was free of both harmony and the basslines that hold a group together. It had no choice but to make primitive music, the kind of sounds you’d imagine scoring a séance in a remote village. It was stunning-magnificent in its roughness and rawness. A compilation featuring a pair of previously unreleased live tracks, The Invention of Animals is like a vivid, hypnotic dream about the beginning of time. It will stay with you.

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