“New York, New York” Zappa Style – KUR’s Halloween Mix

Christians have Christmas, Jews have Passover, and Muslims have the holy month of Ramadan. For a Zappa/Mothers freak like myself, though, no day in the calendar year is more important than Halloween. Frank Zappa and Halloween in New York City became a tradition onto itself in the 1970s and early 1980s. It’s no surprise that whenever he decided to release live albums and videos and DVDs, New York was the backdrop. If Los Angeles was his home, New York was his home away from home. It was where he seemed to let his hair down most, so to speak, and where he had the most fun with the freaks and denizens which were his fans.

To commemorate this particular Halloween, KUR-Meisters, I joined forces with the great Magic Fingers, and together we have compiled for you a massive Halloween mix entitled: “New York, New York” Zappa Style – KUR’s Halloween Mix.

Click here to listen to the mix.

“Happy Halloween, everybody!”

Yugen & Rock In Opposition

For as long as I have been a music listener, it has very often perplexed me that the music, and the artists, with which I listened to on an increasingly regular basis, and increasingly over the years and decades – artists such as Zappa, Beefheart, Henry Cow, Univers Zero, The Cardiacs, The Residents, etc. – never got radio play, or if they did, very little, and quite often outside the mainstream media of the time. So, it came as little surprise, at least to me, when a movement, Rock In Opposition, emerged in the late 70s promoting these elements:
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UG’s Semi-Orchestral Low Budget Memorial Barbecue

This month I have put together a special mixtape for Zappa/Mothers Die-Hards with many of my favorite instrumental, semi-orchestral, and orchestral Zappa works – many of which I’m mixing here for the first time – from some of the best of Zappa‘s individual bands to the Petit Wazoo Band to his Grand Wazoo Orchestra to The Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Orchestra to the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra to the Ensemble Modern to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to The Orchestra of Our Time to Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest & Cappella Amsterdam – punctuated with interviews by and about Zappa from Kent Nagano and David Ocker and Studs Terkel.
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Immaculate Voodoo Butter Mix – Part V: Encores

While compiling the prior four installments of this mix – I was intrigued by the sheer energy, vitality, and variation Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention brought to each of their show’s encores. Traditionally, Zappa‘s contemporaries might toss out an occasional song or two to satisfy their audience at the conclusion of a concert. In contrast, Zappa‘s encores would sometimes morph into mini-concerts onto themselves – the maestro and the band often returning for two, sometimes three encores. Something truly incredible to hear, especially when compounded one show after another, one tour after another, one incarnation of the band after another.

Listening to these encores – some a little over ten to twelve minutes in length, others almost a full hour – it’s obvious that Frank Zappa and the Mothers had a special connection with their audiences as well as to the music, itself.

A wonderful way to end the Immaculate Voodoo Butter Mix, n’est pas?

Click here to listen to the mixtape.

Sit back, get comfortable, slip those headphones-to-oblivion back on your head, and prepare yourself for a colossus of a final installment.

Note: for those who require a detail listing of individual tracks, go to KUR’s Frank Zappa Gig List and plug in the date and venue for each encore.

Immaculate Voodoo Butter Mix – Part IV

It’s that time of the month, fellow KUR-Meisters, when I dip into my personal, not-so-mythic, vault of Zappa field recordings to compile the latest KUR mix: the “Immaculate Voodoo Butter Mix – Part IV“. What is Part IV? Part IV is 200 tracks from the maestro’s last two touring bands, ’84 and ’88, beginning with a Rehearsal session from December 23rd, 1987. Why 200 tracks? 200 allows for the best performances of each respective tour to shine through…

Click here to listen to the mixtape. Enjoy!

Note: In the tradition of leaving the best for last, the fifth and final installment of the Immaculate Voodoo Butter Mix will arrive on July 15th, 2010.

Best FZ Covers – DZPZ & Eric Johnson’s “Carolina Hardcore Ecstasy” & “Muffin Man”

For those who think Dweezil Zappa Plays Zappa is a cold, “note-by-note” band, incapable of improvisation, I’m obviously not going to alter your view with a few posts, and neither would I endeavour to try. For those willing to look past original preconceptions, though, might be pleasantly surprised, as I was, when I dug deeper into this band.
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Frank Zappa’s Grand Wazoo EP, 1972

When Barry first emailed the link to the above excerpt from the bootleg EP of Frank Zappa and the Grand Wazoo Band‘s (mistakenly printed as Frank Zappa and the Petit Wazoo Orchestra on the front cover by the bootlegger) September 15th, 1972 performance at Deutschlandhalle in Berlin, West Germany, I was immediately thrust back in time to when I first purchased this very bootleg EP.
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Immaculate Voodoo Butter Mix – Part III

In the prior two installments of the Immaculate Voodoo Butter Mix, tracks focused on the improvisational abilities of Frank Zappa and those of the individual members of his various bands (through solos). In part three, though, I’ve focused primarily on Frank Zappa‘s guitar work. Track for track, from 1976 to 1984, Zappa is ripping hot, giving the musically educated listener an ongoing guitar workshop. For the non-musician, slip those headphones-to-oblivion back on and prepare yourselves for some sustained guitar therapy as only Frank Zappa can deliver.

Click here to listen to the mixtape.

Tunes, Treats & Torrents – Peach Noise

Ever so often a cover band comes along that absolutely impresses me with their ability to interpret Zappa’s compositions in fresh, bold new ways. The French cover band Peach Noise is one such band.
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Immaculate Voodoo Butter Mix — Part Two

Part Two will certainly be a treat for both new and old freaks alike. New freaks will get to hear some Zappa standards in entirely unique and often extended versions while old freaks are reminded just how much of a showcase these songs were – not only for Zappa’s virtuoso guitar ability, but for every musician that played in his various ensembles (in this case, 1975 to 1982). Albeit, some of these audience recordings are more raw and raunchy than others (sound drop-outs, cut-ins, cut-outs, tape flips — all of which I have left intact), I have chosen only those that showcase exceptional ability, technical and creative prowess, as well as historical and educational value.

That said, place your headphones to oblivion back on – raise the volume a notch or two – sit back, let Frank transport you into another place, another time…

Click here to listen to the mixtape.

Note: Part Three will be posted on or around May 15th, 2010.