Friday, February 22, 2008

129. FRANK ZAPPA: Are You Hung Up?

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition, including notated musical examples.
Are You Hung Up?


Other Official Versions:

The Lumpy Money Project/Object (2009)

The musical background is immediately more complex than anything on the previous two releases. The post-production tape manipulation and complex editing far surpasses even the most adventurous example to be found in either Freak Out! or Absolutely Free.

Let the LP/CD comparison begin: We will always show the CD first, because that was the "original" recording, and compare it to the LP, the 1985 re-mix.

0:00 to 0:10

The voices (uh, uh) and electronic sounds are mixed up front. The electronic sounds are very distorted.

The mix is noticeably more "big room." It breathes. The electronic sounds are much clearer.

0:11 to 0:25
We believe (although we have no documentary or biographical proof of this, other than the one mention of Bülent Arel in the The Freak Out Contributors List) that FZ was heavily influenced around this time by certain composers of electronic music, particularly certain specific compositions that appeared on a Columbia LP, issued in the mid-60's we believe entitled Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center (Columbia MS 6566).
If you are familiar with the works on this LP, or can get your hands on a copy, you may find it interesting to note some similarities which we will now proceed to discuss:
The first work in question is "Leiyla And The Poet" by Halim El-Dabh.
0:20 to 0:25 (approximately) -- the male voice says, are you strung (up?) and the female voice says something unintelligible. Shortly before this point, the electronic background is VERY strongly reminiscent of El-Dabh's work, at about the 0:15 mark in "Leiyla." (the similarity is in the quick four-note echo-motif which in El-Dabh's case is expressed in manipulated vocals; FZ does it with unique electronic sounds). [The Arel "quote" in "Nasal Retentive Calliope Music" is more obvious!]
Effective whispering (about ERASING tapes? Is this not the dictionary definition of irony?) leads to this interesting transition:
followed by a great oooo-raaaa-oooo-roooooooo
and JCB introducing himself. Then

Next track

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