||FORGET MATRIX NUMBERS
||Yes, some "1995 CD" runs used the Au20 remaster,
and the Zappa Patio tried to offer advise on how to tell the old from the
new by looking at - not listening to - the discs.
The advice focused on "matrix numbers", the
little numbers around the rim of the hole in the disc (so known since the
But soon, people started mailing in exceptions to every
rule about these matrix numbers. It has now reached a point where the only
method we can recommend is listening to the discs, and so we have removed
all references to matrix numbers from the page.
article on the quad version
by the Duke of Prunes
(Below) Russian LP with Over-Nite Sensation cover. Black back cover
with track list & credits in Russian & English.
Summary: There are three basic versions of Apostrophe:
1) the original mix used on the original LP
2) a Quadraphonic version used on the Quadraphonic vinyl and tape formats in the
3) a "remix" made from the above.
Two of these are commercially available on CD. Number 3 (the
remix) is the most common; it's available on the old "Apostrophe/Over-nite
Sensation" CD (both Zappa Records AND Ryko versions) and on the 1995 Ryko
reissue, although each has a slightly different version of the remix with
varying levels of processing and reverb--see
details below. Number 1, the original vinyl mix, was made briefly available on Ryko's Au20 "Audiophile" gold CD, and also appeared on some mispressed "regular"
1995 discs. The Quadraphonic version has not been commercially released on CD.
ESSENTIAL VERSIONS FOR COMPLETISTS: Tricky. Something with the CD
remix (old CD, or original pressing of the 1995 CD),
plus something with the vinyl mix (either an LP, an Au20 CD or an
old-mix pressing of 1995 CD). However, the CD remix comes
in three distinct flavors; really crazy completists may need more than
one. If you're an
ultra-completist, you'll dream about a quadraphonic copy
(rare). [completist's guide]
Issues (by release)
- Original vinyl (DiscReet DS2175 in the US
(not MS2175?), DS2175 in
Canada, K 59201 in the UK, April 22 1974) - originally planned with a different cover,
which was never released
- Cassettes (DiscReet CDX-2175 in the US; DiscReet M 5-D 2175
- 8-track (Warner/DiscReet no-cover-art issue)
- Quadraphonic vinyl (Warner Bros / DiscReet
DS4-2175 (CD4 format), 1974)
- Quadraphonic tape (DiscReet DIS L9D-2175 (Q8 format))
- Quadraphonic reel-to-reel tape (?)
- French & German vinyl (DiscReet 59201 (?))
- Italian vinyls (Discreet K 59201,
1974, & W 59201, 1975?)
- Spanish vinyl (Reprise HRES 291-61, 1974, distributed by Hispavox; square
Reprise logo on back cover)
- German vinyl (WEA DiscReet 59201-Z)
- Dutch vinyl (DiscReet DIS 59 201 Y, matrix number 31690)
- Swedish vinyl? (DiscReet DS 2175)
- Japanese vinyl (DiscReet P-8467D, white-label
promo also reported)
- Greek vinyl (Warner Brothers Greek label 59201, 1974)
- Russian vinyl (30271?)
- Russian vinyl with Over-Nite Sensation cover (n93-00700 ATR 30272,
- Taiwanese vinyl (possibly unauthorised, with Chinese print on the back cover and labels)
- Argentine vinyl (MusicHall 50-14.113 - Warner Brothers WB 14113 white-label promos also
- Uruguayan vinyl (Cave label (Warner Brothers WB 113035 also suggested))
- Brazilian vinyl
- Australian vinyl (DiscReet DS 2175, 1974)
- New Zealand vinyl (DiscReet RS 2175, 1974, black & white back cover)
- US vinyl re-issue (DiscReet DSK 2289 (?), 1977, brown Reprise label!)
- The Old Masters vinyl (Barking Pumpkin BPR 9999-4,
December 1987) (uses the remix?)
- Original CD, coupled with Over-Nite
Sensation (Ryko RCD40025 in the US, September 1986;
Zappa Records CDZAP18 in the UK,
March 1990; VACK 5034 in Japan; Ryko D31036 in Australia, 1990; JPCD 9707412 DORA in
Russia.) (uses the remix)
- Zappa Records cassette (TZAPPA18) (uses the remix)
- Minidisc, coupled with Over-Nite
Sensation (Ryko RMD40025) (uses the remix)
- 1995 CD (Ryko RCD 10519, April 18 1995; VACK 5108 in
Japan, renumbered 5243 in 1998; also in a BMG Record
Club version (1086362))
- 1995 cassette (Ryko RAC 10519, April 18 1995; also in a BMG
Record Club version (1086362)) (uses the remix)
- Audiophile Au20 gold CD (Ryko RCD 80519, July 2 1996; VACK 5285 in Japan)
- "1998 CD" (Ryko RCD 10519, 1998?)
- Japanese paper-sleeve CD (Ryko/VACK 1218,
October 24 2001 - lyric sheet insert) (uses the remix)
Issues (by version)
- Original Vinyl Mix: All LP versions, except (perhaps...we're not
sure) for the Old Masters LP. All cassettes prior to TZappa18. Ryko Au20 CD,
and mispressed versions of the Ryko 1995 CD.
- Quadraphonic mix: Quadraphonic
Tape and LP.
- Remix derived from Quadraphonic mix: Old Masters LP
(maybe...can someone confirm?), Ryko two-fer CD, Zappa Records two-fer CD, and
Ryko 1995 CD; also, all cassettes since TZappa18.
And on the weird side, parts of this album seem to have been issued in Poland as a set
of flexi-disc postcards.
DIFFERENT FROM: the original CD and most runs of the 1995 CD
IDENTICAL TO: the Au20 gold CD and specific runs of the 1995
CD ("1998 CD")
From Anzoh Hay:
Only this evening, after owning Apostrophe (') for 21 years, I
discovered that on the label of the record it's spelled "A'POS! TRO'PHE(!)".
On the Ryko '95 reissue it's not there anymore.
(Also, the "Produced, arranged and struggled with" credit from
the vinyl is only in the booklet of the 1995 CD package,
not on the back cover which only has "Produced". The vinyl, however,
does of course not have the credit "Credit, humorous, circa 1974"
which was added for the Old Masters re-release and kept on CDs.)
From Juha Sarkkinen:
Some of the original US LPs included a biography as an attachment.
I have A'pos! tro'phe(!)'s
first USA edition with DiscReet numbers, but Reprise label. The number on the
label and on the sleeve cover is DSK (2234? - maybe I'm wrong, because I haven't
the record with me today), but around the label there is an MS2175 number, but
it is striked out. A DSK number is around the label too.
MIKAEL AGARDSSON: According to Torchum
#4, there are Brazilian, Spanish, New Zealandic and Sweden issues with the
Reprise label, but it doesn't mention an American issue with Reprise label.
Personally, I think it's a re-issue, not an original.
GOOD KING ZOG: Both Apostrophe (') & Overnite
Sensation were re-issued in 1977 on the brown-coloured Reprise label. I have
the re-issue of Overnite Sensation, which
is the same as the original pressing in all respects, except for the Reprise
label & different catalogue number of DSK 2288. I don't have the 1989 Goldmine
article (where these are mentioned) handy, but you'd think that Apostrophe
(') bore the catalogue of DSK 2289 (?) ...
(The front cover started out slightly different, but that version wasn't released. Read all about it in the Weirdo
There are at least two different vinyl issues of Apostrophe (') from
1) Discreet K 59201, 1974: The label is headlined "A'POS !
TRO'PHE (!)" and has "MADE IN ITALY BY DISCHI RICORDI S.p.A."
The stamped matrix number has (beside the catalogue number) "28/2/74".
The back cover has "DISTRIBUZIONE DISCHI RICORDI S.p.A. MADE IN ITALY".
Lyric sheet included.
2) Discreet W 59201, 1974 (1975 ?): The label is headlined "APOSTROPHE'"
and has "MADE IN ITALY BY WEA ITALIANA". The stamped matrix number
has (beside the catalogue number) "12/7/75". The back cover has
"Made and distributed in Italy by Wea Italiana S.p.A. Milano". The
cover is printed by La Grafica Cremonese, Italy. There is no lyric sheet
included (with my copy, but I bought it used).
The labels of both issues say (P) 1974, but I think that the matrix number
From Harry de Swart:
My LPs of Apostrophe (') and The Grand Wazoo
have a German sleeve (made in Germany by Kinney Music), but have a Dutch
label (made in Holland by NV Negram-Haarlem), and that's the way I bought them.
From Peter Íberg:
I have an odd vinyl issue of Apostrophe ('), with a brown Reprise
label and lyrics on the inner sleeve. The cover says "manufactured in US. DS
2175" but also "SIB tryck Tumba", so at least the cover is printed in
Sweden. But the weird thing is that this Apostrophe (') has a Reprise
label - all other editions I've seen have the yellow DiscReet label. So this
was on DiscReet but probably distributed by Reprise.
From Mikael Agardsson:
The special thing about this issue is the lyric sheet, which is unique. OK, mine is a
promo edition, but the regular version would have to have the lyric sheet too? All the
illustrations were made by Yasauo Yagi.
This lyric sheet is shock-full of really weird illustrations. Each song is illustrated
with a big drawing or in comic-strip form.
From Graham Halliday:
It has a paper & plastic cover, colour front, black & white back, no
spine, blue & silver label credited to FRAN ZAPPA [sic], the sound quality
is great, about the same as the original, I have the I think Australian/American
one. It also has no mention of DiscReet except the carvings of catalogue numbers
where it is exactly hte same just with the new # on it, so it appears to be the
exact same pressing, it does skip a bit every once in a while, slightly wonky,
also about 1 cm smaller the normal one.
Also, the front cover is slightly different - the picture is "zoomed
in" a little bit more.
From Michael J Popil:
[DiscReet CDX-2175] Pu***ased in Vancouver approximately 1980 ... The
cassette version has no guitar solo in "Stinkfoot". Sides 1 and
2 follow album sequence.
Quadraphonic sound was a four-channel sound system which never caught on and was soon
abandoned. As of July 2000, we have a great
article by the Duke of Prunes on the quad versions of both Apostrophe (') and
Over-Nite Sensation which straightens out
most of the question marks around. For a brief summary, the Duke says that
- there are no substantive musical differences between the quad version and
the 1995 CD, but
- the vinyl and Au20/1998 CDs have a different edit, which could be called
substantively different (the Duke is just being precise);
- the 1995 CD is probably a stereo mixdown of the quad release;
- Zappa used quad sparingly to subtle effect, except in a few obvious
- the mixes are definitely true quad mixes. [full
article - recommended reading!]
And from Daevid:
I had 8-tracks of both [albums]. Listening to the rear channels only, you
could hear some of the music, but mostly backing vocals isolated to one or two
singers. I guess those were the Ikettes. I couldn't hear rear vocals on the
front channels. So, rather than saying the rear channels were ambience only, I
say they held a lot of unique pieces of the music.
Remix (derived from the Quadraphonic mix)
Since at least the Rykodisc two-fer reissue in 1986, the primary
version of Apostrophe on CD has been a remix, likely derived from the
quadraphonic mix. This remix has shown up on three different CDs (and
maybe the Old Masters vinyl), as well as on associated cassettes. While
originally thought to be an easy, cut-and-dried case, it turns out that all
three versions of the remix sound very different.
First, the major differences of the remix:
- In general, the CD mix has an "airier" feel
Zappa's vocals have
some reverb on them. This can be
heard in "Cosmik Debris", "Nanook Rubs It", and a few other places.
[Edit: This reverb varies depending on the release]
- As stated elsewhere, there is an extra measure in the CD mix of "Yellow
'sides that, the mixes on that and "Nanook Rubs It" seem
to be quite similar.
- Also as stated elsewhere, "Excentrifugal Forz" is mixed a bit
differently on the CD. This is most obvious during the instrumental
introduction, which features a less prominent violin and a more prominent
- "Uncle Remus" is mixed very oddly on the LP. The remix spaces the
elements out a bit, and also snips a portion out of the ending guitar solo.
Biffy the Elephant Shrew discusses "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" and
... in "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow", Zappa sings "Dreamed I was an
Eskimo", then there is one measure (in 7/8 time) of guitar spewage, followed by the
two-bar instrumental riff alone, followed by a repeat of the riff with the
"doop-doop-do-do-do" vocal over it, then the next lyric line. The stereo LP (and the gold CD, which uses the original LP master) does not include the instrumental riff
between the spewage and the "doop-doop" (so it's actually two bars we're talking
about, unless you count the song in 7/4).
[Those extra bars in "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" appeared as early as on the
4-channel Quadraphonic version in the 1970s.]
The last lyric line [in "Uncle Remus"] ("Down in de dew") occurs in
bar 46. On the original version on the Apostrophe (') LP, Zappa solos for
approximately 11 further bars ("approximately" because it fades out in the
middle of a bar). The version on both the Ryko twofer CD and the 1995
reissue CD deletes bars 49 and 50 and also segues into
"Stinkfoot" more quickly
Three different CDs utilize this mix: the original Ryko two-fer CD, the Zappa
Records 1990 two-fer CD, and the Ryko 1995 reissue CD. All have slightly
different variations on the remix, and sound quite different. Details are given
[For those who are audiologically inclined, here's a
quick MP3 sample of three different versions of
the remix. The first clip is the Ryko two-fer, the second is the Zappa Records
two-fer, and the third is the standard 1995 CD].
The original Rykodisc CD version of Apostrophe ('), released in the US
in 1986, was coupled with Over-Nite Sensation - two albums on one CD. This was
the remixed version of Apostrophe ('). Some artwork from the vinyl was apparently also missing, but this was restored on the 1995 re-issue.
As with the other 1986 Rykodisc Zappa releases, Apostrophe (')/Over-Nite
Sensation was mastered very quietly, and takes advantage of about half of
the possible dynamic range. James Lee Robinson elaborates:
Is it just me or is the sound quality of the Apostrophe (') / Over-Nite Sensation disc substandard? Is is just
because it is mastered at a lower volume than other discs (for example Make a Jazz Noise Here)? I noticed this through having my disc
changer shuffle a 6-pack of Zappa, and this disc suffered noticably. Anyone else bugged by
this? How does the LP version sound? Any other re-releases with the same
From Vladimir Sovetov:
Yes, the sound volume of my Apostrophe (') /Over-Nite Sensation Ryko disc is also noticeably lower
than volume of my other CDs. Freak Out!, Chunga,
Zoot Allures etc. The sound volume of the '
LP (I still have one) seems to be as good as of my One Size Fits All
and Weasels Ripped My Flesh LPs.
In 1990, a Zappa Records version of the two-albums-on-one-CD package debuted
in Europe. It sports a few differences in artwork (in particular, the front
cover announces a "U.M.R.K Digital Remix," as do some other CDs in this Zappa
Records series) and is not the same as the Ryko disc. There is less
reverb on this version, much different EQ, and the overall presentation is
louder; listen to the mp3 sample above for a comparison
between the three versions of the remix.
The lack of reverb on this disc would normally make it the "preferred"
version of the remix on CD. Unfortunately, the Zappa Records version also
introduces the "bad-batch" glitches, including a wavering stereo image and
an inconsistent right channel, and some odd digital clipping. Some tracks are
worse than others (e.g. Cosmik Debriz). Tread lightly.
The only Zappa albums that ever came out on the minidisc format were
Over-Nite Sensation coupled with Apostrophe
(') (on one disc), and it's just like the original CD,
but in minidisc quality, which is worse, because the disc is so small that the audio data
has to be compressed to fit on it, with a lossy compression scheme. Presumably,
this uses the 1986 Ryko digital master.
Ryko 1995 CD Reissue
Ryko's 1995 CD reissue uses the remix of Apostrophe; it also restores
some artwork. Sound-wise, it's closer to the original Ryko
CD than to the Zappa Records CD. There is one
major difference: thanks either to the EQ used on this disc or some extra
processing, it sounds like there's even more digital reverb on this disc. Check the
MP3 link above to hear the difference.
AT SOME POINT, the master used to create the standard 1995 CD was
briefly swapped with the master used to create the audiophile,
Au20 gold disc, which uses to the vinyl mix. We used to have a whole
guide here about how to tell the difference between issues, but there were
so many exceptions (mostly involving matrix numbers) that we've dropped the
discussion. See below for a write-up on the Au20 disc.
(The people who discovered that there were two different versions of the 1995 CD were
David G., Biffy the Elephant Shrew and Bill Harper. Respect! Other
people involved were Ryan Davenport and Dan Watkins. Charlies Ulrich told me it
had reverted back to the remix.)
PS: In May 2000, Cal Schenkel had been in touch with Ryko, I think, and had this
Nobody seems to know anything about the Au20 swap, SO DON'T EVER MENTION
Audiophile Au20 Gold CD
IDENTICAL TO: the vinyl and some runs of the 1995 CD
DIFFERENT FROM: the original CD and early runs of the 1995 CD
Ryko issued Apostrophe (') and One Size Fits All,
in "limited" (numbered) editions, as expensive audiophile gold CDs - the
discs used gold instead of aluminum. You may want to argue that gold itself would not
make a compact disc sound that much better, but both discs were made from improved master
tapes and sound much better (on good equipment). The gold may be mostly a
gimmick to warrant the higher price necessitated by the major time and effort spent to
prepare an extremely good master. The master used for this CD was of the original
vinyl mix, not the remix that was on the original
CD, the Zappa Records CD, and the most runs of the 1995 CD. Some time after this gold
CD came out, Ryko switched to using this same master for new runs of their 1995 CD.
From Pieter van Vollenhoven:
The Au20 CD was mastered from the original dolby A master tapes. Playback was through a
specially enhanced Ampex ATR-102 using audio cards by J. Musgrave and courtesy of the
Complex [?] recording studios. No equalization, compression, limiting or any
other "enhancement" of any kind was added during the transfer.
The analog-to-digital conversion was done through a dB technologies AD122 converter in
the 20-bit mode, directly to the hard disk of the Sonic Solutions digital mastering
Once edited in the final form the program was transferred through the Sony
super-bitmapping process integrated into the sonic system. This noise-shaping process
allows the music to be captured in 16 bits while maintaining the optional signal to noise
equivalent of 20 bits. This superbitmapped master was then used in the production of the
From Michael Nickel:
Has anybody noticed that the cover of the two Au20 gold versions have exact
the same booklets as the regular Ryko versions? (Take a look at the booklet
glitch on gold CD
DAN WATKINS: I was listening to my Au20 CD of Apostrophe (yeah,
screw anyone who bought the regular CD after the Au20 switch) and noticed
something weird right at the beginning of "Cosmik Debris". Right
before the 00:01 mark, there's a weird tape warp or something. I compared this
to the '95 CD, and it isn't there. Anyone else notice
this? I'm sure that this isn't something that just happened on my CD.
ZOMBY WOOF: Please detail the symptom ... is it like a "this
tape has been eaten" sound?
DAN WATKINS: Yeah, it's like the speed changes for a quick
nanosecond. I've never noticed this on any other copy of the album. I went
back and checked the LP, and I don't hear it
there either. Maybe it's just the way that guitar note is played, and the
clarity of the Au20 CD is letting me hear it for the first time? I don't know.
It just sounds kind of funny.
BIFFY THE ELEPHANT SHREW: I finally got around to checking this.
Yep, it's there.
LEWIS SAUL: I don't hear it. What are you talking about? I hear
George laughing at the end of "O'Blivion" and then
"Cosmik" kicks in - I don't hear any tape warp.
LEWIS SAUL (A LITTLE LATER): Never mind. I hear it now. Weird.
Japanese Paper-Sleeve Version (2001-2002)
Starting in 2001, Video Arts Music released a limited-edition series (2000
copies each) of Zappa CDs in
paper sleeves - miniature LP sleeves. There was nothing special about this
series other than the covers, which were very well done - inserts and
"bonuses" were reproduced, the albums that originally had gatefold
covers got little miniature gatefolds, and cover track lists were exactly as on
the corresponding LPs, even in cases where the CD has bonus tracks or a
different track order. Included in this series were some entries that never had
"proper" LP issues, i.e. Läther. Additionally, some rarities--like the "green/gold"
cover of Chunga's Revenge--were reproduced as special items in this run.
We need to stress that the sound quality of these discs matches the US
Ryko issues, which they are clearly derived from. These are collectors
items, not new remastered editions.
LATE-2005-UPDATE: Ryko USA has apparently been importing the overstock
of these releases to sell as domestic "special editions," causing the
speculators who paid top dollar for the entire collection to hari-kari
themselves. This includes some of the discs that, as of August 2005, were pretty
hard to find ("Money" and others).
Paul Christie writes:
I can report that the Japanese paper sleeve edition of Apostrophe is
not the AU20 mix - I have both, and there are substantial differences
between the mixes, including the different track lengths etc. The
Japanese version is the same as the widely available current Ryko
- Any points to make about the Old Masters version?
- Any details on the Russian CD?
- Was there an MS2175 vinyl?
- Can someone confirm that all "modern-era" cassettes use the remix?
- Biffy the Elephant Shrew
- Victor Dubiler
- Steve Jones
- Christof Ha▀linger
- Patrick Neve, Dave P Jones (Russian LP)
- Douglas Miller, Australia