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Frank Zappa - Hot Rats CD (album) cover

HOT RATS

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.33 | 986 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars How can I say that I'm a classic rock music fan while this legendary album by Zappa, "Hot Rats", I have never heard the music before until couple of weeks ago? It's a pity, really. But that's the fact that I can not say the other way. Couple of reasons, probably, that caused this. First, when it was in 70s I could only afford to buy cassette and in my country there was no such cassette with Zappa "Hot Rats" as far as I can remember. Second, when recently almost all albums of Zappa were released in digital format, the price of the CD is unbelievable - damn expensive! Lucky that my prog colleague Purwanto Setiadi (kunangkunangku) lent me his CD of this album, so I could enjoy.

This album blew me away at first spin. Yes, I can see many repetitions of chords and notes especially on the rhythm section but every segment has its own unique texture that makes it weird but very enjoyable because they form excellent harmony. "Peaches en Regalia" (3:37) kicks off the album in relatively fast tempo with unique style mostly combining jazz with rock. "Willie the Pimp" (9:16) is a great example of how the classic rock music is combined with the joy of violin sounds. Captain Beefheart voice is quite unique and suits with Zappa music. In terms of rhythm and chords this song seems like repetitious but it's enjoyable because the texture mives differently in every piece of music segments. Guitar solo plays dominant roles. I'm not sure who is actually playing drums at this track but if it's Ron Selico I can relate with his controbution to John Mayall' Jazz-Blues fusion which I think the styles are similar.

I can see "Son of Mr. Green Genes" (8:58) has influenced many prog bands (like Frogg Cafe) in their musical endeavor. It's not that this track is copied by others but the nuance has been transformed to others. The composition is tight with multi instruments as rhythm section and guitar makes its solo combined with keyboard. "The Gumbo Variations" (16:55) is an instrumental which gives a wide range of instrumentalists to give their expertise, especially saxophone, bass guitar, violin and guitar which form the music beautifully, flowing in relatively fast tempo. I usually get trouble with music where the rhythm section is somewhat monotonous with repeated chords. But this one is different - it's because I can hear different textures every time the music moves from one segment to another like this song. "It Must Be A Camel" (5:15) concludes the album in a combination of jazz and avant-garde styles with dominant piano and saxophone work.

It's an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Recommended.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |

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