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Frank Zappa - Jazz from Hell CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.43 | 254 ratings

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2 stars Frank, honey, what's got into ya?: 4/10

JAZZ FROM HELL is an oddball even for Frank Zappa. I'm not saying it sounds objectively strange - heck, that's Zappa's biggest quality -, but instead improper to the man's discography. You see, even Zappa's most maddened, insane compositions and releases were inspired and meaningful. Even his experimental rehearsals and templates or his most apparently nonsensical works (like the excerpts of the Uncle Meat movie). Sure, they're hard to digest, but it's clear they have a soul and a purpose. That's where JAZZ FROM HELL differs. Honestly, the album feels like it exists... because it does.

Of course, the concept behind creating music solemnly with that proto-computer is newsworthy, but when I say his Synclavier sounds mechanic and soulless, I'm referring to the apparent indifference Zappa demonstrates with this record, through his forgettable and uninspired tracks. Musically, JAZZ FROM HELL gets weary quickly. There's a shock value & hype of discovering this is a Synclavier album, but it rapidly exhausts. The unvaried Synclavier focus again and again eventually ends up feeling absolutely insipid. There's a cool, refreshing guitar solo, St. Etienne, but that's about it. Also, something regarding the aforementioned track bugs me. It's not like Zappa has ever cared for releasing albums with some sort of connection between the songs, but placing a live guitar solo within a sea of Synclavier tracks just depicts that blatant disregard with the album.

Honestly, I don't think Zappa cared about JAZZ FROM HELL. It was released four years after he began working with the Synclavier and so his abilities with it are pretty ripe (he even got a Grammy), but for as much time it is useful to develop your skills, it is also efficient on killing your creativity. That must have been it: after so long, Zappa had no creative mojo left. So, uninspired, he came with this.

Well, I'd be really disappointed if I had spent my money on this. If this is Zappa's state-of-art Synclavier music, that's just underwhelming. One could easily put on YouTube "G-Spot Tornado" and with brevity understand what Zappa took 34 minutes to express. In fact, I think that's what you should do.

Luqueasaur | 2/5 |


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