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Frank Zappa - Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.51 | 151 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Perfect Stranger is one of Zappa's most renowned classical works. Conducted by one of his favorite composers, Pierre Boulez, and performed by the Barking Pumpkin Orchestra, this collection explores some of Zappa's denser and more difficult orchestral works with a bit of synclavier thrown into the mix for good measure. I can't say it's his best, but it really strikes a chord with me and while not up to the quality of The Yellow Shark, there are some really great pieces here that are some of the best classical Zappa works.

The opener sets the entire tone for the album, dominant brass and percussion, understated woodwinds and strings, but all in all, it's got the Zappa touch to it and has all the identifiable qualities that can be found in a Zappa classical piece. Of the Synclavier tracks, my favorite is probably The Girl in the Magnesium Dress, which is more or less a workout of the Marimba and the lovely sound that emanates creates a mellow yet tense atmosphere that can be found on many of the songs. Also included here is Dupree's Paradise, which has been one of Zappa's oldest pieces and has gotten many different renditions. This version isn't so bad, I just think the Stage Vol. 2 version is the premiere recording of that piece.

Overall, if you like the classical Zappa, then this album is a no-brainer for you. If you're not too receptive, check out The Yellow Shark first, and if you liked what you heard there, proceed with this one. There are many Zappa classical albums, and this is among the best of them. It's very good, but at the end of the day I can't really call it essential.

Cygnus X-2 | 3/5 |


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