Frank Zappa
Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger


5.0
classic

Review

by ElHombreChino USER (4 Reviews)
March 4th, 2021 | 21 replies


Release Date: 1984 | Tracklist

Review Summary: All material contained herein is for entertainment purposes only, and should not be confused with any other form of artistic expression.

In 1984 Pierre Boulez, notorious composer of cryptical classical avant-garde music unlistenable to most people, after hearing the soundtrack of Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels, decides that this is exactly the sound contemporary classical music needs at he moment and commissioned Zappa some music for the Ensemble Intercontemporain to play.

Zappa on his side already considers himself a classical composer and is thrilled to have at his disposal a professional ensemble of classical musicians directed by Boulez (which figured in the famous list of influences on the liner notes of Freak Out!).

The result is a recording titled Pierre Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger. In which three orchestra pieces (The title track, Naval Aviation in Art? and Dupree’s Paradise) are alternated to four Synclavier compositions (The Girl in the Magnesium Dress, Love Story, Outside Now Again and Jonestown)

Each one of the tracks is accompanied by a program note in which the action is described. Each one more ludicrous than the next. This album is Frank Zappa at his finest. On one side he’s presented as a serious classical composer directed by the most influential name on the scene, inserted on a concert alongside names of American avant-gardists as his idol Varèse, on the oder he mocks the entire classical scene and his rigidness by writing classical music about “Gypsy Mutant Vacuum Cleaner “and republican couples “attempting sex while break-dancing”.


user ratings (46)
3.1
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
ElHombreChino
March 4th 2021


63 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Here a mini-review to celebrate the end of my Master

ResidentNihilist
March 4th 2021


2050 Comments


According to park this guy's really obscure.

ResidentNihilist
March 4th 2021


2050 Comments


Seriously though review felt unfinished, enjoyed the background info but I didn't get a good idea of what this album sounds like or what makes it stand out.

ReefaJones
March 4th 2021


1771 Comments


As a huge Zappa fan I don't care about his classical phase at all.

ArsMoriendi
March 4th 2021


33699 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Not really what I look for in Zappa

Digging: Van Morrison - His Band and the Street Choir

GhandhiLion
March 4th 2021


11239 Comments


It wasn't a phase. He was composing since he was a teen

Digging: Janet Bean and the Concertina Wire - Dragging Wonder Lake

GhandhiLion
March 4th 2021


11239 Comments


Nice mini review

parksungjoon
March 4th 2021


29260 Comments


>Here a mini-review to celebrate the end of my Master


congrats

interesting choice as well

ReefaJones
March 4th 2021


1771 Comments


"It wasn't a phase"
Yes it was

"He was composing since he was a teen"
Yes he was


GhandhiLion
March 4th 2021


11239 Comments


huh that's contradictory

ReefaJones
March 4th 2021


1771 Comments


what's so hard to understand? Clearly he had a classical phase.

ReefaJones
March 4th 2021


1771 Comments


show me his pre 80s albums that are classical then

ReefaJones
March 4th 2021


1771 Comments


It's not contradictory. Just because he might have composed classical music quietly, not releasing it, doesn't mean that he didn't have a classical phase in his album run.

GhandhiLion
March 4th 2021


11239 Comments


I wasn't talking about albums. Most of the compositions on here were probably written when the Mothers was still a thing.

edit: ah I get you

ReefaJones
March 4th 2021


1771 Comments


what do you think I meant when I said that I don't care about his classical phase?

GhandhiLion
March 4th 2021


11239 Comments


That he only started composing in the 80s

LePsych
March 4th 2021


66 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good to see Zappa's non-rock music getting some attention on here. Review's a little on the short side though, you barely even tell what the album sounds like. Heck, there's not a single mention that it also features some of Zappa's earliest Synclavier experiments. And they are very good, moody and more approachable than what he'd end up doing in Jazz From Hell.



Not gonna knock down the review because of that, though.

Veldin
March 4th 2021


4343 Comments


Agreed that this mini review is mini, but I won't neg it, because the chances of this ever getting a proper review are slim. One of the few Zappa LPs I haven't jammed, because orchestral work is often beyond my comprehension. I dig other orchestral albums he's released including his incredible The Yellow Shark so perhaps I'll give this extra special album a shot. Absolutely love Naval Aviation in Art? and Durpree's Paradise from other releases, so maybe I'll find something to like about this.

LePsych
March 4th 2021


66 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

As far as Zappa's orchestral work goes, this is likely his most accessible. Heck, the two tracks you have named in your comment represent most of the strictly orchestral content of the album. The Perfect Stranger, Naval Aviation in Art? (whose rendition on this album i find really good as they play it on a slower tempo) and Dupree's Paradise are the only orchestral songs on there, the rest of the songs do remain in a similar orchestral vibe but instead are performed on a Synclavier instead of being played by an orchestra.



About all of the compositions in there keep the solemn and dark mood that The Yellow Shark has. It's also a much more digestible album in terms of length and number of tracks.

OmairSh
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2021


17554 Comments


Zappa review, nice!

Digging: Kauan - Ice Fleet



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