Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Trout Mask Replica
Genres: Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Given total creative control by producer and friend Frank Zappa, Beefheart and his Magic Band rehearsed the material for this 1969 album for over a year, wedding minimalistic R&B, blues, and garage rock to free jazz and... more »
Given total creative control by producer and friend Frank Zappa, Beefheart and his Magic Band rehearsed the material for this 1969 album for over a year, wedding minimalistic R&B, blues, and garage rock to free jazz and avant-garde experimentalism. Warner Brothers Records.
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Member CD Reviews
SV S. (Sphinx)
Reviewed on 9/9/2015...
Juvenile and annoying. Like the most irritating free jazz I've ever heard, but with much less coherence and instrumental competence. Might be enjoyable if you want to hear the aural equivalent of a surrealist painting/sculpture. I love visual surrealism, but this makes me want to punch somebody. It sounds like something a group of 17-year-old boys would make if they got hold of a bunch of weed and recording equipment.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Can't listen to it enough.
ewomack | MN USA | 11/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes yes yes. It's cacophonous, it's gritty, it's unpleasant. Put it on at a party and watch people make a mad dash for the door. Just try and dance to some of the arhythmic beats that fill the album like a car being thrown down a large flight of stairs. It's not popular music was never meant to be and will never apologize for not being so. It is as about an acquired taste as you can get.Nonetheless, I truly think this will be one of the albums that survives the twentieth century. I think people will still be listening to this in a few hundred years when the concept of music changes and dissonance and staggering rhythms are as harmonious as the choir in the fifth plane of heaven. Rock has produced nothing like this up to this point. Nothing with this sense of exploration and personal vision. Nothing as playful, nothing as fun. Nothing that stretches the boundaries of what people think of as 'rock music.' I don't think 21st century music listeners in America are ready for this. To truly appreciate this album for what it is you need to have a different definition of music and rhythm from the norm. No words will prepare you for how jarring it is. Your friends will hate you, people will think you're insane or on drugs (Beefheart, by the way, was not a drug user even in the early 1970s). My girlfriend still won't allow me to play it when she's home. People plain wonder what's wrong with me. Why would I listen to such tripe? Such ridiculous trash?The answer is that if you're one of those like myself that discover what's in this music, you simply can't stop listening. It's not for arty reasons, or reasons of influence (I could care less who Beefheart influenced, to be honest), or showing off my tolerance. There really is something here for those who can find it. I get more and more from every listen."
Sorry, I guess I still don't get it.
Shotgun Method | NY... No, not *that* NY | 11/17/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Wow, this album is one of the most divisive I've ever heard. Nobody thinks that Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica is simply "okay." Most of the reviews on this page either dismiss it as contrived, deliberately atonal, pretentious trash, or think it's a work of genius, and naturally both crowds are antagonistic towards each other.
So let me clear this up: You are not necessarily an MTV-watching mainstream drone for hating this album. By the same token, enjoying Trout Mask Replica hardly makes you a Mensa member (that said, you probably are more interested in "out-there," non-conformist music if you are in the latter camp). This album is strictly an acquired taste, and that's how the Captain intended, I think. I enjoy plenty of weird stuff--Zappa, The Boredoms, some RIO prog, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, Zorn, etc. along with quite a bit of abstract jazz and fusionized metal; and after multiple listens I still find this album to be pretty exhausting, especially in one sitting where 2 LPs of this material tends to become obnoxious after a while. It probably would've been better as a single record.
I don't hate the Captain for making this album. For better or worse, it's interesting, and both a product of its era (in that it seems to be psychedelic in a rather odd sort of way) and yet exploits musical idioms that were unheard of in rock during its time. The free-jazz-meets-Delta-blues-at-a-postmodern-poetry-slam sound of Trout Mask Replica is rather unique. There's plenty of abstract rhythmic ideas going on--it all sounds rather stupid at first, but Beefheart actually intended it to sound this way, and the Magic Band practiced for nearly a year trying to hammer these compositions out. So, you can't call it "amateurish" or "incompetent." These guys knew what they were doing. As for Beefheart himself, I rather like his great bluesy growl at times. It's like Howling Wolf if he read a lot of Burroughs and did plenty of acid.
Trout Mask Replica is definitely innovative. So, why do I persist on giving it only one star? Actually, if I could change the rating I'd give it two, as there are a few decent (not outstanding, merely decent) tracks on here that are listenable--Ella Guru, My Human Gets Me Blues, China Pig, Moonlight On Vermont, and Veteran's Day Poppy. And then there are the straight poetry tracks and other bits that are amusingly weird, though not musical in any real sense.
The rest of Trout Mask Replica is not my bag, frequently bordering on unbearable in its pursuit of the abstract. It goes off on tangents that make bags of cats thrown in a dryer seem downright musical. Case in point: Either of the Hair Pie Bake tracks. I can't imagine many people listening to this album without hitting the skip button at least once.
So, what we have here is a bold, unconventional, and influential recording...that does not compel me to listen with any sort of frequency. It's just not worth the effort, and believe me I have tried.
Those interested in checking Beefheart out probably shouldn't start here anyway. The bluesier Safe As Milk is more accessible and musical, while still being quite avant-garde. If you like that album and want to dive deeper, go right ahead and try your hand at Trout Mask Replica. You may love it; you may hate it; but you should definitely *listen* to it."