Feeding The Monkies At Ma Maison
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Around 1987 or so, Frank Zappa completed a digital master of this title which was intended for a vinyl release. FZ never released it and re-worked some of the material for another project, mainly Civilization, Phaze III. Feeding The Monkies At Ma Maison, realized on the synclavier, eventually found a release in it s original form in 2011. The CD contains unreleased compositions, unedited versions and added bonus tracks from the time period.
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First I'll talk about the media itself. This album is a neat creamsicle orange color. In pictures it looks flat orange, but it actually has some streaking of a lighter color orange in color. It looks cool. The artwork on the album cover is also very interesting. Much better than may of the other posthumus Zappa releases. The vinyl cover is also different from the CD version.(also worth noting that the cd contains 2 tracks not included on the vinyl release).
In playing the record, it's pretty quiet. An occasional pop and click here and there, but nothing too distracting.The fidelity is fine. That said I don't have a super high-end audiophile turntable. It's a Uturn orbit plus, with and Ortofon VMS20E mkII cart. It's good enough for me anyways.
My biggest complaint about the record is that it is warped. It still plays and the warp is really obvious when playing side 1. The record still plays but the stylus bobs up and down like a roller coaster. It seems to have little effect on the audio but still bothersome. It won't stop me from playing it. I have a number of records like this.
Now on to the actual music. This record is all Synclavier. No live musicians per say. Zappa has a number of albums that feature the Synclavier. Honestly, Zappa's synclavier stuff isn't my favorite. I do enjoy Jazz From Hell as it seems to have more structured compositions. Not that this record doesn't have structure, it's just more abstract Synclavier music. To put it another way, if some was just getting into Zappa, I wouldn't recommend this album. Zappa has a number of much more accessible recordings (the mid 70s stuff comes to mind). If you're already a Zappa fan and like the Synclavier stuff, and albums like Lumpy Gravy and Civilization Phaze 3 then you may enjoy this album. The included inner "documentation" also gives some useful info regarding the nature of this album.
I give the medium a 3/5 - mostly due to the warp.
I give the music a 4/5 - If you "like that sort of thing" If you're a collector it's worth having. If you're new to Zappa this one might be a little hard to "digest"