Frank Zappa "Quaudiophiliac"

By Patrick Cleasby

Hi-Fi World, January 2005


About six months ago I was lead to believe that the Zappa Family Trust may have been about to follow up the inaugural Zappa DVD-Audio, the unavailable-in-any-other-format 'Halloween', with straight to DVD-Audio transfers of some of the finished album quad mixes Zappa completed during his flirtation with the format in the seventies. Hopefully we will still see those discs of 'Overnite Sensation', 'Apostrophe' and 'Roxy and Elsewhere' sometime soon, but in the meantime Zappa's elder son Dweezil and wife Gail have seen fit to release another original DVD-Audio, based on more of Frank's quad mixes, excavated from the cavernous tape library of the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen.

For the rabid Zappa fan this cannot fail to be of huge interest. Enjoyment may be a different matter, depending on your tastes. There are probably few people who enjoy all dements of his music equally, but this fifty minute compilation contains most of the possibilities: orchestral work ('Lumpy Gravy'), guitar work-outs ('Rollo'), deranged scatological songs ('Wild Love') and jazz awesomeness (the incomparable surround version of 'Waka-Jawaka').

The surround recording fidelity is superb throughout (you'd better get full range rears if you want to enjoy the orchestral action in the surrounds to the max), and the real joy is that unlike 'Halloween' the stereo (superfluous though it is) is not downsampled to 48kHz. Presumably this is possible due to the shorter running time. It goes without saying that this is not a release intended to hook in the non-believers. I would passionately encourage anyone who thinks they may be interested in the great man to snap up that 'Overnite Sensation' DVD-A when it arrives, and if that provokes you to follow through the trail of 70 or more albums which make up Frank's oeuvre, you should be ready for this one by the end...