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 Post subject: Francesco Zappa!
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 12:09 pm 
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I for one have always loved this album :D

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 Post subject: Re: Francesco Zappa!
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 12:18 pm 
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jimmie_d used to say he liked to play it to his family during Christmas evening...

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 Post subject: Re: Francesco Zappa!
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 12:20 pm 
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I can see why! (Shit, that's not why he got banned is it? :) )

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 Post subject: Re: Francesco Zappa!
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:12 am 
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Mr_Green_Genes wrote:
jimmie_d used to say he liked to play it to his family during Christmas evening...


I do that too. With a nice fire going in the fireplace and the kids playing board games....It's perfect.

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 Post subject: Re: Francesco Zappa!
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:52 am 
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The_Acadian_2 wrote:
Mr_Green_Genes wrote:
jimmie_d used to say he liked to play it to his family during Christmas evening...


I do that too. With a nice fire going in the fireplace and the kids playing board games....It's perfect.

But what's about the other people in the world (who maybe have neither a fireplace nor children) :?:
I have to admit belonging to the people, who like nearly every album of FZ. There is only really few stuff I have problems with, for example: Francesco Zappa. It was the last album from the back-catalogue I bought, when I already had all the others. I ask myself: Is there really more content then the joke with the name? FZ was well reputated as someone who was completely bored by old music (and hated orchestras playing always the same classical stuff instead of todays composers). I remember a statement like: This was a contemporary of Mozart, that shows you, that also at that time some people had hits and others not (maybe someone here can quote this correctly). So I think it is a similar thing as quoting Louie Louie all over the decades or playing coverversions of "the really big" rocksongs. But in this case the joke (or ironical construction, if you prefer) has albumlength and it really needs a lot of patience (or maybe intellectual capability?) to enjoy it. Maybe people "with a musical education" can find "secret clues" or musical quotes inside this versions (but I don't believe). And the used sounds of the synclavier also don't astound me (compared to Jonestown on perfect stranger for example). They remind me of the sounds of videogames from the 80s or a cheap electronic organ for children. I always have the suspicion, FZ learned using the synclavier with this and forces us to hear him practicing. Maybe I simply don't know this album long enough to appreciate it? It is the only 100%-synclavier-album, I love the words of David Ocker and the artwork as well as 1 or 2 pieces, but I'm still bored hearing it in its entirety. Maybe someone can help me with this one?
:?

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 Post subject: Re: Francesco Zappa!
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:10 pm 
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ursinator wrote:
The_Acadian_2 wrote:
Mr_Green_Genes wrote:
jimmie_d used to say he liked to play it to his family during Christmas evening...


Maybe someone can help me with this one?
:?


I think only you can do that

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 Post subject: Re: Francesco Zappa!
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:23 pm 
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thenoisydrum wrote:
ursinator wrote:

Maybe someone can help me with this one?
:?


I think only you can do that

I'm still working on it. But I am also desperately interested in other opinions. If this thread wasn't already existing, I would have opened it. Cause I have problems with this album, it interests me the more.

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 Post subject: Re: Francesco Zappa!
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:27 pm 
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I think there is no foul play, no forcing down any throats, we must take it as it is. I agree much with your description of its sound. Same here, one of the last CDs from the back catalogue I bought...

But there is this contradictory Zappa side, and I think besides the joke name, he must have enjoyed the compositions as they are, somehow in a way to motivate him, amidst dozens of different projects, to produce the album... Even though he fires at classical music, I am sure he was familiar with much of it and could appreciate the good things in it. Only a moron cannot appreciate some of the fugues by Bach, and Zappa is not nearly close to my conception of a moron... He got off on a different sphere of music (hey, listening to Boulez right now!), but he used elements from all musical worlds, "straight" classical no less...

I think it is fun, even though I rarely listen to it and if I am not familiar with all the melodies in the way I am with most of Zappa's "more straight" compositions... It shows how bold he was with his projects, I am sure he projected it would not he on his regular fan top ten list. And yes, I also agree with the idea that he was practising with the Synclavier. Thanks god, for if you look Francesco Zappa-> Jazz From Hell->CPIII there were great leaps in timbre and sound qualities with the Synclavier. :random speculation: Maybe if he had not gone through FcZ he would not achieved the mastery he had by the time he passed away... :/end random speculation:

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 Post subject: Re: Francesco Zappa!
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 2:06 pm 
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Mr_Green_Genes wrote:
..., we must take it as it is.

Indeed.
We can also imagine the music played by real musiciens for example. Then it could have been something like the Mozart-piece on You can't...5, that I consider as pure parody: making fun of a piece of music just by playing it absolute correctly. I would prefer this sight in contrary of FZ being a (even slight) connoiseur of baroque-music (even he maybe liked this or that: you named Bach). I think the coincidental case of an ancient composer with the same name has more wight in this project than whatever music this 1st Signore Zappa wrote, FZ had no big choice here. So I think: We just have to listen to this stuff, cause the composer was called Zappa! If Francesco had lived 100 years later and the music had been more advanced, FZ would maybe have done it the same way, but with music 100 years younger. I think he was interested in old music only in a historical way, he also knew always a lot of the contemporary Pop-music, I think he didn't like much of it, but he knew it. It was part of his work understanding the development of music history as well as knowing hold the line by Toto. FZ often played music that he actually not really liked and often put a lot of work in it. This is maybe just the most extreme case. I think this album is some kind of concept-art (anything, anytime...), I don't believe Zappa liked Zappa.

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 Post subject: Re: Francesco Zappa!
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 2:47 pm 
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Yeah, in fact.

I agree with the meta-art concept (AAAFNRAA)...

I just thought about choosing the best track and ask this duo to perform an arrangement of it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mP_n7L413Lg

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 Post subject: Re: Francesco Zappa!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 1:15 am 
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Maybe it is better, when they go ahead with Bartók...

Another possible clue could be a relation to switched on Bach by Wendy Carlos from 1968. I don't know the album, it is Bach performed entirely on synthesizers without human players. It is reported also to sound a little bit like cheap electronic toys, so maybe FrancescoZ could be a quote of this album, just by the use of the cheap sounds. switched on Bach must have been very influential on the rockmusic of that time, cause it demonstated absoluteley new possibilities in the production of music and made the moog-synthesizer very popular. Maybe FZ wanted to show something similar with the then new gained possibilities by the digital devices in the early eighties.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switched-On_Bach

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 Post subject: Re: Francesco Zappa!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 12:58 am 
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I don't see the problem here. Francesco Zappa is no more a Frank Zappa album than Perfect Stranger is a Pierre Boulez album. When I listen to Francesco Zappa I don't think of it as a Frank Zappa album and I'm not concerned that it would somehow compromise my status as a Frank Zappa fan if I didn't like it. It's okay, and I play it once in a blue moon, but if those pieces were actually Frank Zappa's compositions, they would be some of my least favourite from his repertoire. You don't have to like it if you don't want to.

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 Post subject: Re: wendy carlos
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:29 pm 
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ursinator wrote:
Another possible clue could be a relation to switched on Bach by Wendy Carlos from 1968. I don't know the album, it is Bach performed entirely on synthesizers without human players.

it was done on a moog synthesizer. long before polyphonic keyboards were available.

when this album was released, wendy was still walter. he had a sex change operation some years later.
it's a good album. a bit of a novelty these days for some, perhaps.

well, yeah, maybe zappa had 'switched-on bach' in the back of his mind, when he came up with the idea for 'francesco zappa'.

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 Post subject: re: francesco zappa
PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:39 pm 
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polydigm wrote:
...Francesco Zappa is no more a Frank Zappa album than Perfect Stranger is a Pierre Boulez album. When I listen to Francesco Zappa I don't think of it as a Frank Zappa album ...
classic zappa move to release an album like francesco for any number of reasons;

  1. the name alone created a subconcious personal connection to a real person who lived 200 years ago, and the person happened to be a fellow musician
  2. after a huge investment in time/cash, and fucking around on the syncalvier for a while he decides to put out an album since the material exists, no musicians to deal with, probably not a lot of engineering & production required compared to any other of his albums, so what the fuck, put it out & see what happens ... francesco was released the same time as 3 other albums in a 3-4-month stretch, he didn't care about market saturation, just put it out
  3. the chance to put evelyn on the cover again, the chance to say his first digital recording in over 200 years, and who gets this one ? ... the modified dog on the cover provides some continuity to them or us & perfect stranger
  4. one more musical category under his belt, totally different from anything else he'd done, essentially different than anything anyone else had done, equivalent to considering: what other rock musician puts out albums of their own guitar solos extracted from their own live performances ¿ ... what other rock musician poots forth an album like francesco¿
  5. thing-fish, them or us & perfect stranger are as musically strong as francesco is musically weak; more continuity from a negative dialectical angle
  6. perfect for some of the tamer classical radio stations, give it some air time, get his name out there [not likely]

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 Post subject: Re: Francesco Zappa!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 12:37 am 
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I think Francesco, Fillmore East, and DHBIM are the only Zappa originals (not counting one or two posthumous releases that I am on the precipice of buying) that I don't have. FE and DHBIM are on my 'to buy' list also.
I see the joke with Francesco but I don't want to invest £15 on it.
If I want delightful 'old guy' music I have plenty of other options.

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 Post subject: Re: Francesco Zappa!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:24 am 
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In business, there's an idea known as a Proof Of Concept.

When someone is trying to sell you a large, expensive piece of equipment, you need some confidence that it can do what you want it to do. The easiest way is to hire a consultant who knows the equipment, give him a relatively simple project that'll take a day or two, and then watch him do it. The project will cost you a couple thousand dollars, but at the end you'll be in a much better position to decide whether you should buy the equipment.

I really think this is what happened with Francesco Zappa. And I believe the project became a CD out of that great Zappa tradition of trying to make projects pay for themselves. All he had to do was sell a couple thousand copies, and the Proof Of Concept was basically free.

Besides: this is about as close as we'll ever get to a Zappa Christmas Album...

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 Post subject: Re: Francesco Zappa!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:34 am 
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He was a composer who flourished between 1766 and 1788. Nobody knows when he was born or when he died. He was a cello player from Milan and wrote mostly string trios. I found out about his music and located a bunch of it in the Berkeley Library and the Library of Congress. My assistant loaded it into the Synclavier and now we have a whole album of synthesized performances. He was a contemporary of Mozart. It's kind of happy, Italian-sounding music. It's nice, and real melodic. It's interesting, too; he does a few strange things harmonically that seem to be slightly ahead of his time -- a few little weird things. Basically, it's typical of music of that period, except it doesn't sound typical when it comes out of the Synclavier.

Frank Zappa (Interview 1984)

http://wiki.killuglyradio.com/index.php/Francesco_Zappa


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 Post subject: Re: Francesco Zappa!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 12:05 pm 
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I love Francesco! It's cute music! Thing is it's so different from any Zappa music you just need to listen to it with a very different setting... Most music has it's own peculiarities... it's own perfect way of listening to it... whether it's while dancing, while doing exercises, while driving, while lying on your back staring at the ceiling, while drawing... I like to listen to Francesco as a little wallpaper when doing the laundry or something. But to concentrate on, no. That's how it's different from Frank: you can pay real close attention to any FZ note without losing interest. Not with Francesco.

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 Post subject: Re: re: francesco zappa
PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:42 pm 
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slime.oofytv.set wrote:
polydigm wrote:
...Francesco Zappa is no more a Frank Zappa album than Perfect Stranger is a Pierre Boulez album. When I listen to Francesco Zappa I don't think of it as a Frank Zappa album ...
classic zappa move to release an album like francesco for any number of reasons;
I did buy it and I certainly don't regret it and I've already considered all the reasons you mention. But, it's still the music of Francesco Zappa, not Frank Zappa.

Quilt wrote:
I see the joke with Francesco but I don't want to invest £15 on it.
If I want delightful 'old guy' music I have plenty of other options.
If it ends up being the only one you haven't got, you will buy it, for at least one of the reasons Slime mentions above, or just for the fact that Frank had something to do with it.

MentalTossFlycoon wrote:
In business, there's an idea known as a Proof Of Concept. All he had to do was sell a couple thousand copies, and the Proof Of Concept was basically free.
It could be simply that mercenary, but I'm still very happy to own it.

MentalTossFlycoon wrote:
Besides: this is about as close as we'll ever get to a Zappa Christmas Album...
Ho ho ho!!

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Last edited by polydigm on Sat Oct 24, 2009 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:31 pm 
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ursinator wrote:
... I ask myself: Is there really more content then the joke with the name? ...
    mofz ¿

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 Post subject: Re: Francesco Zappa!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 7:35 am 
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This album has special meaning to me. I started listening to zappa through CDs and I have almost all of them. However, I never managed to get Francesco until a few days ago on vinyl. My vinyl collection is slowly growing, but this is the first Zappa album I heard on vinyl before any other media.
I wish i could have had this "vinyl first" experience with other albums while you get the sounds Frank created on the synclavier, its not his music. But i must say, i love the cover art, especially the little drawing of the guy using a shotgun as a bow for his cello.


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 Post subject: Re: Francesco Zappa!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 7:46 am 
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To begin, I don't like the album much (only have it on vinyl, so I can't currently do an update listen).

But I have a question: I think there were tracks with Chad doing overdubs. Is that correct, or are the drums all over the album? Or is my memory way off?

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 Post subject: Re: Francesco Zappa!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 2:52 pm 
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HJ wrote:
To begin, I don't like the album much (only have it on vinyl, so I can't currently do an update listen).

But I have a question: I think there were tracks with Chad doing overdubs. Is that correct, or are the drums all over the album? Or is my memory way off?


Hmm, I've never heard that, although with so much of his music, there's a lot to be learned.


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 Post subject: Re: Francesco Zappa!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 7:35 pm 
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HJ wrote:
I think there were tracks with Chad doing overdubs. Is that correct, or are the drums all over the album? Or is my memory way off?
Is this one of your subtle jokes? If you're serious, then there are no drums on the album. Composers back in those days used very little if any percussion let alone drum kits.

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 Post subject: Re: Francesco Zappa!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:40 am 
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For those of you who have tasted Francesco's blood and want more:

The New Dutch Academy just released Zappa Symphonies, premiering some of Francesco's work (and it has some Mozart, Graaf and Schwindl).
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