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Frank Zappa - Lumpy Gravy CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.22 | 361 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
3 stars Although all the albums by The Mothers Of Invention are unfairly billed to FRANK ZAPPA as a solo artist these days, LUMPY GRAVY is the first true solo release that FRANK created during his spare time while simultaneously recording and touring with The Mothers. Unlike anything released before or after this is a strange album of orchestral, electric and music concrete with snippets of this and snippets of that all strewn together along with some serious period dialogue that is a great way to hear how the underground types spoke in 1967. Due to legal restrictions ZAPPA only conducted the orchestra because he wasn't allowed to actually play anything. Technically this is a concept that is supposed to tie in with the posthumously released "Civilization Phaze III" which was all recorded at the same time as "We're Only In It For The Money."

This strange avant-garde album was heavily influenced by John Cage and Edgar Varese musically but there is also some surf rock at the end. Basically there are two sound collage tracks where snippets of music trade off with strange noises, bursts of avant-garde sonic enthusiasm and dialogue between apparently stoned 60s counterculture types who seem to muse over strange quandaries and crack themselves up in the process. The album is one that i wrote off in the beginning as too weird like many others probably have but after exposing myself to the world of abstract classical music and more of ZAPPA's stranger albums i have to say that this one has grown on me past the point of being a collector's item only.

Although this will never be a daily listening experience it has some interestingly bizarre stuff going on that can deliver a new experience with every listen. I prefer to pull this out every couple of years just because it really does have a musical vibe unlike anything else i've heard. It's only a half hour long so doesn't overstay its welcome. It displays a lot of ZAPPA traits, namely his influence from the 20th century classical world as well as his zany sense of humor and and desire to experiment. It also displays his workaholic tendencies and his ability to improvise his ideas around the demands of the record industry which would eventually frustrate him enough to start his own label. Good but not great. Definitely not the place to begin your ZAPPA journey!

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |


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