Named after a character from Stanley Kubrick's The Killing, In Memory of Nikki Arane is a sprawling, cinematic feat of improvisation. Instead of creating a theoretical score to accompany a movie, Zorn and Chadbourne have literally produced what might literally be considered a soundtrack of sorts. Instead playing textural pieces to convey a mood or emotion, the duo create sounds that imitate actions. What actions, of course, are left entirely to the listener -- though they are usually brutally violent or darkly industrial. Like much of the musicians' respective free work, there is generally no continuous melodic thread through the music, though ideas are developed in different ways: through repetition, variation, action, and reaction. The sounds are miles away from the instruments that produced them: modified acoustic and electric guitars, dobro, and other items in Chadbourne's case, and a variety of saxophones, clarinets, and game calls in Zorn's. All four improvisations are thoroughly abrasive and not for the weak of constitution.
AllMusic Review by Jesse Jarnow