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Frank Zappa - The Perfect Stranger CD (album) cover

THE PERFECT STRANGER

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.58 | 85 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Evolver
Special Collaborator
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars This album represents Frank Zappa's most serious classical release. It was even originally released on EMI's Angel records, one of the most distinguished classical labels. Zappa was also fortunate enough to have Pierre Boulez, a remarkable composer himself, commission the title piece, and conduct the Ensemble InterContemporain for three of the albums seven pieces (the rest were played by Zappa himself on his Synclavier).

The sound of the recording is exquisite. It helps to have an orchestra that was serious about playing Frank's music (as opposed to the hackneyed attitude of the London Symphony Orchestra on the two albums they recorded). The instruments all sound crystal clear as they navigate Zappa's difficult material.

The title track is the best piece. The music is dark and beautiful at the same time. While Zappa still shows his Stravinsky influence, he was really developing his own compositional style as well. One thing that astonishes me is that I can hear his guitar phrasing is many of the passages.

Most of the Synclavier pieces are similar to those on "Jazz From Hell" and other FZ albums of the time, but Jonestown (referring to the mass suicide/murder of a religious cult by their insane leader) stands out as one of the darkest pieces Zappa has ever written.

My only complaint is that this album, at 36 minutes, is much too short.

Evolver | 4/5 |

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