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Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica CD (album) cover

TROUT MASK REPLICA

Captain Beefheart

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.74 | 329 ratings

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Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
3 stars I uploaded my review of Safe As Milk in hopes of pushing myself to write a review of Trout Mask Replica. Still, it took me a few days to collect my thoughts and make my opinion of this composition.

Some might consider it a make it or break it experience of an album that both dismisses many of its audiences while making others return hoping to finally decipher the riddle behind it. I consider myself to be stuck between the two, with an alignment to the latter. I'll put it frank; My understanding of Trout Mask Replica is nonexistent, still I keep returning to this work in hopes of getting a new outlook on the work. There is no doubt in my mind about the album's progressive merits and that it's far from the psychedelic rock movement that was so prominent in the end of the '60s. Almost every passage of the composition sounds as if it has been rehearsed to the smallest detail and that every instrumentalist knew exactly where to come in and end their arrangements while leaving enough space for Don Van Vliet to add his artistic touch to the material.

Are the results extraordinary? I certainly think so. But do they create an excellent album experience? Questionable. As I already stated here, I find Trout Mask Replica to be an untamable beast even to this day, but this is probably the main reason why it keeps me coming back for more! The whole "thinking outside of the box"-mentality feels highly refreshing even within the boundaries of progressive rock. It also manages to complete my trilogy of the most mentally straining albums that I've had the pleasure of experiencing so far, together with Univers Zero's Heresie and Can's Tago Mago.

You might have noticed by now that I haven't written much about the music in question, but that decision is completely intentional on my part since the passages featured on the album are difficult to describe and I doubt that any two people could ever completely agree on their experiences. This is why I leave it all in your hands! Go ahead and experience this enigma of an album, but be prepared to spend quite a few hours deconstructing what you've heard upon your first experience. I also highly recommend to keep an open mind about this composition since I doubt that it has anything in common with anything that you've heard before. Even the more experienced progressive rock fans are guaranteed to scratch their heads after experiencing this album, but there is certainly a charm to that as well.

The thing that still confuses me is the fact that Rolling Stone magazine included Trout Mask Replica among the top 100 of their of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. I mean, you have your the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen Neil Young and the Who records and then you have this! The absurdity of this contrast makes me smile even to this day.

PS Is it even possible to break this album down into song-by-song ratings?

Rune2000 | 3/5 |

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