Something to be happy about today. For me, at least. The newest archival Zappa release came in the mail! Feedings the Monkies at Ma Maison, a five-track release of Synclavier pieces composed and executed around the same time as Zappa’s first major Synclavier-centric release, Jazz From Hell. While I haven’t yet read the liner notes to get the full details, the first three tracks (totalling just under 40 minutes) were at one time intended to be a new LP release after Jazz From Hell. I believe the last two tracks date from the same period and were included for that reason, though I know not whether they were originally intended for anything.
Archival releases of previously unreleased Zappa material, which may or may not included songs / pieces previously released in some form or another, typically include a year of copyright alongside the titles on the back cover, indicating usually when they were first released, but sometimes — confusingly — when they were actually copyrighted, which in certain cases can be baffling. For example, 1974 live performances of “The Dog Breath Variations” and “Uncle Meat” appear on The Dub Room Special cd with a copyright date of 1988, though the two pieces were originally released on an album in 1969 (presumably this has something to do with their inclusion on the 1988 live release You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 2, also recorded in 1974, but who the fuck knows.)
The copyright dates on this new release are easy enough to figure out. Two are dated 2011, as the pieces have never been released in any form, nor any part therein. Two are dated 1994, when very different later versions of them were released on Civilization Phaze III. But there’s the baffling case of a track titled “Worms From Hell”, dated 1997. There weren’t even any releases on CD or otherwise of archival material that year. And here’s where I check out the liner notes, which reveal that this is the full length piece from with the opening title music of the 1987 (not ‘97) VHS release “Video From Hell”. Hot typo action!
None of that is relevant to the quality of the music or anything else, just the kind of minutiae I typically wallow in a bit before I check out the actual music on the actual album (because I’m a fucking nerd, and when it comes to Zappa, such information is somehow important to absorb and comprehend.)