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Frank Zappa

Studio Tan (vinyl)

Review by Gary Hill

This Frank Zappa disc has some trademark sounds. I think the side long "Greggary Peccary" has quite a bit in common with the "...Yellow Snow..." suite from Apostrophe.  It's classic Zappa, really. The whole album works well, and delivers the exact kind of thing I expect from the man's music. Then again, with Zappa, I guess you should always expect the unexpected, and this does have some of that, too.

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Track by Track Review
Side I
Greggery Peccary

This cut is 20-minutes-and-40 seconds long. It's also bizarre and so much fun. It has a lot of classical music built into it. There are vocal sections that resemble cartoon voices along with more standard Zappa spoken vocals. The music has almost a cartoon soundtrack vibe at lot of the time. There are large patches of purely instrumental music built into this thing. This has so many twists and turns, at times turning more rock based. There are some classic Zappa trappings built into the track. There are even some bits of old school rock and roll, circus music and more. There is a journey into full jazz later, too. This thing is impossible to keep a bead on because it's constantly changing and reinventing itself.

Side II
Let Me Take You to the Beach

In stark contrast to the epic that preceded it, this track is less than three-minutes long. It's fast paced, playful and tastefully silly. The vocals are cartoon-like. This is entertaining and has some doo wop vocals in the mix at times.

Revised Music for Guitar & Low-Budget Orchestra
There is a real jazz music vibe to the start of this instrumental piece. It has angular twists and turns. The focus is largely on guitar and piano in the early portions. It turns more classical later, but it also gets more rocking and jazzy as it continues. The piece continues merging the various concepts at play as it works through. It's one heck of a ride.
Frantic progressive rock jamming brings this into being. It has trademark Zappaisms built into it, and shifts toward jazz with a piano dominated break. The piece keeps evolving from there. There is some scorching guitar soloing as it approaches the two-and-a-half-minute mark. We get some smoking hot piano playing later in a jazz-based movement.
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