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Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

FRANK ZAPPA: Review

Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention
The Lost Broadcast -The Full Performance
Gonzo Multimedia
2016

There aren't many videos floating around of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, but The Lost Broadcast should be received with welcome arms by loyal Zappa enthusiasts and others who still have a burning interest in his legacy. Recorded in 1968 at the Beat Club in Bremen, Germany., and broadcasted for a German TV station in 1970, the DVD liner notes reaffirm that most of Zappa's concert footage is culled from his later years as a solo artist.

The Mothers of Invention were light-years ahead of the pack, as this film is centered on a lengthy jam, enveloping several Zappa works such as "King Kong," "Let's Make the Water Turn Black and others. However, the cameramen were obviously tuned into that era's burgeoning psychedelic movement via the hippy, trippy angles, pans and overlays that cast a rather jittery spectacle. On one hand it's interesting and summons fond memories, but of course many of these techniques are woefully dated and rather annoying, yet a sense of nostalgia does prevail.

Other than the actual club performance there is footage of the band's rehearsal and thankfully, the cameramen primarily used conventional filming processes. There are some hilarious moments as well, especially when a few young ladies dance on the stage floor as the Mothers crank out a Chuck Berry style rocker. But from a musical standpoint, the performance presents an aggregation of Zappa's brilliant concepts, merging various rock and pop slants with contemporary classical overtures, free jazz and experimental excursions. Moreover, the leader's demanding time signatures, executed with finesse and precision, combine hummable melodies, shaded with cartoonish themes and briskly populated detours.

Keyboardist Don Preston's gruff, distortion-tinted electric piano work was perhaps unique for the time period, soon to be paralleled by Soft Machine keyboardist Mike Ratledge's distortion heavy keys and permutations of the Lowrey organ, phased through a fuzzbox. Otherwise, drummer Jimmy Carl Black and classically trained drummer, Art Tripp—who years later became a chiropractor —often punctuate the same cadences but move forward with a balanced attack. Thus, Zappa shattered conventional norms, alluding to his significance as a prolific composer, radical thinker, and basically one of the great musical minds of the 20th century.

CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM  FRANK ZAPPA AT GONZO


Frank Zappa is considered to be one of the most influential rock musicians of the late twentieth century. Between the start of his career in the late fifties and his death in 1993 he recorded and rele..




On September 19, 1985, Frank Zappa testified before the United States Senate Commerce, Technology, and Transportation committee, attacking the Parents Music Resource Center or PMRC, a music organizati..

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