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Works of art that make us hear and see things in a new light

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by Darth_Pazuzu, Sep 4, 2007.

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  1. Darth_Pazuzu

    Darth_Pazuzu Jedi Padawan star 4

    Aug 3, 2005
    I recently bought the CD of a cult classic album called Trout Mask Replica. I had read many interesting and intriguing things about this disc in books and magazines over the years, so finally my curiosity was piqued enough to check out the disc myself. Has anyone else out there actually heard this disc? Trout Mask Replica was released in 1969 by Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band and produced by none other than Frank Zappa.

    So what is this album like? Believe me, it is weird! I suppose as a listening experience, it's the equivalent of watching a movie like David Lynch's Eraserhead, on one hand thinking perplexedly to yourself "What the hell is this?!" and at the same time finding it totally and utterly cool and fascinating.

    Captain Beefheart (whose real name is Don Van Vliet) has actually got a really cool singing voice, this wild, slightly deranged-sounding bluesman's voice. And the music performed by his band is this really strange, bizarre mixture of blues, avant-garde jazz, and God knows what else. And what makes the music even more amazing is that, even though it sounds utterly chaotic and random, it was actually fairly well-thought out and rehearsed in advance!

    Basically Trout Mask Replica seems to be a record made by someone totally hellbent on absolute originality at all costs, even if that means creating something that a great many people listening would have any sort of point of reference for! On one hand, this sort of approach is decidedly limiting in terms of popular appeal. But this album definitely ranks as a cult classic, and many people find the approach of Beefheart and his band of merry man very refreshing and original.

    I mean, yeah, I'd be lying through my teeth if I were to claim to have "got it" at this point in time, but I know I'll definitely be cranking this fascinating record again some time in the near future!

    Also, I recently purchased a new copy of an older book called Stranded: Rock and Roll for A Desert Island, edited by Greil Marcus. It's a collection of essays from rock writers and critics in which they review the one album that they would want to have with them if they ever got stranded on a desert island! And one writer, Langdon Winner, reviewed Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica. The book and the essay were first published in 1979, and Langdon Winner's essay in its entirety covers pages 58-70. Here's some of what he had to say about the disc:

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