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Thread: New Zappa releases

  1. #426
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ergalthema View Post
    Jazz Noise is one of my favorite Zappa albums. It's very close-mic'd and digital, but I like that - super clear and clean - it sounds kind of alien - almost more like a studio album than live.
    Mine too.

  2. #427
    The Zappa album that sounds "kind of alien" to me is Them Or Us, which is mostly hybrid studio/live tracks, but he sucked so much air out of it in the production/mixing that it has this nightmarish vibe that I don't get from any other Zappa album.

  3. #428
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    The Zappa album that sounds "kind of alien" to me is Them Or Us, which is mostly hybrid studio/live tracks, but he sucked so much air out of it in the production/mixing that it has this nightmarish vibe that I don't get from any other Zappa album.
    Yes, that is a very difficult album to listen to for me sonically speaking. There are some very nice instrumental sections and solos, but this period of FZ is the low point in his sonic signature to my ears. I much prefer Utopia and Drowning Witch from just a few years prior in terms of production. Zappa got sucked into the 80s digital rabbithole with the drum sound, keys, etc.

  4. #429
    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    The Zappa album that sounds "kind of alien" to me is Them Or Us, which is mostly hybrid studio/live tracks, but he sucked so much air out of it in the production/mixing that it has this nightmarish vibe that I don't get from any other Zappa album.
    Yeah, that production is a weird vibe. Man From Utopian and Ship Arriving Too Late are maybe slightly better, but I get a weird vibe from them as well. Of course, most people agree that You Are What You Is is a difficult mix to listen to. But all the 88 band stuff and later sounds good to my ears - maybe it would be better for me to say "hyper-real" or something - IDK, Jazz Noise just has a magic for me.

  5. #430
    I like Them Or Us though. I remember in a review someone said that Zappa's guitar solo sounded unpolished in "Whipping Post" compared to Dickey Betts and Duane Allman. They played great jazz-rock guitar solos but Zappa had the sound of someone having a mental breakdown over this situation of feeling like he was "tied to a whipping post."

  6. #431
    re: Them Or Us

    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    Yes, that is a very difficult album to listen to for me sonically speaking. There are some very nice instrumental sections and solos, but this period of FZ is the low point in his sonic signature to my ears. I much prefer Utopia and Drowning Witch from just a few years prior in terms of production. Zappa got sucked into the 80s digital rabbithole with the drum sound, keys, etc.
    The sound on Them Or Us never bothered me. I think the production is pretty decent there. And I love that heavy flanging effect he uses on some of the guitar solos.

    Drowning Witch is hard to rate for me, because I still think he made a mistake by breaking up the Drowning Witch/What's New In Baltimore?/Moggio suite. That would have made a perfect LP side, but no, he had to go putting each track on a different album. You sure this guy's a genius?!

    Man From Utopia I've never actually heard. I was given to believe there's no good instrumentals on it (beyond Moggio), and it just seemed like an album of all the stuff I don't like about Frank. Well, except The Jazz Discharge Hats, and there it's more about Steve Vai doubling ever single sound coming out of Frank's mouth, on guitar.
    I like Them Or Us though. I remember in a review someone said that Zappa's guitar solo sounded unpolished in "Whipping Post" compared to Dickey Betts and Duane Allman. They played great jazz-rock guitar solos but Zappa had the sound of someone having a mental breakdown over this situation of feeling like he was "tied to a whipping post."
    I'd characterize Duane and Dickey as being more "blues/rock" than "jazz/rock", though I guess jazz is in there too, a little bit. But Frank's approach to the instrument was so different players like Betts and Allman (especially in the early 80's), I'm not sure any kind of reasonable comparison can be made.

  7. #432
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Man From Utopia I've never actually heard. I was given to believe there's no good instrumentals on it (beyond Moggio),
    There are three fine instrumentals on Man from Utopia: "Moggio," "Tink Walks Amok," and "We Are Not Alone." The last also exists in an unreleased form with lyrics concerning Steve Vai's sexual exploits (as if "Stevie's Spanking" weren't enough), but the album version is instrumental.
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  8. #433
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    Quote Originally Posted by ergalthema View Post
    Yeah, that production is a weird vibe. Man From Utopian and Ship Arriving Too Late are maybe slightly better, but I get a weird vibe from them as well. Of course, most people agree that You Are What You Is is a difficult mix to listen to. But all the 88 band stuff and later sounds good to my ears - maybe it would be better for me to say "hyper-real" or something - IDK, Jazz Noise just has a magic for me.
    While I may have slightly slagged Jazz Noise up thread for its production - but its light years better IMO than anything from Joes Garage forward.

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  9. #434
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    There are three fine instrumentals on Man from Utopia: "Moggio," "Tink Walks Amok," and "We Are Not Alone." The last also exists in an unreleased form with lyrics concerning Steve Vai's sexual exploits (as if "Stevie's Spanking" weren't enough), but the album version is instrumental.
    Three outstanding pieces!

  10. #435
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    Quote Originally Posted by MudShark22 View Post
    While I may have slightly slagged Jazz Noise up thread for its production - but its light years better IMO than anything from Joes Garage forward.

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    I much prefer the '84 band live stuff in terms of sonics compared to any of the studio albums of the era.

  11. #436
    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    There are three fine instrumentals on Man from Utopia: "Moggio," "Tink Walks Amok," and "We Are Not Alone." The last also exists in an unreleased form with lyrics concerning Steve Vai's sexual exploits (as if "Stevie's Spanking" weren't enough), but the album version is instrumental.
    I always liked "Jazz Discharge Party Hats." Like a groupie story set to music by Ornette Coleman.

  12. #437
    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    There are three fine instrumentals on Man from Utopia: "Moggio," "Tink Walks Amok," and "We Are Not Alone." The last also exists in an unreleased form with lyrics concerning Steve Vai's sexual exploits (as if "Stevie's Spanking" weren't enough), but the album version is instrumental.
    Yeah, I forgot about Tink Walks Amok. I remember Frank saying in Guitar Player just before it came out that it features Arthur Barrow doing "interesting things" on three basses (Tink apparently being Arthur's childhood nickname, which he always hated, apparently, Frank's knowledge of it came from a chance meeting with Christopher Cross, which Arthur suggest was "payback" for Arthur inspiring Frank to write his Ride Like The Wind take off, Teenage Wind).

  13. #438
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    Love Tinks! Its one of those FZ tunes you can play for a room full of boring people and they'll take notice, maybe even mutter "Hmmmm....interesting....Are there any words?"

  14. #439
    I like the return of woodwinds and brass in the 88 touring band and the "cheesy" arrangements, my favorite being Ring Of Fire. There is a good (unofficial) DVD from the European leg of the tour filmed in Barcelona (17th of may) the entire concert in decent video and audio quality.

  15. #440
    Quote Originally Posted by alucard View Post
    I like the return of woodwinds and brass in the 88 touring band and the "cheesy" arrangements, my favorite being Ring Of Fire. There is a good (unofficial) DVD from the European leg of the tour filmed in Barcelona (17th of may) the entire concert in decent video and audio quality.
    I have that on a bootleg VHS. I remember querying Mike Keneally about that back in the AOL days, asking him about the exact date, and the references to Marqueson (Marque Coy, Frank's monitor guy, I believe) during the show (e.g. the "It might be just what Marqueson needs" chant during Illinois Enema Bandit, etc).

  16. #441
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    I have that on a bootleg VHS. I remember querying Mike Keneally about that back in the AOL days, asking him about the exact date, and the references to Marqueson (Marque Coy, Frank's monitor guy, I believe) during the show (e.g. the "It might be just what Marqueson needs" chant during Illinois Enema Bandit, etc).
    The only thing that sucks is his stage outfit, makes you regret the tight Bell bottoms & python boot périodes

  17. #442
    Quote Originally Posted by alucard View Post
    The only thing that sucks is his stage outfit, makes you regret the tight Bell bottoms & python boot périodes
    Who's stage outfit. I dont' remember much about what anyone wore in the Barcelona video. I was more interested in finally seeing some decent footage of Frank playing guitar (before that, I'd only seen the videos of Stevie's Spanking and St Etteine that Night Flight showed back in like 85 or 86, whenever it was). It was interesting to see, for instance, shots of Frank doing this thing that was kind of like a cross between tremolo picking the string and hammering on with the pick.

  18. #443
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    It was interesting to see, for instance, shots of Frank doing this thing that was kind of like a cross between tremolo picking the string and hammering on with the pick.
    There is a complete show video from Paris 1980 and I remember that in one song FZ does that (or something similar to that) but they have a closeup of his face instead of showing his fingers.

  19. #444
    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    There is a complete show video from Paris 1980 and I remember that in one song FZ does that (or something similar to that) but they have a closeup of his face instead of showing his fingers.
    Goddamn TV directors strike again! I guess we should be thankful that on the Barcelona show there's lots of shots where you can really see what Frank is doing when he plays. Another thing I remember was I always assumed he bent into that first note of the Watermelon In Easter Hay melody with the whammy bar, but at least on that occasion, it looks like he's actually bending the note up from below with his left hand so that it's actually a quarter step or whatever sharp, then strikes the note and bends into the E (I think that's the first note).

  20. #445
    Zappa was wearing à strange mix of a jogging suite and a pyjama , very un-rock'n-rollish

  21. #446
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Goddamn TV directors strike again! I guess we should be thankful that on the Barcelona show there's lots of shots where you can really see what Frank is doing when he plays. Another thing I remember was I always assumed he bent into that first note of the Watermelon In Easter Hay melody with the whammy bar, but at least on that occasion, it looks like he's actually bending the note up from below with his left hand so that it's actually a quarter step or whatever sharp, then strikes the note and bends into the E (I think that's the first note).
    There is a 1980 DVD of a Paris show with good quality, from memory public TV , but it's quite short

  22. #447
    Yes it's on INA the French national TV archives:
    The producer was Antoine de Caunes who was a friends of Magma and produced live TV rock shows in the80s and 90s

    "Frank Zappa is revered as modern music's greatest innovator, an iconoclast who destroyed music convention with genre-busting funk/blues/ psychedelic/heavy rock arrangements, and incredible live stage shows. As a solo performer, and with his groundbreaking band The Mothers of Invention, Zappa recorded 60 albums and collaborated with Captain Beefheart and the London Symphony Orchestra. Rock and roll's sharpest musical mind and most astute social critic, he was the most prolific composer of his age.

    Recorded Live in Paris in 1980, this is a rare recording of Frank Zappa performing at the peak of his career with his incredible backing band, including Ike Willis (guitar/ vocals), Ray White (guitar/vocals), Tommy Mars (keys), Arthur Barrow (bass) and David Logeman (drums). It was the year after Zappa released two of his greatest albums - Sheik Yerbouti, and the masterpiece Joe's Garage - and this cracking live show includes the classic Zappa songs Joe's Garage, Dancing Fool, Bobby Brown and The Illinois Enema Bandit."

    Chorus a programme of Antoine De Caunes & presented by Antoine De Caunes.

  23. #448
    Yes, for the Paris 1980 show there is an excellent copy edited to 30 minutes or so and a murkier version of the 2.5 hour complete show.

  24. #449
    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    There are three fine instrumentals on Man from Utopia: "Moggio," "Tink Walks Amok," and "We Are Not Alone." The last also exists in an unreleased form with lyrics concerning Steve Vai's sexual exploits (as if "Stevie's Spanking" weren't enough), but the album version is instrumental.
    Ps, I did an alternative rock cover - with a little quote of My Sharona thrown in too - of We're Not Alone. Hope you like it...


  25. #450

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