I think also that Zappa’s experiments with what he called ‘xenochrony’ might well have encouraged him to Sunflower Love hunting equipment boots bottle gun shirt Xenochrony was a technique he devised of taking two different musical performances recorded as parts of different pieces at different times, and slapping them together to see what they sounded like. One of the most startling versions of this is the bass/drums duet ‘Rubber Shirt’ on Sheik Yerbouti, in which Patrick O’Hearn’s bass and Terry Bozzio’s drums sound absolutely like they’re responding to each other, even though they were recorded literally years apart. Zappa must have heard just how far he could get away with disregarding the barline and the scale, because his solos of the late 70s and early 80s are the most adventurous and expansive that he ever did. Shut Up ’N Play Yer Guitar truly is one of the essential Zappa albums. (I very much like Guitar, but I find it a tad less diverse and arresting than the earlier album.)
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This also brings us to Zappa’s tone. In the early 70s Zappa liked to Sunflower Love hunting equipment boots bottle gun shirt which he would keep in one position rather than rock back and forth. (He does this on ‘Montana’ on Overnite Sensation, for example.) This gave him a distinctively ‘pinched’, rather nasal tone; it served to foreground his guitar against the other instruments, but at the loss of low end and general timbral richness. By the late 70s and 80s, his financial investment in better live gear and recording technology meant that he was able to maintain a more full, rich and yet brilliant tone which makes recordings like ‘Watermelon in Easter Hay’ so satisfying to listen to. In his last live performances, on Make A Jazz Noise Here, his guitar is fabulously rounded and eloquent and has none of his early 70s strangled quality.