Gisteren was een geweldige dag, ten eerste ben ik lekker naar het kralingse bos geweest met Chica en ten tweede de meest belangrijke, na het ontvangen van een reserveringsmeeltje van de muziekbieb ben ik in het bezit gekomen van een nieuwe Zappa cd. Imaginary Diseases.
Steve Vai zegt er het volgende over:
Many have tried to define who Frank was as a creative entity, but everything he wrote, played, sang or said further defined him as exquisitely indefinable. Imaginary Diseases is yet another Zappa jewel that places his body of work for beyond any limitation of label or category. And that’s the way we like it.
Some of the pieces on Imaginary Diseases allow us to peer into the forever-tinkering nature of Frank’s creative muse. Sometimes he would work on a piece of music, release it at a certain point in its development, and then continue to work on it some more. I remember he once showed me 10 different chord re-harmonizations for “Twenty Small Cigars” — and even more for “Village of the Sun.”
Within the body of the fourth track on this album, “Farther O’Blivion,” we can hear elements and sketches from what ended up being parts of ‘The Steno Pool,” and more of them that became parts of “Greggery Peccary,” “Be-Bop Tango,” “Cucamonga,” as well as parts to possibly a number of other reconstructions that we may never discover. Although many of the mirrored reshapings of his audio delectables may never be identified, they none theless add to the “Conceptual Continuity” of Frank’s musical universe.
Frank is now celebrated as an artist of historical significance, and the future will see him thusly celebrated even more so. The documenting of musical history shows us that the future is not based by the musical trends of its past. Thank God.
As a guitar player who worked with Frank, I am fortunate to have played in several of his bands. I’ve transcribed countless hours of his guitarplaying, and have stood three feet from him onstage for many months of touring and watched him play an average of 1 1/2 hours of guitar solos each night.
Listening to his guitar work on this record further confirms that there is no limit to his improvisational ability to create instantaneous compositions on the instrument. He seems to never repeat himself, it always works, and it feels damn good.
If you’re a first-time listener of Frank’s music and you happened onto Imaginary Diseases, you might find yourself scratching your head and pondering, “Huh, I’ve never heard anything as diverse, musical and just plain fun as this.” You may even find yourself feeling a trifle disturbed about having been sold a bill of goods by corporate radio programming that rarely includes Frank’s music but instead shoves freeze-dried audio inspidity down your throat.
And if you are already a hardcore Frank fan, you’re far from alone. After listening to this album, you may find yourself scratching your head and pondering in disbelief how it is possible on God’s Grey Earth that there is this guy who passed away at the untimely age of 52 (young for a composer), who could very well be considered the most prolific artist in history, and whose body of work stands as a testament to the potential of human creative achievement, the style of which is utterly unclassifiable — only one of the many components that set Frank apart as a true genius.
And you, Zappa aficionado, after consuming his catalog for the past 30 (maybe even more like 40) years and fetishing every
little shining morsel of the gems he made available, perhaps you may even know more about those morsels than most others of your ilk. Ponder this:
He built a vault in his front yard and buried innumerable treasures like this one, and this plethora of unreleased recordings is so vast that even in the remainder of your own life (regardless of how old you are at the time you are reading this), you will never get to hear all of it.
And let’s also not forget the some 400 Synclavier works that are in various forms of completion, securely buried in digital bliss…
What the fuck, Frank?
Just maybe you are someone who has been so touched by Frank’s work that you wish you could grab him by the shoulders and say, “Do you realize what you have done for me and the quality of my life? How could anyone have such a timeless, fathomless vision? Do you know that I love you?”
But then comes that bittersweet smack-in-the-face reminder that Frank had the audacity to leave us before we ever had the chance.
Jeez, the nerve.
Another listen, please — THIS TIME A LITTLE LOUDER,