Hammersmith Odeon – a Review

This is yet another great release from the Zappa family trust. Excellent material (yes, one of my favorite line ups), great sound, not as “close” as Frank used to make them, but the sound is clear and the balance between the intruments and voices is very good. In some selections the vocals are a little too low though.
The sound is compressed BUT it’s not overdone, like on the Buffalo album. It’s more like the Philly ’76 album.

Read the full review at Radio Dupree! (You’ll find some reviews here as well in the discography section.)

48 Responses to “Hammersmith Odeon – a Review”

  1. bantex says:

    cant wait to get it ………………………. what i have heard its a very very good set of music…………………

  2. urbangraffito says:

    Although overpriced, and some minor abruptly edited parts (at the end of “Baby Snakes” and “Jones Crusher”), an exceptional 3 disc set. I would even go as far as to say that this set is the missing link between Zappa’s 1978 Berlin Deutschlandhalle, New York Palladium, and Poughkeepsie shows. Any serious collector of Zappa, like myself, has long yearned for these Hammersmith shows.

    Personal highlights: Pound For A Brown, Little House I Used To Live In, Terry Firma, King Kong, Watermelon In Easter Hay (Prequel), Black Napkins.

  3. P-Rip says:

    So, I finally listened to the whole thing. I’m trying to figure out why I’m disappointed. Even though this lineup is not my favorite, I very much enjoyed Baby Snakes (movie and soundtrack), plus the bits and pieces of this lineup on YCDTOSA. Also, I saw the premier of this lineup in Phoenix Arizona, with Zappa onstage for the soundcheck, trying to make the best of basketball-arena acoustics as the audience came in. So there is some personal nostalgia to connect with as well. The highlights Urban mentions are pretty much my own. But I’ve heard much hotter solos from this lineup (What I heard live, plus the Wax Flags boot) and was expecting more (Wild Love and Yo Mama?) Maybe it all comes down to perceived value. If this was a single CD for $20, with the highlights Urban mentions…and Dong Work For Yuda, it would be an excellent deal. Or maybe a $15 download for the whole thing? I’ve been a Zappa fan since 1970 and own all the official releases on vinyl and again on CD. So maybe it’s just that the rest of it sounds too much like stuff I already have. It’s hard to get excited about yet another version “The Torture Never Stops”.

  4. urbangraffito says:

    I think I know why you, or any longtime Zappa fan like us, are always disappointed P-Rip. We long to be “blown away” like we were when we first heard those fantastic solos by this premier lineup. Believe me, I envy those newbie Zappa fans I occasionally come across and watch with delight as their faces light up with a kind of ecstasy as I dig out solo after solo for them from my collection. Yes, I too have heard hotter solos from this lineup. Yes, it’s incredibly overpriced. Yes, it also sounds like a lot of stuff I have, too. Yet personally, there are two big reasons I like this set having said all that – 1) being a completist I can’t resist, and 2) “Little House I Used To Live In” (man, I dig this version).

  5. P-Rip says:

    Urban, I guess another reason is that I should look at a lot of these live releases more like “historical documents” than a deliberate part of the “project/object”. In other words, if FZ would have released this, he would have made it much more interesting as a recording. And he did just that: “Sheik Yerbouti”.

  6. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from P-Rip:

    Urban, I guess another reason is that I should look at a lot of these live releases more like “historical documents” than a deliberate part of the “project/object”. In other words, if FZ would have released this, he would have made it much more interesting as a recording. And he did just that: “Sheik Yerbouti”.

    That’s exactly how I look at most of these live release, P-Rip.

  7. Hugh says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    I think I know why you, or any longtime Zappa fan like us, are always disappointed P-Rip. We long to be “blown away” like we were when we first heard those fantastic solos by this premier lineup.

    You said it, UrbanG. Sadly, you can’t go back. :(

  8. Dark Clothes says:

    Why did Frank pick Rat Tomago from an inferior recording? Because he realized that he had been on fire there, more than on the multi-track recordings from Hammersmith Odeon. But these Vaulternative releases are bound to come from the best recorded shows, because that gives the overall more acceptable product for our jaded ears. Philly ’76 has a fantastic Black Napkins, but there are bootlegs from that tour with even more spectacular performances. I don’t think it’s wrong to choose the better recording, but when you’ve listened to Frank’s own first pick choices and amazing shows from field recordings, some of the archive releases are bound to be disappointing. That said, I still think HO is very satisfying, and a fine release!

  9. Chuck says:

    I love this band and the Berlin show has been on high rotation the last 10 years or so, just because that show is on fire. Same with Wax Flags even with its crappy sound.

    These shows are interesting and enjoyable too just not as amazing, but they have nice sound.

    I wonder whether the playing is a little flatter and politer because FZ was recording and maybe told the band to be accuarte so he could get some basic tracks?

  10. Harry Barris says:

    I’ve just listened to a friend’s copy and i think that Zappa should have released this Watermelon In Easter Hay (Prequel) as a single 45 (or maybe even as a B-side to a single ala Ancient Armaments), since it is expressively beautiful & tasteful and less than 4 minutes long. The rest left me mostly unimpressed.

    Tommy Mars’ scatting & keyboard noodling drives me up the proverbial wall. And Terry Ted (who must be in extremely good graces with the ZFT–which makes sense since he is such a nice guy)–is placed WAY TOO loudly in the overall mix. (“Where’s the bass?” the granny from the ‘mystery meat’ fast food tv commercial might ask.)

    What else could explain my theory on why 98% of the full show(s) released from Gail as Vaulternatives so far–FZ:OZ, Philly ’76, Hammersmith Odeon–feature him. (That’s seven *full* discs of “bashing” Bozzio for those keeping track at home!!!)

    My personal buying boycott (i know, who cares) continues until something *substantial* (not just excerpts) live from 1973 and/or 1974 is released. (I was going to add Zappa/Mothers w. Beefheart from early 1975 to that, but the intrepid Dan “The Man” Lampinski took care of that with his superb Providence College aud. recording!

  11. Redunzling Sterbus says:

    A quote from Harry Barris:

    I was going to add Zappa/Mothers w. Beefheart from early 1975 to that…

    So you actually want more Bozzio! :)

  12. Harry Barris says:

    Well, i said “I was…” ;) !

    To clarify, in his early tenure, pre-The Black Page, it seems Terry didn’t quite “overplay” as much as he did later on, i.e., once he became so *established* within the band: for instance, he’s practically the *star* of the Baby Snakes movie. (And yeah, i would have much preferred things if Chester Thompson hadn’t quit the band to join Weather Report. (What a mistake that turned out to be, short-term!)

  13. marco j says:

    OK–I am now writing this after having perused the reviewers before me, and I think they all make great points. Even before this release could be heard, many folks were sighing a “not again” refrain, in terms of the Bozzio-O’Hearn era band. I tend to lean a little toward this impression. Don’t get me wrong, I will never forget the moment I first saw the truncated VHS release of “Baby Snakes” in a dorm room in 1986. I was jumping up and down by the time the “Camarillo Brillo”–”Muffin Man” encore section was rockin’ out, but after many years, I do echo those who burn to hear a much wider variety of Zappa live excerpts. Sure, Bianca Odin can be heard on “Philly ’76″, but does that really justify the special nature of the whole release? I will positively say that the sound quality and mix of this Hammersmiith Odeon release is truly vibrant and really punchy, which I like. There are also places where the background vocals really start to lock and gel well. That said, I agree with others. Another “Torture Never Stops” while other live recordings languish in the vault, not to mention the 1973-1974 Roxy DVD promised as far back as the Baby Snakes DVD release. I think the fans have every right to look at the whole posthumous “spectrum” released since 1993, and make certain obvious conclusions—why so little Vinnie-era band (Buffalo was great, how about the Vinnie-era Hammersmith shows that made up parts of “Tinseltown Rebellion”)? Why absolutely no 1982-era band aside from YCDTOSA Vol. 5? Why so little 73-74 era? Why no 1988 band? To have such a proponderous amount of 76-78 era live recordings availalble when whole chunks of the life’s work remain hidden is a crime. It’s as if one could only view Picasso’s Blue Period paintings everywhere and little else.

    All that said, it is a fine release, but many of us are yearning for a wider release palate.

  14. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from marco j:

    I think the fans have every right to look at the whole posthumous “spectrum” released since 1993, and make certain obvious conclusions—why so little Vinnie-era band (Buffalo was great, how about the Vinnie-era Hammersmith shows that made up parts of “Tinseltown Rebellion”)? Why absolutely no 1982-era band aside from YCDTOSA Vol. 5? Why so little 73-74 era? Why no 1988 band?

    I definitely hear where you’re coming from, marco j. However, to attempt to make sense of the rhyme and reason of all the whole posthumous “spectrum” of releases would no doubt leave a Zappa fan down-right bingy. As I’ve said many times, it’s all gravy (though sometimes a singular flavoured gravy, at times). On KUR’s behalf, though, I’ve endeavoured to compile mixtapes of the 73-74 era and the 1988 band which you mentioned. A Vinnie Colaiuta inspired mixtape, though would be an interesting challenge. I would definitely accept it if there was enough of a demand. Is there?

  15. jonnybutter2 says:

    A quote from jonnybutter2:

    A Vinnie Colaiuta inspired mixtape, though would be an interesting challenge. I would definitely accept it if there was enough of a demand. Is there?

    (speaking only for myself) YES.

  16. Hugh says:

    I second that motion. :)

    I made a Colaiuta mix-tape for a drummer friend recently. I’m sure you could rise to the challenge easily, UrbanG.

  17. Phil J says:

    Hell yeah bring on Vinnie!

  18. Numpty says:

    Sounds like a great idea :-)

  19. Robert says:

    Yes, Vinnie is the MAN!

  20. Dark Clothes says:

    Everything is happening all the time, and in that perspective the balance will be better in the long run. Sometimes I only read one author or only listen to one musician for a long period, but when I have digested that work, I go on to look at other things. Maybe that’s the way it’s been with ZFT/Dweezil and the Bozzio era. Other things will surely follow suit. (I mostly put the posthumous CDs in the order of performance on my shelf, by the way. Wazoo, Imaginary Diseases, FZ/OZ, Philly, Hammersmith, Buffalo One Shot Deal – you get the picture.)

  21. Sterbus says:

    Well, this Black Page solo piano belongs in some ways to that band…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXxeOvvNNwc&feature=related

  22. Thinman says:

    For everybody in Germany and nearby:

    JPC now has it: http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/poprock/detail/-/art/Frank-Zappa-Hammersmith-Odeon-Live-1978/hnum/4979856

    They will have snippets for listening probably soon. Ordered it.

    Th.

  23. Thinman says:

    And they have Congress Shall Make No Law also, where the short snippets let you hear all those Synclavier fragments, heheh!

    http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/poprock/detail/-/art/Frank-Zappa-Congress-Shall-Make-No-Law/hnum/4980089

  24. Dark Clothes says:

    A quote from Sterbus:

    Well, this Black Page solo piano belongs in some ways to that band…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXxeOvvNNwc&feature=related

    Very beautiful, although not note perfect… I have a hunch it’s peter Wolf, but can’t tell for sure. Does anybody know for sure if this belongs to the American or the Viennese school of piano playing?

  25. profusion says:

    Dweezil seems to favor the overall approach/sound of the ’76-78 band in ZPZ, and maybe there is a bit of a tie-in there. Personally, I’m just happy to get as much high-quality audio as we can out of the vault.

    More Roxy-era stuff would definitely be appreciated.

  26. Thinman says:

    Finally my copy has arrived.

    Friends, once again I have to say I’m unable to acquire a taste for those Filipetti-mixes. Where is Pat’s bass? After disc one has already killed all possible listening pleasure because of this dead mix, I have no interest at the moment to listen to disc two or three. And you can be sure I try to be unprejudiced with every new release.

    What shall this treatment of Frank’s legacy be good for? Is this supposed to be modern? Any of Frank’s fucked up remasters no matter what title sounds a million times better than this.

    High-quality audio is something else. It’s a pity for this stellar performances.

    Th.

  27. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Thinman:

    Where is Pat’s bass?

    Perhaps that’s the part Joe and Gail baked and smoked?

  28. Dark Clothes says:

    A quote from Thinman:

    Any of Frank’s fucked up remasters no matter what title sounds a million times better than this.

    Although I recognize your complaints, I don’t agree entirely. I’ve enjoyed HO since I bought it, but of course it would have been better with more audible bass… The other night, while I was sitting up with a toothache, I listened to the Ryko Does Humour Belong In Music back to back with HO, and that’s at least one FZ original which is far less enjoyable to me than the Filipetti releases. And that’s not just because I prefer the 1978 band to the 1984 entourage, but because the sound of DHBIM is so shrill and unnatural. So that’s one down for Filipetti, compared to Zappa.

    Finished with Humor, I picked up Keiji Haino’s Affection, and that intense seriousness was a great relief after the 1984 tomfoolery. Haino fitted the toothache perfectly and finally allowed me to fall asleep.

  29. Numpty says:

    I’ve always preferred the EMI version of DHBIM… to me the Ryko version sounds like a different performance in comparison, but that’s FZ’s prerogative to mix it to his liking. It’s nice to have the choice i suppose.

  30. ABOOK says:

    wow nice odeon got here today first thoughts are nice nice ….good old guitar solos sounds ……………………………..what an effort to put this together ………..to all of you penny pinchers and tide wads well worth the money! could a cost 2o more bucks ………..plus a party set ………
    i keep telling myself get over it but the liner notes from peter wolf still give me that tear here and there. No wonder dont seem to me Zappa ever hired a snipfenzipfel and he was allways right to the point a right now person. Thanks Peter Wolf you reinforced in me what i was thinking about FZ a long time.

  31. Brett says:

    A quote from Thinman:

    Finally my copy has arrived.

    Friends, once again I have to say I’m unable to acquire a taste for those Filipetti-mixes. Where is Pat’s bass? After disc one has already killed all possible listening pleasure because of this dead mix, I have no interest at the moment to listen to disc two or three. And you can be sure I try to be unprejudiced with every new release.

    What shall this treatment of Frank’s legacy be good for? Is this supposed to be modern? Any of Frank’s fucked up remasters no matter what title sounds a million times better than this.

    High-quality audio is something else. It’s a pity for this stellar performances.

    Th.

    It must suck to be an audiophile. I agree that the mix is less than perfect, but it certainly isn’t bad enough to ruin the release as a whole.

  32. Bob says:

    A quote from Brett:

    It must suck to be an audiophile.

    I agree that the mix is less than perfect, but it certainly isn’t bad enough to ruin the release as a whole.

    Frustrating? Yes, very. But suck? No, not at all. Actually, very satisfying when it all comes together.

    My opinion of suck is all the folks out there who only know sound through those tiny little white buds they wear in their ears.

  33. Balint says:

    I’m not a real audiophil, but to me the album sounds really good – here I understand more the role of each musicians (unlike on Sheik or Baby Snakes), the overall sound to me is quite rich – the bass might be weaker than one would expect, but not that much.

    Its interesting that most people have problems with the sound of the Vaulternative releases, I am usually on th ether side: my problem is mainly the content of these albums, while there ARE some original FZ-releases with which I do have some audio-problems: for example it’s really hard for me to listen to (the otherwise excellent) Helsinki concert, because of the overdubbed kick-drums. I just can’t stand it.

    The Vaulternative releases: my main question is the content, most of the time I find some bootlegs to be more enjoyable (musically) than some official releases (Philly, OZ) in spite of the difference in the sound quality, but of course there are albums that I like a lot: Wazoo, Buffalo.

    In the future it would be nice to have concerts to be released because of the fine music, the good solos (and not because of “England” or “We’ve just found it” or because “its a 16 channels recording”.

    BTW my main criticism with the Hammersmith release is that FZs solos are simply not on the top, sometimes really boring and simple – time after time I realize that I do not concentrate on the music, but on something else around me. It’s a surprise to me, I don’t remeber I’ve felt this way with ANY recording from this period.

    Anyway, I keep on givig it some chances, so I’ll see how my opinion changes (if it changes) with time.

  34. Dark Clothes says:

    If it ain’t frustrating, it ain’t a Zappa record. And if it ain’t ultimately rewarding, it ain’t a Zappa record, either. That’s how it’s been since Freak Out! so we should be used to it by now.

    Me, I like most of the Vaulternative releases, although every moment isn’t as golden as the FZ:OZ Black Napkins or the HO Pound For A Brown. But there’s always plenty of interesting context, as well as sheer unadulterated musical pleasure.

    Keep’em coming, I say.

  35. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Brett:

    A quote from Thinman:

    Finally my copy has arrived.

    Friends, once again I have to say I’m unable to acquire a taste for those Filipetti-mixes. Where is Pat’s bass? After disc one has already killed all possible listening pleasure because of this dead mix, I have no interest at the moment to listen to disc two or three. And you can be sure I try to be unprejudiced with every new release.

    What shall this treatment of Frank’s legacy be good for? Is this supposed to be modern? Any of Frank’s fucked up remasters no matter what title sounds a million times better than this.

    High-quality audio is something else. It’s a pity for this stellar performances.

    Th.

    It must suck to be an audiophile.

    I agree that the mix is less than perfect, but it certainly isn’t bad enough to ruin the release as a whole.

    If FZ’s official releases are potatoes, then the Vaulternative releases are sheer gravy (and damn fucking expensive gravy, at that). Dark Clothes does have a valid point, though. It’s the context of these Vaulternative releases which make them interesting primarily to completists and collectors alike. Would I recommend them to those new to Zappa? Never. Why? Because Thinman also has a valid point. Someone new to Zappa would find the Hammersmith mix an unrewarding listen. As a four decade fan, I can find something I like in every posthumous release – but objectively speaking, Gail Zappa and Joe Travers have done Frank’s legacy a grave disservice with the majority of their choice of releases. The latest is no different. Just as the releases the came before it, it’s little more than an overpriced soundboard recording. They constantly speak of this mythic “youth audience” for Zappa, but it’s been the diehard Zappa fan that stuck with FZ through the years who actually buys these Vaulternative releases. The moral? Fleece us at your own risk ZFT, fleece us at your own risk.

  36. Thinman says:

    After a few days of listening I have to admit this one has grown on me. Though I don’t understand some of the mixing decisions, I am now able to enjoy this thing because of the quality of the performances.

    And it sounds better on ordinary poor man’s hifi equipment than on my homestudio nearfield speakers.

    The mix is build around the drums as the main factor. Though there are lots of bass frequencies, you will hear more bass lines from CP70 electric piano left hand than bass guitar. That doesn’t do Pat’s role justice IMO. The vocals seem to be dried out and gated to eliminate ambience hangover and make them sound (too) direct and upfront. And I hear some distortion in the vocals as on Philly ’76. This is probably Filipetti’s style of vocal treatment. I doubt that this is already on the recording.

    On the pro-side: The highlight is for me that now finally we can hear what Adrian does on guitar. He was almost buried on Sheik Yerbouti.

    I put on some of the other vaulternative releases for comparison, and this one probably is the best by far.

    IMO: Imaginary Diseases and Wazoo sound good but the performances are substandard. FZ:OZ is boring and captures Frank’s weakest tour (I fell asleep during recent listening). Buffalo is unlistenable and totally fucked up in the mix opposed to the interesting performances. Philly ’76 is a document from another boring tour, though here Filipetti avoided some of the Buffalo mistakes (did they hear the critics?).

    Just like urbangraffito I doubt that anybody (a new audience that is just discovering FZ?) except the old die-hard fans will buy these releases anyway. I think there is no reason to give these productions a pseudo-modern audio production treatment.

    Th.

  37. Math Sterbus says:

    Sometimes I wonder why years ago people asked Gail for concerts from less-documented line-ups and now we’re stating that those less-documented line-ups are boring and complaining with her for releasing them. Maybe that’s why they have not been more-documented by FZ himself ? :)

    Anyway, I like Philly, but I agree with Th. on FZ:OZ.

  38. Brett says:

    Let’s hope they get the (supposedly) upcoming Ponty release right, as that was certainly not a boring band. In my opinion, The Bianca band was great, but the Philly concert happens to a be a somewhat lackluster performance in terms of improvisation (the vocal tunes are tight). FZ:OZ represents the opposite scenario. This is the gamble with Vault releases, as the ZFT opts for the best-sounding concerts they have, rather than those with the best performances.

  39. Balint says:

    A quote from Math Sterbus:

    Sometimes I wonder why years ago people asked Gail for concerts from less-documented line-ups

    The problem is not the actual band shown by the Vaulternative Releases, but the chosen concert of that period: for example I happen to like at least 2 bootleg recording from 75-76, but I dont remembern I ‘ve ever listened to FZ:OZ from the beginning to the end: its just boring. I love the ’78 Berlin bootleg, but I find HO a bit boring, too. Etc.

    The problem with these releases are that now they DO suggest that “well yes, this was a boring period, you can see from the official release”. Any official release shoud show the BEST side of an era, of a lineup, the selection should not happen by chance, like “hey, let’s put out something english” or so. QUALITY should be the main reason, and man, there ARE tons of things to choose from.

  40. Brett says:

    I think we should view Vaulternative releases as supplements to our collected concert tapes. No matter what concert the ZFT chooses to release, there will be highlights and lowlights. The ZFT clearly wants to release the best sounding sources, and performances from the concert in question will occasionally fall short of our favorite performances from the concert tapes we have. On the other hand, they will occasionally surpass performances from concert tapes.

  41. Numpty says:

    A quote from Brett:

    I think we should view Vaulternative releases as supplements to our collected concert tapes. No matter what concert the ZFT chooses to release, there will be highlights and lowlights. The ZFT clearly wants to release the best sounding sources, and performances from the concert in question will occasionally fall short of our favorite performances from the concert tapes we have. On the other hand, they will occasionally surpass performances from concert tapes.

    That’s all very well, but why do these realeases cost so much. The Grateful Dead, King Crimson etc release concert CDs for a much more reasonable price. 48 Pounds is way too expensive for me I’m afraid.

  42. Balint says:

    A quote from Thinman:

    After a few days of listening…

    Thinman, your audio-remarks are always really interesting to me – in spite of the fact that my gear and my ears are not that sophisticated to access all of it. :-) Anyway, thank you for all these – and these comments made me think about the possibility of making an alternate mix of some albums by fans. Would it be possible? Well, I thought of it just because I’ve met remixed albums already (I mean non-professional remix – but professional in sound), or taking a song to parts… So: it would be really nice to have an alternate mix of the Helsinki Concert… or Halloween…. or…

    Would it be possible?

  43. Thinman says:

    A quote from Balint:

    A quote from Thinman:

    After a few days of listening…

    Thinman, your audio-remarks are always really interesting to me – in spite of the fact that my gear and my ears are not that sophisticated to access all of it. :-) Anyway, thank you for all these – and these comments made me think about the possibility of making an alternate mix of some albums by fans. Would it be possible? Well, I thought of it just because I’ve met remixed albums already (I mean non-professional remix – but professional in sound), or taking a song to parts… So: it would be really nice to have an alternate mix of the Helsinki Concert… or Halloween…. or…

    Would it be possible?

    If the ZFT would supply the multitrack-files, anyone with software like Cubase, Protools, Nuendo, Logic, etc. could at least try this.

    Th.

  44. Dark Clothes says:

    A quote from Balint:

    A quote from Thinman:

    After a few days of listening…

    Thinman, your audio-remarks are always really interesting to me – in spite of the fact that my gear and my ears are not that sophisticated to access all of it. :-) Anyway, thank you for all these – and these comments made me think about the possibility of making an alternate mix of some albums by fans. Would it be possible? Well, I thought of it just because I’ve met remixed albums already (I mean non-professional remix – but professional in sound), or taking a song to parts… So: it would be really nice to have an alternate mix of the Helsinki Concert… or Halloween…. or…

    Would it be possible?

    It’s highly unlikely that a tight, possessive person like Gail Zappa should allow this to happen, and frankly I’m not that interested, either. It would be interesting to get a peek behind the scenes on “the Helsinki concert”, though… This may be something that will happen 30-50 years into the future, when the Zappa residence is made into a museum/entertainment centre. So stick around, and perhaps your wishes will be fulfilled…

    In most cases, minimal extracurricular sonic treatment is probably the best solution regarding the Zappa tapes, at least from a historical point of view.

    I think the only way to satisfy the fans’ wishes about releases from the vault would be to start a series of Fan Choices. Given Zappa’s diversity, that’s probably even the best way of representing the totality of his work fairly. Because the collective knowledge and desires of the fan base is surely superior to the whims of a few powerful individuals. They already have the Vaultmeister’s Damage thing going, so why not a Fans’ Dicks’ Picks? Maybe someday when the family get into downloading for real?

  45. Balint says:

    Well, I’m not thinking of “behind the scenes” editions, or the (very much unlikely) possibility of someone getting the multitracks of some albums from the ZFT. But I’ve already heard “alternate mixes” or re-workings of songs, somehow taking apart them to pieces and put them together again, sometimes making really funny “marriages” (I still don’t know the way). See this “Like a Virgin” by Motörhead + Madonna: :-) .

    http://apc.blog.hu/2009/12/13/bunos_vasarnap_madonna_vs_motorhead

    I’ve also heard some midi-based covers with Ike Willis’ voice overdubbed somehow, extracted from an official album – etc.

    And the versions I’m thinking of would be alternate versions of albums that are thought to be “bad” anyway: like I can’t stand the replaced kick-drums on the Helsinki concert, or the Halloween DVD always sounded bad to me, etc.

    The tune “Virgin” proves me that it’s possible (I’ve heard tons of mixes like this – some made by using some old hungarian recordings as source of which the original multitrack was surely and totally unavailable), though I really don’t know how to do that. :-)

  46. Dark Clothes says:

    About the kickdrums, from your own netsite:

    http://www.zappa.hu/?q=en/node/562

    Bob Stone denies, Mark Pinske says, Hell, yeah!

    Making your own mix might be fun, but how relevant is it to the question of new releases? If this becomes an option, you’ll most likely get the chance to mess around with established classics (like Apostrophe) long before you get a chance to try and improve some of the more controversial later releases.

  47. Theydon Bois says:

    A quote from Dark Clothes:

    About the kickdrums, from your own netsite:

    http://www.zappa.hu/?q=en/node/562

    Bob Stone denies, Mark Pinske says, Hell, yeah!

    I never took Bob Stone’s denial to mean that it wasn’t done at all; I just assumed that he was denying that it was a Wackerman sample (as opposed to some off-the-shelf sample, which is what I suspect was used). I agree it’s a bit jarring, but it’s certainly not a deal-breaker for me on a release as fabulous as YCDTOSA#2, and if it was done because the original kick drum sound was lousy (or hard to render audible) then I don’t really have a problem with it; it’s Chester’s playing, after all, and it’s by no means the only way in which the contents of the CD are unfaithful to the exact sounds that were heard in 1974.

    I mostly like Hammersmith Odeon, by the way, though would have preferred more O’Hearn and less “I Have Been In You” monologue.

  48. Dark Clothes says:

    Interesting point about the samples, Theydon. – I happen to like the I’m In You rap, but would also have liked to hear more of O’Hearn. I just compared Peaches from TTR with the one from HO, and the absence of of the electric bass guitar sound on HO is truly jawdropping, when compared for instance to Barrow’s prominence in Peaches III. There are also other other points of comparison between the two that are quite telling about the differing esthetics of the two Franks. I’m not a technician, but I feel that Filipetti is aiming for a collective thrust of sound, while Zappa had the musician’s ear for the separation and interplay of instruments. The result is that Filipetti’s mix sounds superficially heavier, while Zappa’s mixes (when they’re good) are dynamic and hence more musically satisfying and pleasing to the ear.

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