Archive for the ‘conceptual continuity’ Category

Chicago ’78

Posted: December 10, 2016 in album review, conceptual continuity, zappa
Frank Zappa, Chicago '78, Vaulternative Records/Zappa Records, ZR 20025, November 2016

Frank Zappa, Chicago ’78, Vaulternative Records/Zappa Records, ZR 20025, November 2016

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The Fall 1978 Zappa line up performed 34 shows between August 26th and October 31st. In 2003 ZFT celebrated this band with a multi-channel (DVD-A) selection of recordings from the NYC Halloween final leg of this world Tour, a special performance as usual for an album definitely titled Halloween. However, Zappa didn’t give these performances much space in his discography, just a few episodes in the YCDTOSA series, most of them from the NYC above mentioned leg, in Volume 6. Probably this material, though evolving and featuring completely different drumming, is too close to Sheik Yerbouti; also the arrangements of the new pieces sometimes were not at their best (e.g. Easy Meat), some other times needed some more eyebrows (e.g. Bamboozled), or were just raw material (e.g. I’m A Beautiful Guy/Crew Slut). Keep it Greasy is a special case that needed that ’79 Garage treatment to reach his best.

In spite of such kind of minuses, this tour has a lot of interest for those hard-core fanatics keen on listening again to the Sheik Yerbouti repertoire with Vinnie “rhythmic encyclopedia” Colaiuta on drums: a completely different interplay later to be spotlighted on Shut Up ‘n’ Play yer Guitar. (It’s not a matter of drums competition here, Colaiuta and Bozzio are different drummers, both deserve to be listened). Also, some “old” news were particularly appealing. Ike Willis vocals perfectly fit Village Of The Sun and that soulful Roxy sound. Strictly Genteel entered the rock band stage for the first time in this tour, and remained there until 1988.

Frank Zappa was almost perfectly in the middle of his career, if you consider the May 1963 Mount St. Mary’s College concerts the beginning, and the Yellow Shark 1993 tour the outstanding but painful end. He had a fresh and solid repertoire (Sheik Yerbouti), he was developing a lot of new material, later to find his way to Joe’s Garage, You Are What You Is and Tinsel Town Rebellion, and he also gave the 1978 audience some hints from far (Little House) and near (Yellow Snow) past.

For these reasons until 2003, hard-core fandom was stuck with some gorilla recordings, being Poughkeepsie and Saarbrücken perhaps the most renowned and heavily bootlegged. The former must be mentioned also for a very special live rendition of Moe’s Vacation (still unreleased), while the latter is also known as part of the Beat the Boots I series (published by Zappa in 1991). Also bootlegged and interesting are the August rehearsals tapes, with a great version of Packard Goose, still lacking the classic Information is not Knowledge anthem.

So the 2003 Halloween album sounded particularly refreshing for such a public as long as this brand new Chicago ’78 album:

cd 1
1 Chicago Walk-On 1:20
2 Twenty-One 8:26
3 Dancin’ Fool 3:29
4 Easy Meat 5:41
5 Honey, Don’t You Want A Man Like Me? 4:21
6 Keep It Greasy 3:41
7 Village Of The Sun 9:15
8 The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing 3:29
9 Bamboozled By Love 8:32
10 Sy Borg 4:36

cd 2
1 Little House I Used To Live In 9:38
2 Paroxysmal Splendor (includes: FZ & Pig/I’m A Beautiful Guy/Crew Slut) 7:14
3 Yo’ Mama 12:28
4 Magic Fingers 2:37
5 Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow 18:36
6 Strictly Genteel 8:25
7 Black Napkins 8:01

Uptown Theater
Chicago, Illinois
29 September 1978 (Show 2)

Players:
Frank Zappa: Guitar, Vocals
Ike Willis: Guitar, Vocals
Denny Walley: Slide Guitar, Vocals
Tommy Mars: Keyboards, Vocals
Peter Wolf: Keyboards
Ed Mann: Percussion, Vocals
Arthur Barrow: Bass, Vocals
Vinnie Colaiuta: Drums, Vocals

Original recordings produced by Frank Zappa
Produced for release by Gail Zappa & Joe Travers
1978 Mix Engineer: Davy Moire
1978 Recordist: Claus Weideman
2014 Re-mix Engineer: Craig Parker Adams, Winslow CT Studio, Hollywood CA
2014 Mastering Engineer: Bob Ludwig, Gateway Mastering
Package Design: Michael Mesker
Production Manager: Melanie Starks
Photography: Courtesy of the Vault
Text by FZ

The album booklet includes the September 29 concert program, also available at afka.

These recordings originate from three different sources, as noted by the Vaultmeister “in order to present this shows in it’s entirety”, and the result is truly excellent, it probably sounds clearer than Hallowen. The opener gives immediately a perfect test for your hears: detailed stereo image, prominent drums and guitar to enjoy that classic interplay, reference vibes and bass a little bit back. Twenty-One, later to be titled Trance-Fusion, should be the single of the album, since the audience here is a hard-core one. A necessary note on this piece by meister zappateer pbuzby:

Twenty-One is a riff in (as the title implies) 21/8. It was played at 9-17-78 (L) and this show as a guitar vehicle, and at 10-29-78 with solos by other band members. It also showed up the second verse of the studio version of Keep It Greasey, and eventually resurfaced in ’88 as the solo vamp for Marqueson’s Chicken. (One of those solos became the title cut of Trance Fusion.)

And side B of the Chicago ’78 single should be the closing song of cd 1: Sy Borg, in an arrangement and with sounds close to the studio version, but with a special live vibe. Twenty-One/Sy Borg could be a perfect Record Store Day treat!

In between cd1 flows at a steady pace, beyond that 2017 Record Store Day single, Village Of The Sun and Bamboozled By Love are other highlights of the show, with a lot of Danny Walley slide guitar to enjoy.

Cd 2 starts with Little House I Used To Live In, it is the classic mid show section with a lot of space for various improvisation, and after a drums solo the band goes crazy and tries also a couple of new things (I’m A Beautiful Guy/Crew Slut), during a section properly entitled Paroxysmal Splendor.

What follows is classic ’70s Zappa, I for one am very happy of another Black Napkins (even if there already are more than ten officially released versions), and I am particularly glad that we eventually have a new version of Yo’ Mama, a 1978 Zappa signature song.

Chicago ’78 is two hours of solid entertainment if you are longing to listen to your fifteenth high-fi Black Napkins and if your are still looking for the missing link between Martian Love Secrets and Arrogant Mop.

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Frank Zappa, Uptown Theater, Chicago, IL, September 29, 1978, by Richard Freeman

Frank Zappa, Uptown Theater, Chicago, IL, September 29, 1978, by Richard Freeman

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The Listening Lounge at Kittelson Manor (from The Broadcast Adventures of HowieZowie facebook page)

The Listening Lounge at Kittelson Manor (from The Broadcast Adventures of HowieZowie facebook page)

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From the facebook “About” page of “The Broadcast Adventures of HowieZowie”:

“Conceptual Continuity with HowieZowie” is a weekly two hour Zappa radio show broadcasting Thursday night at 10pm PST on Blue Mountain Radio KQBM-LP 103.7FM in West Point, California & KQBM 90.7FM in San Andreas, California – streaming live at http://www.kqbm.org. Saturday night at Midnight EST on WERU 89.9FM in Blue Hill, Maine/99.9FM in Bangor, Maine – streaming live/archiving at http://www.weru.org. Encore Saturday night at 11pm PST on Blue Mountain Radio KQBM-LP 103.7FM in West Point, California & KQBM 90.7FM in San Andreas, California – streaming live at http://www.kqbm.org.

Here is the WERU Community Radio direct link to the Conceptual Continuity with HowieZowie archive page (only the last two episodes are available): click here.

Howie Zowie, aka Howie Kittelson, is a London (Ontario) based radio personality with a taste for audio editing. He accurately selects music for the talk over sections of his shows, and with Zappa the result is remarkable! A two hours radio show like Conceptual Continuity with HowieZowie conveniently flows and you may get some CC clue.

On July 28, 2016 such an all Zappa show got 5 years old, Howie Zowie had Joe Travers as a guest and Spastic Droopers as secret word.

Joe talked about The Crux of Biscuit / Frank Zappa for President new FZ releases and gives some cool hints for the releases to come, such as a Waka/Wazoo box set!

What follows is a transcript of some parts of the conversation Howie and Joe had (thank you Howie for the accurate editing of my raw transcript!).

29:47 (part 1)Overture to Uncle Sam

Joe Travers: It was for and in an Opera, and definitely was one of the later synclavier pieces of Frank’s – very very late in fact. We found some footage of Todd Yvega and Spencer Chrislu being interviewed for the American Composer radio documentary that happened in 1995.

And they used that piece as a demonstration for the Synclavier at the time, so it was definitely one of the later pieces. And we founded it on a reel of Ensemble Modern rehearsals and performances that ended up becoming Everything is Healing Nicely.

But Frank put together a 40 minutes collage of that that audio, lot of stuff on the rehearsals and I think Spence based most of what he, what Frank put together for Everything is Healing Nicely, but also on it it was the Overture to Uncle Sam.

I always kept that thing in my back pocket for some kind of release. Gail and I have talked about various different releases including that piece and then when Frank Zappa for President was offered to me as a project I really thought like that it would be a good thing to put it on there. And so that’s how ended up happening!

46:43 (part 1) –  If I was a President

Howie Kittelson: I see that the musical track and the spoken words were done in different times, were they meant to go together from the beginning or is that something that you combined?

JT: No, that’s something I combined.

HK: In that aspect it is very reminiscent of Drooling Midrange Accountans in Easter Hay.

JT: That was something Dweezil put together, obviously the same concept was used for the If I was a President thing.

1:56 (part 2)Brown Shoes Don’t Make It

HK: I see that was a remix done in ’69 by Dick Kunk, correct?

JT: Yes

HK: Now, what was the purpose of that remix, what is that associated with?

JT: We’ll never know. It is not listed as such, although my opinion is that it was probably remixed for some kind of film project.

HZ: Gotcha.

JT: But we don’t know what it is. I don’t know if it was Uncle Meat – I don’t know what that film project would be. But there’s a couple of other classic songs on that reel that were remix as well, so Brown Shoes is not the only one. But considering the theme of that song, I thought that it would be a good thing to put it on that album, because it’s an older Mothers song in a remixed form that nobody has ever heard before. So I figured that it would tie in with that record.

3:27 (part 2)Amnerika

JT: It was recorded during the Thing-Fish sessions – and all I can say is that piece, the vocal version of that song was intended for one of the volumes of The Lost Episodes project, because The Lost Episodes one time was kind of worked into a three volume project. Ans since Frank brought The Lost Episodes down to one disc, then there was a bunch of leftovers and that happened to be one of the leftovers. We do have the ability to do another Lost Episodes volume from those leftovers, but Gail was basically using a lot of stuff from that for other projects, or at least wanted me to. So, I figured – well this is the perfect time for this song for this project. I have to come up with content somehow, even if we kind of repeat things maybe once in a while in future releases, at least I was able to do what I was told and putting together that Frank Zappa for President record, so that’s where that song ended up!

19:23 (part 2)The Crux of the Biscuit

HK: I have always wondered to myself: was the use of apostrophe in so many blues song titles, could that have been an inspiration on Frank when he came to the apostrophe?

JT: Hmmmm, I don’t know – I’m not sure. I wish I could answer that (laughs).

HZ: Do you have your own theory about the apostrophe?

JT: I really don’t know (laughs), Dweezil kind of explains The Crux of the Biscuit on dweezilzappaworld.com – I think, as far as like the term, what that means, what the apostrophe stands for – so you can check that out.

29:20 (part 2)Apostrophe (‘) early side one – Cosmik Debris

HK: The version of Cosmik Debris that opens that – the new 2016 intro, is that your doing?

JT: No, that was found that way and the mix of the song is the exact same mix that’s on the Apostrophe(‘) album, Frank took up that intro, and so when I found that early sequence of side one, that intro was on the version of Cosmik Debris on that tape, so I left it. Anything different applies to those kind of releases, that was Frank – that was recorded that way!

34:38 (part 2) – work mixes

HZ: So, when we’re looking at the tracks that are labeled as mix outtakes. Those are just working mixes from the process of doing the record?

JT: Yeah, exactly. Like you have a mix session and during the mix session you run off various work mixes or mixes in progress, or mixes that might be used as a master – or might not be. Anything that was mixed and was going to be on master at one point would be an alternate mix, because that was alternate to what was used. But anything that was mixed that wasn’t going to be used for any kind of a master, but it was a work mix or an outtake for the mix session, I just labelled as such.

35:26 (part 2)Uncle Remus

JT: Yeah, that’s pretty great! Because you get to hear a piano solo and an extra bit of vocals and stuff like that, it was pretty cool!

HZ: And some cool organ – I don’t know if that was a B-3, but there was some really tasty, traditional organ going on there that I am not used to hearing in that song.

JT: Yeah – well, that song was recorded during demo sessions of George Duke during the Paramount Studio time period in April of ’72. The Grand Wazoo and Waka- Jawaka have just been recorded and Frank produced about four tunes for George Duke around that time and Uncle Remus was one of those songs – and then Frank obviously used Uncle Remus in Apostrophe(‘). Then George Duke went on to re-record the other songs that were recorded for that demo session on two other albums. Psychosomatic Dung is one of them, and For Love (I Come Your Friend) – that’s another one that’s one of those songs that was recorded during that demo session.

36:41 (part 2)Waka-Jawaka / Grand Wazoo box set

JT: I’m going to be working on a Hot Rats/Grand Wazoo box set, I guess you might want to call it – or a CD release of all the alternates and all the stuff that was recorded during that time period. And I am hoping to get those George Duke tunes on there as well, so that would be something cool. Yeah, it’s Waka Jawaka and Grand Wazoo, sorry – Hot Rats was not recorded during that same time. You know, obviously that was ’69. But Waka and Grand Wazoo that was all recorded at the same time, and along with those George Duke songs it kind of captures the same musicians, the same time period and the same sound. So, all that stuff would be a good companion release.

41:50 (part 2)Energy Frontier flute

JT: I tried to track down who would have been, but nobody knows! Maybe the fans somehow can get that information – because they’re so hard core. I was unable to determine it because there were no session sheets, and so it’s hard for me to know. And I had a conversation with Dave Parlato. Dave Parlato played bass in the Petite Wazoo time period, and The Grand Wazoo – and recorded some stuff with Frank. And he is the guy who is playing stand-up bass on those songs – or at least on one version of that song. And so Dave and I had a conversation, and he is the one that identified himself on there. And he talked about the Jack Bruce session, talked about how Jack Bruce had a rented…I think it was a cello, and it sounded horrible and he couldn’t make the thing work at all, so they kind of ditched that idea of having Jack Bruce play cello. But, Dave didn’t know who played flute either. And first thing I thought of was it had to have been maybe somebody who was touring with Frank at the time. But in the Petite Wazoo the only person that maybe could have done that was Earl Dumler, and we’re not really sure he was him or not. And I didn’t get a chance to get in touch with Earl before the release of the record. So – maybe he is him, maybe he is not. Who knows!

43:31 (part 2) – bass lines

HZ: I found it pretty interesting listening to Dave Parlato’s bass line on take four of Energy Frontier because I’ve gotten quite used to a lot of brass bands using the tuba to do bass lines and they kind of emulate the phrasing of a stand-up bass – but he sounded like he was playing tuba lines on the stand-up bass! So it was a very interesting part of the spectrum and part of the mix that he was in and that stood out to me. I read somewhere that Dave Parlato is the originator of the “Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow” phrase – that he looked out the window of the tour bus and he saw a dog peeing in the snow and he yelled out, “Don’t eat the yellow snow!”

JT: Well I don’t know if that’s true – that could be very true. I don’t know. But, I do know that the bass line if you listen very close to the song called Trudging Across Tundra which is on One Shot Deal, that is an improvisation that happened during a concert in the Petite Wazoo time period… and if you listen to the bass line of that, and if you listen to the early version of Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow that was released on Crux, you’ll notice that it’s almost the same! So the root of the bass line to the opening of Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow come from an improvisational jam from the Petite Wazoo time period, which we released.

49:02 (part 2) – Vaultmaster since 1995

JT: I love my job, I’m very grateful for it. I spent so much time in my life just studying the music and being part of the music – so I’m happy that I can share the things that I find with people that appreciate it, you know? It’s really a special thing that I do and I realize that. I was a fan first before any of this stuff, so I come from a fan point of view and I think about the things that people would love to hear and would really want to hear.

51:28 (part 2)Uncle Meat Project/Object and vinyl reissues

JT: The Uncle Meat Project/Object is gonna be coming right around the corner pretty soon, so that’s very exciting. And also there’s going to be a lot of vinyl reissues this year, starting next month in August Hot Rats is going to be re-released on vinyl. But we’re going to be doing a lot more this year. We usually do about one to two releases – reissues on vinyl for the past few years, along with little exclusive stuff that we’ve done for the Record Store Days. But this year we’re gonna be doing a lot more – and that does include the Record Store Day stuff. So, we’ll be doing something really cool for Black Friday Record Store Day and we’re gonna be doing a number of other vinyl reissues this year before the year’s over with. So that’s something that’s gonna be exciting…for the audiophile world, you know, that loves the vinyl.

54:40 (part 2) – just one Zappa piece of choice for The Vaultmaster

JT: Rat Tomago

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The 1995 Radio documentary mentioned by Joe was available at the zappa.com and was described as: “a two hour Radio Documentary produced by Steve Rowland and Gail Zappa for “The Music Makers” Series on Public Radio International, originally aired on U.S. radio in the summer of 1996.”

What follows is a direct link for the first hour of the show, the first minute of Overture to Uncle Sam starts at 08:08.

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The Crux Of The Biscuit Frank Zappa For President CDs

The Crux Of The Biscuit
Frank Zappa For President
CDs

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Out of the blue, on June 9, while many had been pondering about trustees and beneficiaries of the Zappa integrity and of his overwhelming and strangely managed output, ZFT trustees announced the world, including beneficiaries of any sort, two new releases due to July 15.

Frank Zappa for President? You betcha! We know at various times he wanted to run for office. In the spirit of the dramatic 2016 presidential election adventures comes a release that gives us a glimpse into what could have been. This album is comprised of unreleased compositions realized on the Synclavier, along with other relevant tracks mined from the Vault, with a political thread tying it all together. Don’t forget to register and vote!

The Crux of the Biscuit was created in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of Frank Zappa’s 1974 album Apostrophe(‘). As part of Zappa Records’ ongoing Frank Zappa Project/Object Audio Documentary Series, it contains rare alternate mixes, live performances, and studio session outtakes. This release celebrates Zappa’s iconic, Gold-certified album, which landed in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 albums chart.
source: zappa.com

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Unreleased synclavier compositions, never heard before mixes of ’60s and ’70s classics, nuggets that shed new light on the studio compositional process, live episodes relevant to two basic themes: the President of the USA and 42 years of trudging across the tundra.

In summary: succulent!

However from the outer FZ space perspective, I can’t help feeling still scary of the future, and I do hope the Zappas will be able to continue digging the vault, and I also hope the “cease and desist” nightmare will not happen as it does in the darkest canyons of my mind.

But forget about this mess for a couple of hours, take a deep breath and immerse in these two albums.

–       ;- {=      –

The Crux Of The Biscuit (Zappa Records/UMe ZR 20020, July 15, 2016)

The Crux Of The Biscuit
(Zappa Records/UMe ZR 20020, July 15, 2016)

The Crux Of The Biscuit

1 Cosmik Debris 4:21
2 Uncle Remus (Mix Outtake) 3:59
3 Down In De Dew (Alternate Mix) 3:16
4 Apostrophe’ (Mix Outtake) 9:07
5 The Story Of “Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow/St. Alphonzo’s Pancake Breakfast” 2:25
6 Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow/St. Alphonzo’s Pancake Breakfast (Live) 19:26
7 Excentrifugal Forz (Mix Outtake) 1:34
8 Energy Frontier (Take 4) 3:04
9 Energy Frontier (Take 6 With Overdubs) 4:15
10 Energy Frontier (Bridge) 8:23
11 Cosmik Debris (Basic Tracks-Take 3) 5:11
12 Don’t Eat The Yellow (Basic Tracks-Alternate Take) 2:12
13 Nanook Rubs It (Basic Tracks-Outtake) 0:42
14 Nanook Rubs It (Session Outtake) 0:48
15 Frank’s Last Words . . . 0:16

Produced by Gail Zappa and Joe Travers
Vaultmeisterment and audio transfers by Joe Travers
Mastering: Bob Ludwig
New mixes: Craig Parker Adams, 2014

Cover photograph: Yoram Kahana (probably) [uncredited]
Other photography: Emerson/Loew, Mark Aalyson, Jeffrey Mayer, Michael Mesker
Illustration: David Calcano/Christian Garcia
Art direction: Ahmet Zappa
Package design: Michael Mesker
Liner notes: Simon Prentis
Production Manager: Melanie Starks

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For most listeners, Apostrophe(‘) is mainly the place where snow is yellow and feet stink. Also, the Bromhidrosis epic is where THE question arises: “What is your Conceptual Continuity?” Since the easy to be seen answer is “The crux of the biscuit is the Apostrophe(‘)”, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of one of the best known FZ albums without Stink-foot – hence without Fido who will eternally bring those stink-fated slippers and gives THE answer – is like giving praise to Don Quixote not mentioning Sancho.

Let’s commemorate such conspicuous absence with the commercial that inspired a distinguished dog-man relationship (relevant scene at 0:17):

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That said, The Crux Of The Biscuit is a must for hard-core fanatics due to plenty exquisite episodes, and may have a lot of interest for the rest of the world, for instance for the main Yellow Snow celebration, almost 20 minutes live from Hordern Pavillon, Sydney, June 1973, a tape that should become road, if you know what I mean.

The album, possibly the last produced by Gail and Joe, starts with a proto Apostrophe(‘) side A (tracks 1-4) whose main interest is the dynamic duo Down in the Dew/Apostrophe’, new to mankind as a dual system. Simon Prentis, who delivered a truly relevant piece of zappology as liner notes, gives information and his own view about Energy Frontier, the original title of such a double jam sessions. Simon quotes a well-known Zappa statement:

Q: What about playing with (bass guitarist) Jack Bruce on Apostrophe?

FZ: Well, that was just a jam thing that happened because he was a friend of (drummer) Jim Gordon. I found it very difficult to play with him; he’s too busy. He doesn’t really want to play the bass in terms of root functions; I think he has other things on his mind. But that’s the way jam sessions go.

Frank Zappa
By Steve Rosen
Guitar Player, January, 1977

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Then he reports (via joe Travers) that those Dew/Apostrophe’ jams were all recorded on November 8, 1972, also with an unknown flute player on tracks 8 and 9. As effectively remarked by Prentis, the subsequent work has been an editing matter, that night after night shortened Jack Bruce contribution and brought Down in the Dew out (later to emerge for Läther without Jack Bruce in a version near to track 3). What is presented here (proto tracks 3 and 4, and jam tracks 8-10) is the evidence of a process that started with a jam session, continued with a proto dual system (with Bruce in Apostrophe’ only) and ended as we know it simply as Apostrophe’. Thanks to this album, now we know better why Zappa said that Bruce was “busy”, it seems that such a one-day encounter didn’t give what could be theoretical expected in terms of interplay, but the way the bass guitar of Jack Bruce sounds in these unreleased jams is gorgeous (a FZ post-production?) and some of his lines are truly remarkable (like those delivered into the first minute of the original Apostrophe’ – and of track 4 – that give a clear mark to that jam).

So editing as a major Zappa craft and practice, and “omission” as a keyword to guide the transition from the on-field recorded matter to the edited recorded object to be released. That is one the main subjects of the liner notes, fully available through simonprentis.net, a must read!

And omission is at work within lyrics too, significance is often hidden or lies on a metaphoric level, or may be even almost faint in cases when information is delivered for conceptual continuity purpose only.

The Crux Of The Biscuit, and its liner notes, brought this blog to closely consider the mysterious and elliptic lyrics for Excentrifugal Forz (a Mix Outtake belongs to this album too) and hopefully get nearer to some of the omitted points. See what you think:

–       ;- {=      –

The clouds are really cheap
[Reality is not so interesting]
The way I seen ’em thru the ports
[That’s how it looks to me]
Of which there is a half-a-dozen
[A little part of it]
On the base of my resorz
[Is what I have been doing]
You wouldn’t think I’d have too many
[From everyone point of view, a very little part]
Since I never cared for sports
[Because I’m an outsider]
But I’m never really lonely
[But I don’t care to be seen/understood]
In my Excentrifugal Forz
[My nature is to escape from what is accepted by most people]

There’s always Korla Plankton
[And if I feel too much out of reality (as Korla Pandit do!)]
Him ‘n me can play the blues
[I can always play the blues]
An’ then I’ll watch him buff that
[And I will enjoy shining every single blues canon]
Tiny ruby that he use
[… canon …]
He’ll straighten up his turban
[… canon …]
An’ eject a little ooze
[… canon …]
Along a one-celled Hammond Organism
[The blues is an archetypal culture, as one-celled organisms are archaic forms of life]
Underneath my shoes
[And it is part of me, deeply]
An’ then I’ll call PUP TENTACLE
[I can also get inspiration from cheap monsters]
[The monster in Cheepnis, a “pup tent affair”, seems to be recalled here, as noted elsewhere by Simon Prentis, it may represent one of those “clouds”, or reality as constructed/perceived by most people]
I’ll ask him how’s his chin
[I can image further mutations]
I’ll find out
[And doing so]
How the future is
[Time as everyone knows it]
Because that’s where he’s been
[Loses in significance]
His little feet got long ‘n flexible
[And I found myself on a spherical time constant]
An’ suckers fell right in
[Far from what is accepted by most people]
The time he crossed the line
[That’s where my mutations live]
From LATER ON to WAY BACK WHEN
[Because when I deal with my favorite mutations, before and after do not make sense anymore]

–       ;- {=      –

A few more remarks are needed to close the not yellow side of this album, discussion is open at zappateers and other FZ loci. Cosmik Debris (track 1) opens with an unheard before brass intro. This version of Uncle Remus includes new and not to be missed Ikettes embroideries, but also further gorgeous George keyboard treatments. Apostrophe’ (mix outtake) shares the drum intro with Stink-foot (the only link discovered so far with the Fido song). The two Energy Frontier takes are two different Down in Dew versions with Jack Bruce, Energy Frontier (Bridge) is actually an early version of Apostrophe’. Cosmik Debris (Basic Tracks-Take 3) includes a new bluesy FZ solo and is a no vocals version to be sang to!

The Crux Of The Biscuit starts dealing with Yellow Snow with the words of FZ introducing this new piece in 1973. He tells how he was also inspired by an Imperial Margarine commercial, “Good morning, your highness!” comes from it. Unfortunately only a bad quality recording of such a promotional feature survives into the Internet, but it is worth watching anyway (the “black gentleman” commercial starts at 01:02).

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Margarine inspired also the 1973 Mar-Juh-Rene routine, well-known but officially released only in 2008 in One Shot Deal as part of Australian Yellow Snow. This routine is also included here in track 6 which is an extended version of the Yellow Snow suite, also including Rollo and part of the Steno Pool section of Greggery Peccary. Both versions derive from the June 24-26, 1973 Sydney concerts, once again, road one please!

In his Zappa dissertation, Tomasz Michalak digs into significance and symbols related to the apostrophe and hyphen (“something that might be used for erotic gratification by a very desperate stenographer”) signs. He also quotes FZ who recalls a linguistic inspiration for Yellow Snow in two different interviews:

I had a conversation in approximately 1972 with a schoolteacher in Kansas. She taught English. And she was talking about the way language works. And her point was that any language develops for a culture based on the things that the culture needs to talk about. And as an example she said in Eskimo language they have, you know, a whole number of different words for snow because snow is their life. And she was the one who said maybe they even have something for yellow snow, which you wouldnít want to eat it. And thatís what gave me the idea. (FZ, interviewed by Jim Ladd, August 1, 1989)

And:

as an example she talked about the Eskimo language, which she said had twenty words for snow because it was so important to them. And she actually made the comment that probably in the Eskimo language there was some sort of warning for children not to eat yellow snow. And thatís where the idea came from. (FZ, interviewed by Allan Handelman, East Coast Live, June 6, 1993)

Quoted (P.293) into
“THE MEGAPHONE OF DESTINY-” COMPOSITION, VOICE, AND MULTITUDE IN THE AUDITORY AVANT-GARDE OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY: GERTRUDE STEIN, SAMUEL BECKETT, JOHN CAGE, AND FRANK ZAPPA
Tomasz Zbigniew Michalak
A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (English Literature) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)
December 2013

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The album closes with three early snippets from the Yellow Snow suite and a last brief track with Frank stopping the tape. Very hard-core maniac type stuff with no commercial potential at all, enjoyable for a limited audience such as Rne who noticed in his “rudimentary notes” that “the marimba figure and the laughs that were inserted at the very end of “Father O’Blivion” in the Apostrophe (‘) album” are included in Frank’s Last Words… .

For the full story of the Yellow Snow suite I would recommend a brief article by Charles Ulrich hosted on the ARF web site: “Some notes on the Yellow Snow suites permutations

Finally the original artwork for the back of the CD inlay deserve to be mentioned. It’s a Zappa cereal box probably illustrated by David Calcano of Fantoons Animation Studio in Los Angeles. Here it is with some details (click the images to enlarge them).

The Crux Of The Biscuit, CD inlay image Zappa cereal box

The Crux Of The Biscuit, CD inlay image
Zappa cereal box

The Crux Of The Biscuit, CD inlay image detail Nutrition Zappa Facts 1

The Crux Of The Biscuit, CD inlay image detail
Nutrition Zappa Facts 1

The Crux Of The Biscuit, CD inlay image detail Nutrition Zappa Facts 2

The Crux Of The Biscuit, CD inlay image detail
Nutrition Zappa Facts 2

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For further notes on the cover of the album refer to the Information Is Not Knowledge (IINK) web site, at the beginning of the Apostrophe (‘) notes page.

–       ;- {=      –

Frank Zappa For President (Zappa Records/UMe ZR 20021, July 15, 2016)

Frank Zappa For President
(Zappa Records/UMe ZR 20021, July 15, 2016)

Frank Zappa For President

1 Overture To “Uncle Sam” 15:16
2 Brown Shoes Don’t Make It (Remix) 7:27
3 Amnerika (Vocal Version) 3:10
4 “If I Was President” 3:43
5 When The Lie’s So Big 3:38
6 Medieval Ensemble 6:31
7 America The Beautiful (Bates/Ward; Traditional) 3:36

Produced for release by Ahmet Zappa & Joe Travers
Vaultmeisterment, transfers and compilation by Joe Travers
Mastering: Gavin Lurssen & Reuben Cohen
Art direction: Ahmet Zappa
Art, layout: Keith Lawler
Production management: Melanie Starks

Cover art details available at the proper IINK web page.

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If The Crux of the Biscuit objective as an Audio Documentary is very well stated and accomplished (including omissions), with the support of informative and in-depth liner notes, Frank Zappa for President appears like an unglued sequence of nuggets and lush unreleased pieces joined together by a political thread that ends up to be too weak in absentia.

Also, from a hard-core fanatic perspective the album is full of interest beside the basic theme, but such material would have deserved more informative liner notes.

Take Overture To “Uncle Sam” for instance, since this piece is in the repertoire of Ensemble Ascolta for the never released project Ascolta Plays Zappa, it would have been very interesting to hear their point of view about this composition dated 1993. And why not take them for a note to the other synclavier material included?

Part of Overture To “Uncle Sam” has been premiered by the Ascolta ensemble at Radialsystem, Berlin, July 14, 2007 (the 0:00 – 4:49 section). An excerpt (2:35 – 4:49) is available through their web site.

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The version included here is ten minutes longer than the Ascolta one and features the sonic palette typical of the late FZ synclavier works that can be heard in Civilazion Phase III and Dance Me This. Also, Overture To “Uncle Sam” should have a close relationship with the Wolf Harbor suite. No link instead with Dio Fa (the abandoned FZ opera project) as elsewhere stated in this blog (the notes to the Berlin, July 14, 2007 Ascolta ensemble concert program led to this probably false conjecture: “planned as an overture to an opera for La Scala in Milan, world premiere”).

To focus on the right Uncle Sam / Wolf Harbor setting you should go back to the liner notes to Dance Me This:

Over the years I had seen Frank jump from project to project often shelving one indefinitely to focus on another. There was an elaborate stage piece titled Dio Fa; An opera titled Uncle Sam (about a dystopian future America with a ludicrously polluted New York Harbour); A music notation book with accompanying audio disc titled The Rhythmic Sadist’s Guide to Drum Patterns for the 21st Century.
Todd Yvega–

In his vision for a staged presentation for modern dance [FZ] described how he wanted to represent Wolf Harbor (do the research on this place which really does exist): Groups of dancers side by side would hold long rolled out lengths of black trash bags (think Hefty) and “wave” them at waist (waste) height to signify the dark and murky polluted waters of sludgy Wolf Harbor.
Gail Zappa–

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A sort of unresolved melancholy in a suspended time environment is a feeling common to both compositions. The difference resides in how the tension ends up to be unresolved. In Wolf Harbor tension is low and everywhere, time is suspended, no resolution allowed.

Overture To “Uncle Sam” features a main melodic (and melancholic) material used as opening and with some variations at 02:02, 05:58 and 11:08. Right after every variation tension grows and its resolution seems to happen when the listener recognizes the melodic material, but relief is denied when he realizes that melancholy is still there. The finale is true Zappa: tension grows again and closes with a sort of brief broadway hoopla!

The illusion of a resolution results to be more effective than no resolution at all!

Hoopla! back to 1966/1969, Frank Zappa for President brings the listener to a never heard before remixed version of Brown Shoes Don’t Make It, a pleasure for everyone, especially for those who spent countless time with this 1966 sonic movie and will recognize all details changed in this remix. Acoustic ensemble is often clearer and the overall sound image results spatially enriched. In this case also it would have been much interesting to know what was the purpose of such a 1969 remix. Rejected for the 1969 Mothermania (which included the 1966 mix)?

No particular questions to ask for Amnerika (Vocal Version), a well-known (for FZ tape traders) and beautiful unreleased Thing-Fish outtake that needed to be released. Maybe one: why it has been rejected?

“If I Was President” is Zappa explaining in 1990 why he “wouldn’t campaign” but “file as a candidate of no party” with a 1985 synclavier background (for the full text transcript please refer to the relevant IINK web page). Was it a Zappa produced audio object?

An unreleased 1988 When The Lie’s So Big take follows, politics is of course the rationale for the inclusion, however the hard-core fanatic (the main audience for this album) attention declines, this version does not add zappology elements (except for some slight changes in the lyrics) and it does not give particular help to the flow of the program.

For the next Medieval Ensemble, an unreleased 1985 synclavier composition, attention is back. It sounds like a Jazz From Hell outtake, a long march with no resolution with a medieval flavor, could be used for the eternally postponed Terry Gilliam Don Quixote!

The album closes with another 1988 episode. The America The Beautiful version digitally (mp3 only) released in The Frank Zappa AAA·FNR·AAA Birthday Bundle 21.Dec.2008 Nice to have it in a good audio quality (but strangely different from the official 1988 releases), relevant to the main theme, but in an album of unreleased material and with a surprising 1969 mix of a classic, the role of this song is simply to close the curtain.

Now I’m wondering, in an album like this, where politics in America is a theme sometimes loose (Medieval Ensemble?!?), why do not take advantage of the lines:

Could result in the end
To a worrisome trend
In which every American
Not “born again”
Could be punished in cruel and unusual ways
By this treacherous cretin
Who tells everyone
That he’s Jesus’ best friend

to include another bundle nugget that unethically still remains unreleased in a lossless audio standard? I’m thinking to Treacherous Cretins from The Frank Zappa AAA·FNRAA·AA Birthday Bundle 21.Dec.2010, a killer version that needs to expand its audience.

Moreover, can you spot any treacherous cretins somewhere in this 2016 USA campaign?

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Who the F*@% is Frank Zappa? by Alex Winter

Who the F*@% is Frank Zappa? by Alex Winter

On March 8, 2016 Alex Winter has launched a 30 days kickstarter campaign for his hopefully soon to come documentary Who the F*@% is Frank Zappa? (all details available here, I for one pledged for 200$).

On March 9, 2016 Ahmet Zappa has posted the following on facebook:

People have been asking so I just wanted to clarify that the family is proud to give Alex Winter and his project our complete support, as well as unrestricted access to the Vault. This is the first time we’ve ever opened the Vault to someone outside of our family, but Alex is an exceptional filmmaker and storyteller, and we are excited to see him tell Frank’s story.

While we appreciate that the Kickstarter will help us with the larger project of preserving the Vault, I want to make sure everyone knows that this is NOT our project but we absolutely SUPPORT the project and Alex, and that the Zappa Family Trust will not receive any of the funds Alex raises during the Kickstarter (though if someone makes the $9 million pledge, which would obviously be awesome, a portion of that pledge will be used to purchase the house from the family at its market value).

Alongside the rest of you, we’re excited to see what Alex & his team will find.

These are some photographs of Zappa family house available through the Alex Winter kickstarter page as well as through the eBay Zf house page.

Zappa family house: Alex Winter at the courtyard

Zappa family house: Alex Winter at the courtyard

Zappa family house: Tape Library and desk

Zappa family house: Tape Library and desk

Zappa family house: living room

Zappa family house: living room

Zappa family house: library

Zappa family house: library

Zappa family house: library view from the corridor

Zappa family house: library view from the corridor

Zappa family house: Tape Library and living room

Zappa family house: Tape Library and living room

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Back to the kickstarter documentary page, it is for sure worth watching the campaign launch video. Here it is too:

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As far as visual art is considered the following frames are particularly intriguing.

Frank Zappa actual artwork (circa 2:16 frame)

Frank Zappa actual artwork (circa 2:16 frame)

Frank Zappa actual artwork (circa 2:16 frame)

Frank Zappa actual artwork (circa 2:16 frame)

Frank Zappa actual artwork (circa 2:17 frame)

Frank Zappa actual artwork (circa 2:17 frame)

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Finally, pay attention to the Drowning Witch on the background (spot the Z roof)!

Zappa family house: Alex Winter at the pool (circa 3:07 frame)

Zappa family house: Alex Winter at the pool (circa 3:07 frame)

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Go Ahead Alex!

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a Zappadan Conceptual Continuity Cruise

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Escher's "Relativity" in LEGO(R) by Andrew Lipson

Escher’s “Relativity” in LEGO(R) by Andrew Lipson

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dedicated to the surrealistic memory of Dominique Jeunot (1959-2004)

Dominique Jeunot with Ben Watson at the International Conference of Esemplastic Zappology, on  January 16, 2004

Dominique Jeunot with Ben Watson at the International Conference of Esemplastic Zappology, on January 16, 2004

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A classic start, first song, first album.
Hungry Freaks Daddy (Freak Out!)

Lyrics deals with some typical US amnesias, fact that brings straight to:
Amnerika (Civilization Phaze III)

This melody appeared for the first time in the background of:
That Evil Prince (Thing Fish)

Harry and Rhonda talk about the Evil Prince with Thing-Fish who remarks:
Next item de boy be inventin’ come under de headin’ o’ industrial pollutium!

It’s easy now to go trudging across:
Nine Types of Industrial Pollution (Uncle Meat)

Zappa talked about this piece with Bob Marshall, on October 22, 1988:

Bob Marshall: What are the ‘Nine Types of Industrial Pollution’? Because it seems these old institutions are running amuck with these old techniques, and they’re out of control. They clash with different media, different institutions, and different professions.
Frank Zappa: The funny thing about that song title is that, at the time that it was put on Uncle Meat, there was no such thing as a concern over industrial pollution. It hadn’t even been brought up as a topic. I put that on that song just as a joke after driving through New Jersey.
Bob Marshall: So, there were not nine, you had not categorized…
Frank Zappa: Here I could see nine on that one trip. There may be more.
Bob Marshall: The term was not in the regular media…
Frank Zappa: No.

And also, on the musical side, what follows is an interesting view from feetlightup for the zappa.com forum.

I was listening to this on headphones the other day and heard some stuff for the first time. It seems that the basic rhythm track is a fairly simple slow blues track (bass, drums, organ), but with all of those percussion instruments dubbed on top, it sounds like it’s more freeform than it actually is! It’s also pretty clear to me now that Frank’s guitar is actually a fairly bluesy lead, but when sped up and superimposed over this background, it too sounds fairly “out there”. And GET THIS: Way in the background of one of the channels, the whole time you can hear (I think) Frank’s ORIGINAL guitar lead, played at normal speed! Just shows what you can do in the studio with some pretty basic ingredients and a hell of a lot of creativity.

An early move towards Xenochrony?
Friendly Little Finger (Zoot Allures)

From The Guitar World According To Frank Zappa cassette liner notes to this song:

[…] recorded in a dressing room at Hofstra University and over- dubbed at the Record Plant, Los Angeles, California; […] This is one of the earliest examples of a technique I developed called Xenochrony (strange synchronizations).

More about this subject in “WE ARE The Mothers… AND THIS IS WHAT WE SOUND LIKE!” (Mix, January 2003, Chris Michie):

Zappa dubbed the technique “xenochrony,” from the Greek words xeno (strange or alien) and chrono (time). As he explained, “In this technique, various tracks from unrelated sources are randomly synchronized with each other to make a final composition with rhythmic relationships unachievable by other means.” For example, in the case of the Zoot Allures track “Friendly Little Finger,” the solo guitar and bass were recorded in a dressing room on a 2-track Nagra and then later combined with an unrelated drum track for a piece called “The Ocean Is The Ultimate Solution,” with additional instrumentation scored to complement the newly produced time signatures. Xenochrony proved to be a powerful new compositional tool for Zappa, and he returned to it many times over later albums.

Let’s move then to such drum track in his first environment:
The Ocean Is The Ultimate Solution (Sleep Dirt)

And talking about the ocean:
Outrage At Valdez (Yellow Shark)

 Frank Zappa’s interest in the tank vessel accident on March 24, 1989, causing environmental disaster and worldwide protest came as a mild but not irrational surprise. His commitment lead to the friendship with Jacques Cousteau and to composing the soundtrack for a documentary, Alaska: Outrage At Valdez about the accident and its consequences in the Prince William Sound, Alaska (from the wiki jawaka article).

And from here, FNRAA, I would like to jump to the LSO, one of the most important, though controversial FZ orchestral projects, for a less known composition:
Sad Jane (London Symphony Orchestra Vols. I & II)

Is that a pun on Lou Reed’s Sweet Jane? Anyways, in the words of Frank Zappa (“Non-Foods: Not The Moody Blues“, Guitar Player, November 1983):

The last movement of “Sad Jane,” kind of a marching thing, is actually a transcription of a guitar solo from the Shrine Auditorium, 1968, that Ian Underwood wrote out back then, and I came across one day in a pile of papers. I played it on the piano and liked the tune, and proceeded to orchestrate it.

And for another example of this technique:
Big Swifty (Waka-Jawaka)

Again Zappa reports (from The Complete History Of The Few Last Weeks Of The Mothers Of Invention):

This piece (which comprises all of Side One of the HOT RATS Waka/Jawaka album) presents a theme in rapidly alternating time signatures, a few solos, and an out-chorus done up in a sort of Prom Night orchestration which suspends the opening rhythmic structure over a straight 4/4 accompaniment.
The restatement of the theme is actually derived from a guitar solo on the album which Sal Marquez took down on paper. After about an hour of wheeling the tape back and forth, Sal managed to transcribe this rhythmically deranged chorus (I don’t have the ability to do this kind of musical dictation, but, since Marquez had a full-bore education at North Texas University, he had it covered). After he’d written it out, we proceeded to over-dub three trumpets on it, and, presto! An organized conclusion for “Big Swifty.”

The title itself brings the cruiser straight into:
The Adventures of Greggery Peccary (Studio Tan)

Where “Big Swifty and Associates” is Greggery’s office. This adventurous piece includes the “Who is making those new brown clouds?” theme that occurs again in:
For Calvin and His Next Two Hitch-Hikers (The Grand Wazoo)

Zappa (from The Complete History Of The Few Last Weeks Of The Mothers Of Invention):

This is dedicated to Calvin Schenkel, a long-time friend who has been responsible to a large extent for anything graphic/visual associated with the M.O.I. (from album covers to billboards to the animated sequence in 200 Motels).
There are lyrics to this piece (which has already been recorded and is set for a fall release in the impending Grand Wazoo album), but we are performing an instrumental version for these concerts. The story depicted in the lyrics refers to a mysterious “Schenkel Mirage” which occurred while he was driving to work. The details are a bit deep, but perhaps you can use your imagination and extrapolate a situation from the text.

Also, Calvin steps in on Lumpy Gravy saying “That’s very distraughtening.”
Very Distraughtening (Lumpy Gravy)

Shortly thereafter, Spider says:
Everything in the universe is . . . is . . . is made of one element, which is a note, a single note. Atoms are really vibrations, you know, which are extensions of THE BIG NOTE, everything’s one note.

This is it, this is THE BIG NOTE, a central idea for the whole Zappa body of work. The composer was fascinated by unifying theories. Here is what he tells to the interviewer in The Frank Zappa Interview Picture Disk (pt.2, circa 1984):

Well … in physics they have this thing that they’ve been looking for – it’s the Unified Field Theory that explains the interrelationship between how gravity works and atomic energy and all this stuff – they’re looking for one equation that explains it all and makes it work because right now there’s contradictions. And … let’s just say that the book is like a Unified Field Theory that will hold together “Billy The Mountain”, “Greggery Peccary”, “Joe’s Garage” “Them Or Us”, “Thing-Fish” … all these different stories, it shows you how they work together to make one long, really complicated story. And the “Them Or Us” album is only one part of this major release that is coming out this year.

Them or Us (Them or Us)

That is a Black Page #2 guitar solo performed in Bolzano on July 3, 1982. Though edited as usual, a full version from a few days earlier show (June 26, Munich) is included in You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 5. YCDTOSA is a series of 6 double cds consisting of live recordings spanning Frank Zappa’s entire career. He started working on this project in 1988 and concluded Volumes 5 and 6 in 1992 (I’m particularly fond of this series and in the 90’s I used to maintain a special purpose document: “Cruising with YCDTOSA“, almost all infos are now conveniently available through the Information Is Not Knowledge web site).
In the liner notes he reports the “theoretical questions” he asked himself to compile the series. One of them is:

[6] will it give “conceptual continuity clues” to the hard core maniacs with a complete recording collection?

And there’s plenty of them of course. One of my favorite is in the FZ monstre piece “par excellence”:
King Kong (You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 3)

At 14:34, during the ’82 section, Denny Walley says “oh you want a kinder garden!”. Yes Denny Walley, in 1982! What really happen is that at 11:09 in Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow (YCDTOSA 1) Denny says: “oh you want a kinder garden” and this little fragment was inserted in King Kong (YCDTOSA 3).
Oh, talking about yellow snow, is the convenient moment to introduce the dogs topic, and the main carrier is:
Stink Foot (Apostrophe (‘))

Where:
THE POODLE BY-EE-ITES
THE POODLE CHEWS IT

But he (the Poodle!) also asks:
What is your Conceptual Continuity?

For more on the “Canine Continuity” subject I would suggest “The Secret Meaning of ‘Arf’: Canine Continuity in the Output Macrostructure” by Dominique Jeunot. A paper addressed to ICE-Z (International Conference of Esemplastic Zappology) on January 16, 2004. A reading which may also be considered an homage to Dominique, who abruptly left the building on December 2004. He was the President of France’s surrealistic Zappa fan club Les Fils de l’Invention.

Dogs of Zappaland unite, for the arf salute!

Evelyn, a Modified Dog (One Size Fits all)
Arf, she said

As Patricia would too. Patricia is a dog painted by Donald Roller Wilson that embellishes the Boulez conducts Zappa album cover.
Naval Aviation in Art? (The Perfect Stranger)

This short but dramatic piece would have been part of Läther, an album that could not happen in 1977 when it was conceived. Here is a 1977-1978 concert season press information:

FRANK ZAPPA HAS THE UNMEDICATED AUDIODACITY TO RELEASE RUDE, RHYTHMICALLY PULSATING ROCK LP ENTITLED “LÄTHER” (pronounced “Leather”), SIMULTANEOUSLY RELEASING MONUMENTAL 4 DISC BOX ENTITLED (this may corne as a shock . . .) “LATHER”, WHICH IS NOT ONLY RUDE & RHYTHMICALLY PULSATING, BUT CONTAINS MORE INCREDIBLE MUSIC AND PERFORMANCES THAN ANYONE (including yourself) HAS EVER IMAGINED POSSIBLE WITHIN THE REALMS OF JAZZ, ROCK, CLASSICAL, ELECTRONIC, AND/OR ANY OTHER COMBINATION OF THE PREVIOUSLY LISTED MUSICAL DISCIPLINES . . . (in short, a masterpiece) . . . YES, AND IT’S AVAILABLE NOW IN ALL OF ITS FULL-COLOR PSYCHOTICALLY TITILLATING ENTIRETY!

Follow this Information Is Not Knowledge link for more.

And my pick is the title track:
Läther (Läther)

“A sensitive instrumental ballad for late-nite easy listening”, as described by Zappa for the I promise not to Come in Your Mouth incarnation included in Zappa in New York, a live album which also includes the anthem of the Zappaverse:
Sofa (Zappa in New York)

The piece was part of a larger number that The Mothers used to perform in the “Flo & Eddie Era”. A good take of the whole thing can be heard in the Rhino legalized boot Fire!”. It consists of: Once Upon a Time, Sofa #1 (as included in YCDTOSA 1), Once Upon A Time II (a short reprise of OUAT), Stick It Out and
Divan (Playground Psychotics)

Such era is very well known also for:
The Mud Shark (Fillmore East, June 1971)

This song is about the infamous Mud Shark incident at the Edgewater Inn in Seattle, WA (see also The Mudshark Interview on Playground Psychotics). Towards the end Zappa quotes on guitar:
The Little House I Used to Live in (Burnt Weeny Sandwich)

Just another monstre-song, that spans 1968-1978 and included a lot of episodes, here is one:
The Sheik Yerbouti Tango (Sheik Yerbouti)

A tango? What about it when it may bring funny smells?
Be-Bop Tango (Of The Old Jazzmen’s Church) (Roxy & Elsewhere)

This piece was part of a larger 1972-1973 number too (Farther O’Blivion), which contains parts of Greggary Peccary and of:
Cucamonga (Bongo Fury)

Zappa recalls in “The Real Frank Zappa Book”:

At that time there was a place called the Pal Recording Studio in (don’t laugh) Cucamonga, California. It was established by an amazing gentleman named Paul Buff.
Cucamonga was a blotch on a map, represented by the intersection of Route 66 and Archibald Avenue. On those four corners we had an Italian restaurant, an Irish pub, a malt shop and a gas station.
FZ purchased the studio from Buff in 1964 and renamed as Studio Z, it was the place where he started recording, editing and also over-dubbing!

Metal Man Has Won His Wings (Mystery Disc)
was recorded at Studio Z and features Don Van Vliet, later to be known as Captain Beefheart, lead vocalist for:
Willie the Pimp (Hot Rats)

Hot Rats is duly considered one of the most important FZ album and we are lucky enough to have access to two significantly different version of it, the first one released on cd in 2012 (the vinyl mix), while the second have been heavily remixed, edited and issued by Zappa in 1987. It also includes a revised version of an Uncle Meat piece, here in its 1988 rendition:
Mr. Green Genes (The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life)
Eat your greens
Don’t forget your beans & celery
Don’t forget to bring
Your fake I.D.

And talking about Uncle Meat, fake I.D.s and the Best Band:
Cruisin’ For Burgers (Make a Jazz Noise Here)
I must be free
My fake I.D.
Freeeeeees me

You can make such kind of noise, but consider its devilish side!
While You Were Art II (Jazz from Hell)

The synclavier orchestration for While You Were Out from an album that I believe includes a lot of jazz from hell, such as:
Canard du Jour (Shut up ‘n Play Yer Guitar)

that have been also another title for:
Let’s Move to Cleveland (Does Humor Belong In Music?)

Yet another monstre dated 1976 (as Canard), performed in 1982 (sometimes as Young & Monde) and later in 1984 and 1988 as Cleveland. Here are couple of 1984 solos from two different guitar albums:
Light Is all that Matters (Trance-Fusion)
In-a-Gadda-Stravinsky (Guitar)

And here we are, at Igor’s place. Zappa quoted Le sacre du printemps (Rite of Spring) by Igor Stravinsky also in:
Fountain of Love (Cruising with Ruben & the Jets)

The quote is concealed in the fantastic vocal closing.
Le Sacre appears also in:
Drowning Witch (Ship Arriving too Late to Save a Drowning Witch)
Amnesia Vivace (Absolutely Free)

This last piece is included in a three part suite (The Duke of Prunes, Amnesia Vivace and The Duke Regains His Chops) devoted to the:
Duke of Prunes (Orchestral Favorites)

And somewhere else (Plastic People) we have been told:
A prune is a vegetable . . . no, a prune is not a vegetable. Cabbage is a vegetable . . . makes it O.K.

So this is the time for:
Call any Vegetables (Just Another Band from L.A.)

Where a poodle question re-emerges!
Where can I go to get my poodle clipped in Burbank?

A matter of
Dirty Love (Over-Nite Sensation)
THE POODLE BITES!
(Come on, Frenchie)

And Frenchie hits again in
Dinah-Moe Humm (Have I Offended Someone?)

however in its reconstructed & remixed version only! Patrick Neve (from the HIOS page at The Zappa Patio)):

Original version was 06:01. Extra 01:13. The extra lyrics are the following, starting right after the line “MMM … sounds like y’might be chokin’ on somethin'”:

Y’know, I’m gonna find me a horse,
Just about this big,
An’ ride him all along the borderline.
(Yess-s-s …)
(Do it, Frenchie!)
Hm, y’like horses?
(It’s coming … oh …)
(Oh, oh, oh, oh!)

Have I Offended Someone? Includes a lot of unique material (dig into it) and closes with a remixed version of:
Yo Cats (Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention)

that quotes:
Catholic Girl (Joe’s Garage)

Religion, yet another hot topic!
Dumb all Over (You Are What You Is)
Religious fanatics
On the air every night

When the Lie’s So Big (Broadway the Hard Way)
Religious fanatics
Around and about
The Court House, The State House,
The Congress, The White House

Meanwhile, on one of most famous lawns of the western phaze of civilazation:
I’d like to make her do a nasty
On the White House lawn
Brown Shoes Don’t Make It (Tinsel Town Rebellion)
Smile at every ugly
Shine on your shoes and cut your hair
Be a jerk—go to work

And talking about civilized jerks:
Let’s Make the Water Turn Black (We’re Only in it for the Money)
Early in the morning Daddy Dinky went to work
Selling lamps & chairs to San Ber’dino squares

This tiny episode deserves a deep insight, perk it up here:
Ronnie Sings? / Kenny’s Booger Story / Ronnie’s Booger Story (The Lost Episodes)

Let’s Make the Water Turn Black was a must in the 60’s and mid 70’s, then re-emerged in 1988. It was part of a larger number known also as The Orange County Lumber Truck Medley (Let’s Make the Water Turn Black + Harry, You’re A Beast + Oh No + The Orange County Lumber Truck). Parts are scattered all around the output macrostructure. Here are two takes:
Oh No (Weasels Ripped my Flesh)
The Orange County Lumber Truck (Part II) (Ahead of Their Time)

Ahead Of Their Time includes material later to be used for 200 Motels, such as The Rejected Mexican Pope Leaves The Stage and Undaunted and The Band Plays on that later become:
Dance of the Just Plain Folks (Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels)

Stories connected to 200 Motels belongs to Chunga’s Revenge too, such as:
Road Ladies (Chunga’s Revenge)

And talking about great movies, just another classic story:
Titties and Beer (Baby Snakes)

vaguely inspired to L’Histoire du soldat (The Soldier’s Tale) by Igor Stravinsky, a piece revisited here:
This Is a Test (Everything Is Healing Nicely)

Ali N. Askin in the album liner notes recalls:

On the night before the first day of rehearsals, he asked me to reorchestrate his Synclavier composition entitled Igor and arrange it for the Ensemble Modern.

Also, Christopher Ekman (via alt.fan.frank-zappa) pointed out:

This is a theme from L’Histoire du Soldat which Zappa repeats, overlaps, transposes, twists, changes the backing for, and generally fiddles with any way he can think of. It’s nice and jaunty, and at a minute and a half, it can’t wear out its welcome.

EIHN is a hell of an album, full of less known gems, Román García Albertos has a very useful page to go deep into it (includes the original liner notes and the in-depth post by Christopher Ekman).

Back to the cruise, to complete the circle I still need to pass through The Man from Utopia and Francesco Zappa.
As far as the first one I would pick:
The Radio is Broken (The Man from Utopia)

I will not hook it to the previous EIHN piece, the criterion now is FNRAA, that is a free turn in drawing the Conceptual Continuity circle, to approach a bogus finale. The references to science fiction b-movies and his working title (Willing Suspension of Disbelief) have to be briefly mentioned. The first one as a typical recurring theme (like poodles or religion) that helps to keep the “output macrostructure” logically connected. The second as the classic state of mind necessary to enjoy fictitious stories or (in a broader sense) essential not to notice most of the disturbing effects of western society. If you understand such a mechanism you will have more chances to reach the truth that, as we already know, is not beauty! In dealing with the real world Zappa always want to SHOW us – the audience – what we have in front of our eyes but sometime have difficulties to recognize.

Closing titles with:
OPUS I, No. 1 1st Movement ANDANTE (Francesco Zappa)

This Circular Motion Cruise involves all Zappa albums, from Freak Out! to Everything Is Healing Nicely, and excludes most compilations, namely Mothermania and the three Old Masters Boxes, because they do not include significant unique material (the two Old Masters Mystery Discs have been later issued as a single cd). With the exception of Frank Zappa Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa, a memorial tribute (also excluded), all these albums (those issued between 1966 and 1999) have been edited, sequenced and produced by FZ. Finally there is one more inclusion: Trance-Fusion, a guitar album issued in 2006, but still a full Zappa album to me. Almost full actually, being liner notes and cover out of his direct control (likewise some other late releases herein considered).

For every single album, I have chosen one song or composition, or “phonogram” (maybe better), using a (sometime straight, sometime loose) conceptual continuity criterion: the next song is always connected with the preceding for a musical theme, a topic or a tiny detail in the title or in the lyrics. Every album is represented by one single “phonogram” (with one exception), even if is a double or multiple disc set.

Of course lot more cruises such as this are to be conceived, try yours!

FNRAA: For No Reason At All

The first choice for a Conceptual Continuity reading:
Hey Hey Hey, Mister Snazzy Exec!
By Frank Zappa
Circular, September 20, 1971

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un D.T., art by Ale Sordi, muddyfatty

un D.T., art by Ale Sordi, muddyfatty

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Since the end of the ‘80s, Luca Venitucci has been acting like musician, singer, improviser and composer/arranger. Co-founder member (1995) of Ossatura, he was part of Zeitkratzer Ensemble for several years. He has participated in projects carried out by composers, musicians, sonic artists like John Zorn, Alvin Curran, Christian Marclay, Margareth Kammerer, Mike Cooper, Butch Morris, Francisco Lopez, John Duncan, Manuel Gottsching, Keith Rowe, Merzbow/Masami Akita, Phill Niblock, Radu Malfatti, Terre Thaemelitz, Zbignew Karkosky. Also, he has collaborated with musicians like Peter Kowald, Otomo Yoshihide, Sachiko M, Thomas Lehn, Michael Renkel, Axel Dorner, Jerome Noetinger, Cristoph K Roll. He has carried out multidisciplinary projects with writers (Jonathan Coe, Lidia Riviello), actors and directors (Federica Santoro), and dancers (Alessandra Cristiani, Samantha Marenzi, Maddalena Gana).

See also the his “Artist Biography” by Eugene Chadbourne available at allmusic.com.

In 2001 Luca produced a remarkably peculiar tribute to Frank Zappa, based upon a reading of a William Burroughs text given by Frank Zappa in 1979, included in The Nova Convention (2LPs, Giorno Poetry Systems (GPS 014-015), 1979, available on line through the UbuWeb site).

The name of the piece is Un D.T. and, after more than ten years of obscurity, is available through the following link.

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THANK YOU LUCA!

Luca Venitucci told the story behind his piece in an article published by Debra Kadabra, the Italian Frank Zappa fanzine (“Note a Un D.T.”, DK issue n.25, December 2001). What follows is my translation into English.

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A note to un D.T.
By Luca Venitucci

When I was proposed to write a piece to pay a tribute to Frank Zappa, I hesitated. The American composer represents a case on his own to me, his music is so full of intuitions, his project had such a development, that he determined an innovative influence toward all the music of the XX century. For these reasons I have initially considered such a tribute a desperate endeavour.

Soon after, two ideas brought me on the right path. First of all I knew Zappa has paid attention to the human speech phrasing, especially in terms of rhythm, bringing some of such elements in his improvisation style as a guitarist (for instance, that is why his guitar phrasing, often rhythmically irregular compared with the main beat, displays always a remarkable cohesion as a whole picture). As a consequence, I thought to take into account a speech by Zappa as a starting point for a composition. Thanks to a suggestion by Francesco Gentile I came across a recording of a William Burroughs tribute which includes a Frank Zappa reading of The Talking Asshole, an excerpt from Naked Lunch (from The Nova Convention, 1979). The dark and aloof writing of Burroughs fantastically adheres with mutant and alien sonic landscapes which often belong to a certain electroacoustic aesthetics I know I am really familiar with. Also considering such a specific input, strictly connected to the general one, I decided to conceive and produce the piece as a solo hard disk electroacoustic composition. I think that the main elements of the vision of Zappa as composer are tightly focused on instrumental and orchestral writing, both in a contemporary classic and in a rock sense. His electronic works are no exception, being inspired by the same compositional strategy. Hence my second idea: to use such elements of the Zappa vision for an electroacoustic composition, which is a context that lately has shown both great potential and open issues, from disco music to cutting-edge research.

And here started the merely compositional question. Our man designed his conception passing through all main XX century musical genres, no matter if considered low or high art, deconstructing them and taking from each one of them what he needed to build a new and highly stratified stylistic perspective, distinguished by overwhelming formal tensions and by a burning sarcasm, sustained by a project logic always and absolutely lucid and coherent. How to transfer such a conception to the computer editing operations I was going to start? Could his innovative spirit in dealing with the instruments timbre and with orchestras, derived by Edgard Varese, translate into a special computer treatment of the timbre of the sonic material? The road to go through was the route of Varese towards his pioneering electronic phase of Poéme èlectronique and Déserts, riding as Zappa would have done. Also, the very well-known stylistic incursions between various “low” popular American genres (blues, funky, doo-wop), idioms enthusiastically beloved by Zappa since his adolescence, could have successfully done between all kind of electronic dance music genres and subgenres (drum’n’bass, house, trip-hop, etc.), of Afro American origin as those considered by Zappa. Having kept a link with a modal compositional approach (thus far form the serial and atonal abstract logic), the fragmentation of the compositional thread and the fierce use of collage techniques during the editing process, are further typical Zappa elements I tried to take and rework, my way.

Perhaps the most significant trait that distinguishes Zappa music from 90% of contemporary musical experimentation is his pervasive ability in intimately tying, and with great candor, a highly unclassifiable sonic venture, apparently illogic, to a narrative thread that, on the opposite, always arises clear and well defined, I would say in a classical way. Zappa always tells a story throughout his compositions, and that was what I could try too, putting into music the grotesque and horrific parable of The Talking Asshole by Burroughs, the story of a poor devil who, having taught his own asshole how to talk as for an harmless game, will eventually succumb at the immense emancipative impulses of his anal duct that, not any more inclined to be subdued to orders of the brain, will manage to defeat it and take control over the entire body of the underdog.

The voice of Zappa has been initially divided in single phrases, afterwards it has been transformed into MIDI impulses (that take the pitch, adjusting it to the well-tempered system, and the rhythmic details). Listening to the piece, everybody can perceive how the speech of Zappa is musically rich per se, hence the relationship between his guitar phrasing and the speech is no surprise! The harmonic baseline has been crafted upon the speech, then all the other compositional details have developed both taking into account the text (sometime starting from a single word or phrase, obtaining an astounding insert or a whirling change, as really often happens in Zappa writing) and following a path of free associations between the main traits of the Zappa speech, and a specific formal elaboration (namely gaining from the speech some musical phrasing near to blues or jazz throughout the same discretionary procedure that can be used to associate the shape of a cloud to a rabbit or England). Similar voice elaboration procedures have been already used, in works by Renè Lussier and Hermeto Pascoal for instance (not by chance, composers who share various elements with the compositional method of our man). In both cases the voice has been used according to a logic leaning toward linearity, in such a way as to strongly adapt the compositional structure to the voice profile, highlighting it. Instead, I have preferred playing with stratification and complexity, inserting the voice in a composite set of events, compared with whom it emerges as a reaction, a contrast or a difference, even though it provides all the basic material for the compositional work. Composing through a computer is related to specific procedures, that is why I had to renounce to a certain complexity derived from contemporary music writing praxis, that has sometimes influenced Zappa, such as the use rhythmic subdivisions connected with well-defined mathematical structures. Instead, I tried to obtain sonically complex material, also throughout the blast of apparently chaotic elements (meticulously pondered and studied, actually) following intuitive procedures. From this point of view, to elaborate sonic material through an audio editing program is nearer to freely engrave a marble block, or to draw a picture on a paper, roughly developing all proportions, than to write music using an abstract code, precise and highly formalized, such as the traditional notation system. In this regard, the piece extensively develops the idea of stratified overlapping, called “xenochrony” by Zappa, namely the editing of material from various sources, especially if independent and not equivalent from a rhythmic point of view, to combine a coherent set.

After a truly short introduction, conceived as a “commercial” that brings to foresee what is going to happen, the piece settles in a vaguely trip-hop pattern, upon which the story told by Zappa twists and turns (similarly to Zappa pages like Punky’s Whips). Next to the first part of the piece an instrumental interlude follows. Upon a seven-four time base, that aims to be a synthetic version of those typical pseudo-stravinskyan ostinatos used by the Mothers, a pseudo-guitar solo winds (I wonder why in today sequences based music, of drum’n’bass origin and alike sorts, they do not ever use patterns based upon multi-part times, or anyhow different from four-four time, since they unceasingly state that this genre is emancipating from the strict functionality of moving somebody’s cheeks on a dance floor …), which actually is a “xenochronic” editing of spoken phrases taken from the Zappa speech. Those phrases has been pitch-transposed (leaving the time intervals structure intact) to adapt to the ostinato tone, and transformed in MIDI impulses that control the pitch and the rhythmic scan of a synthesizer, while dynamics and contours are obtained from the original recording of the Zappa speech, passed through the synthesizer input, in synchronous with the MIDI impulses. The shape and the atmospheres of the piece experience growing disassociation and complexity while the mutation of the talking asshole progresses, until the final outbreak and agony. It is important to note how “grain” and inflections proper to the Zappa speech have had a fundamental influence to set the descriptive climate of the piece. I think that few would have succeeded the way Zappa did in delivering such a text, wrapped in a sort of aura of disgust and insane disease, with the same outstanding balance made of debunking irony and meaningful tension, that I tried to adequately transpose at music and sonic level.

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The Talking Asshole
(from Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs)
as performed by Frank Zappa at The Nova Convention, NYC
December 2, 1978

Emcee: Just sending up for the great uh, Frank Zappa.

FZ: Hiya. How you doin’ tonight? Alright, um, as you know, I’m not the kind of a person that reads books, I’ve said this before many times, I’m not fond of reading. But, I do, I have in the past made exceptions, and uh, one of these exceptions was this part of the, the book that, I’m sure you know, called Naked Lunch, and I’ve received permission to read the part about the talking asshole. So . . .

Before I do, uh, I’ve discussed with Mr. Burroughs before we came out here some of the details that led to the construction of this section of the book. I asked him where he got the idea for this part, and he said that it was derived from the ventriloquist scene in The Dead Of Night, if you know that film. And I had a little bit of trouble following that, for a moment there, until he made it all very clear to me by saying that uh, it was like uh, when you have a ventriloquist dummy and suddenly the dummy starts talking for you. And so, with that introduction, I start on page 132, and it goes like this (ahem.):

Did I ever tell you about the man who taught his asshole to talk? His whole abdomen would move up and down, you dig, farting out the words. It was unlike anything I ever heard. This “ass-talk” had a sort of gut frequency. It hit you right down there like you gotta go. You know when the old colon gives you the elbow and it feels sorta cold inside, and you know all you hafta do is “turn loose”? Well, this talking hit you right down there. A bubbly, thick, stagnant sound. A sound you could smell. This man worked for a carnival, you dig, and tos tart with, it was like a novelty ventriloquist act. Real funny, too, at first. He had a number he called “The Better Oh”, that was a scream, I tell you. I forget most of it, but it was clever, like, “Oh, I say, are you still down there, old thing? ‘Nah, I had to go relieve myself!'”

After a while, the ass started talking on its own. He would go in without anything prepared and his ass would ad-lib, and toss the gags back at him every time. Then it developed sort of teeth-like little raspy incurving hooks, and started eating. He thought this was cute at first, and built an act around it. But the asshole would eat its way through his pants, and start talking on the street, shouting out it wanted equal rights. It would get drunk, too, and have crying jags, nobody loved it, an’— and wanted.. and it wanted to be kissed, same as any other mouth. Finally, it talked all the time, day and night. You could hear him for blocks, screaming at it to shut up, and beating it with his fist, and sticking candles up it. But nothing did any good, and the asshole said to him, “It’s you who will shut up in the end, not me. Because, we don’t need you around here any more. I can talk, and eat, AND shit”.

After that he began waking up in the morning with a transparent jelly like a tadpole’s tail all over his mouth. This jelly was what the scientists call “un D.T.”, undifferentiated tissue, (herr) which can grow into any kind of flesh on the human body. He would tear it off his mouth and the pieces would stick to his hands like burning gasoline jelly, and grow there. Grow anywhere . . . on him . . . grow anywhere on him a glob of it fell.

So finally his mouth sealed over, and the whole head would have amputated spontaneous.. did you know there is a condition occurs in parts of Africa, and only among negros, where the little toe amputates spontaneously?

Except for the eyes, you dig? That’s the one thing the asshole couldn’t do, was see. It needed the eyes. But nerve connections were blocked and infiltrated and atrophed, so the brain couldn’t give orders any more. it was trapped in the skull, sealed off. For awhile, you could see the silent helpless suffering of the brain behind the eyes, then finally the brain must have died, because the eyes went out, and there was no more feeling in them than a crab’s eye on the end of a stalk.
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William Burroughs and Frank Zappa

William Burroughs and Frank Zappa

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Rome, Blutopia record shop (blutopia.it), Luca Venitucci (accordion), “o vivere o ridere” a tribute to Enzo Jannacci, June 2013 (photo: spaziofermo)

Rome, Blutopia record shop (blutopia.it), Luca Venitucci (accordion), “o vivere o ridere” a tribute to Enzo Jannacci, June 2013 (photo: spaziofermo)

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Perhaps the most unique aspect of The Mothers’ work is the conceptual continuity of the group’s output macrostructure. There is, and always has been, a conscious control of thematic and structural elements flowing through each album, live performance, and interview.

Frank Zappa
“Instructional Material”
Circular, vol. 3, number 29, September 20, 1971, Burbank (CA, USA)

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One of the main roads to Zappa addiction for the occasional or new listener passes through the gradual discovery of the Conceptual Continuity inherent to all his projects.

On the other way around, there is no FZ hard-core fanatic known to mankind who did not enjoy the discovery of a new Conceptual Continuity Clue (CCC), and who (still in 2011) does not look for new ones, because we know that there may be something not yet brought into light.

A CCC may include various communication elements, some of them can be easy to catch, some other quite difficult or even obscure. For instance the One Size Fits All album artwork features in the front cover a big maroon sofa and a cigar, a conceptual continuity clue to a then undocumented 1971 live suite (partially released for the first time in 1988 in YCDTOSA Vol. 1 [Once Upon A Time, Sofa #1] and in 1992 in Playground Psychotics [Divan]) The back cover represents a sky map with dozens of bogus stars and constellations labelled with inside jokes in place of names. To get all the clues you have to link the album artwork to a song in the album, to your knowledge of a ‘71 live concert, and to lyrics to other FZ songs (at least). See this page (while it lasts) for further details.

A study of the album cover artwork realized by Cal Schenkel (www.ralf.com) in 2009

"Cigar" detail from a Cal Schenkel study

"Divan Divan" detail from a Cal Schenkel study

Moreover, Zappa was aware that his musical taste was in part different from the one of the average listener he wanted to reach. Because of that he developed various techniques to deliver “hard” musical information into, around, on top and/or at the bottom of some catchy material.

FZ discussing bass lines on the Drowning Witch album:
I like bass lines. They’re good, because for people who don’t understand what’s going on in the rest of the song, there’s always the bass line.

Tom Mulhern
“I’m Different” or “Not Exactly Duane Allman”
Guitar Player Magazine: February, 1983
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To manage those techniques and such an “output macrostructure” requires a great control of details, not only because a CCC could be (and often were) microscopic, but also because sometimes the band and/or the machine had been called to perform a stratified musical object.

These are the main reasons why there’s a high risk for a FZ hard-core fanatic to become a resentment listener.

After years of exposure, the poor and sometimes unaware hard-core fanatic has become so accustomed to listen “so carefully to every little detail” (listen to the FZ rap at the end of Stink Foot in Make A Jazz Noise Here [1]) that if subject to any FZ rendition he may react in a resentful manner if something does not go as expected.

A lot of examples may be given of “incentives towards in-depth listening” strategically designed by Zappa. The following two are in the sound engineering realm.

FZ discussing the CD reissue of We’re Only In It For The Money, remixed and remastered with new drums and bass parts:
And the problem with appealing to the younger audience today is they have become accustomed to a level of audio excellence and would psychologically reject certain older recordings just because of the way they sound without ever stopping to listen to what the content was. The tone quality of the recording itself would turn them off or dissuade them from in-depth listening. So, in an attempt to meet those new customers halfway I would like to spiff the stuff up as much as possible, so that they can tolerate the sound of it while they’re listening to the content that’s in there.

William Ruhlmann
“Frank Zappa: Moving On To Phase Three”
Goldmine, January 27, 1989

FZ discussing sound designing for his live tapes:
I like the idea of making my tapes, no matter what they are, so they’re intercuttable with one another. It’s less distracting to the listener. He can follow an album’s conceptual continuity better if he doesn’t get that drastic shock when the tone of things changes. The shock should be the idea of one type of music juxtaposed on another type of music, not the fact that the high hat suddenly jumps to the left.

Steve Birchall
“Modern Music Is a Sick Puppy. A Conversation with Frank Zappa”
Digital Audio, October/November 1984
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His strategy was aimed to improve the audience skills to catch CCC, and doing so, to keep them (or us) glued to the “macrostructure”.

And a maybe unwanted and unforeseen consequence was that, after a few years of training, in front of him had been standing an audience of potential resentment listeners!

Here it is, I think this is an attempt to rationalize why I have stolen the Adorno term (changing its meaning a little bit) at first to write a concert report, then to name a blog or whatever this space will be.

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[1] – FZ rap at the end of Stink Foot in Make A Jazz Noise Here
Now this is a special case, ladies and gentlemen, get that spot light over here, this is Ed Mann. Now, Ed had a tragic experience a few moments ago. One of the loyal fans in the audience came up and treated him like a war criminal because he fucked up the lick on “Dickie’s Such An Asshole” way back when–who knows?–several weeks ago. But the people who come to these shows listen so carefully to every little detail that this man was deeply offended by Ed’s performance. So to make sure that he gets his money’s worth tonight, we’re gonna dwell on it for a few moments now, and have Ed actually practice, kinda warm up for that big lick that happens in “Dickie’s Such An Asshole.” We’re gonna rehearse it right now, ready? Just do it as a solo, here we go . . . or . . .

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Thanks to Cal Schenkel who has kindly given permission to include his art here

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