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Frank Zappa - Studio Tan CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.70 | 254 ratings

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3 stars Lather's soap opera about a nocturnal, gregarious wild swine is just half the fun of "Studio Tan". "Greggary Peccary" is one of the few examples where ZAPPA's storytelling overshadows the music, certain to please anyone who still prays at the foot of "Billy the Mountain" (Billy and Ethel even make a brief cameo here). The gist of the story is a marketing executive who invents the calendar (and, thus, time), incurring the wrath of hunchmen (and hunchwomen). I suspect this was intended to be part of Hunchentoot, but that's just a hunch. The remaining songs offer a little something for everyone: the silly send-ups associated with Flo & Eddie ("Let Me Take You To The Beach") and the mutated classical/jazz/rock monsters of his early '70s masterpieces ("Burnt Weeny Sandwich" et al). It's an eclectic venture, which is to be expected when a nine-album opus is peeled off in single albums, but among the Lather litter this is some pig. Given what ZAPPA was releasing at the time, you're less likely to get burned with "Studio Tan" than a "Zoot Allures". It's not essential music, if only because fitting these pieces into the original puzzle calls for some historical revision, and yet it is eminently enjoyable. In fact, pound for pound, "Studio Tan" might be one of Frank's funniest records. And fans of ZAPPA's ambitious classical/jazz rock won't mind hearing "Revised Music For Guitar & Low Budget Orchestra", which I'm assuming is a re-treatment of the original "Music for Electric Violin and Low Budget Orchestra" that appeared on Jean-Luc Ponty's King Kong. Showing such different facets of the same diamond may be initially distracting, but "Studio Tan" remains dazzling for forty minutes.
daveconn | 3/5 |


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