Trout Mask Replica - Captain Beefheart
19 July 2006
The last couple of days I've been listening to Trout Mask Replica by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band. It's a strange experience and the more I listen to it the more it gets to me. The reason I got this album was because I saw an old documentary about Captain Beefheart and there's this special album that they talk about that was meant to be so special.
I've never been a huge fan of Captain Beefheart. The only other album I've been listening to is Clear Spot where the song Big Eyed Beans From Venus can be found. Probably one of the best songs I know. Like with Trout Mask Replica, it took me a long time to appreciate Big Eyed Beans From Venus. It wasn't until I actually listened to the song that I realised why it was so fantastic.
Some of Captain Beefhearts music isn't really music. It's like seamingly random banging on instruments with lyrics that don't make any sense or reason. Captain Beefhearts music is better described as art. Abstract art if you like. I know it sounds pretentiuous but the more you listen to it the more it thrills you. Yes, you guess right, you can't dance to this kind of music. To some it might initially sound like a drunk hobo plus his drunk hobo friends who manage to switch on the power in a recording studio and record an album with made up lyrics as they record.
Anyway, about that documentary. They interview Matt Groening (the creator of The Simpsons none other) and he talks of this amazing album.
"So I bought it. I took it home, I put it on. It was the worst track ever. They're not even trying! They're just playing... randomly. But then I thought, Frank Zappa produced it so maybe if I play it again, and I thought... It sounds horrible but they mean it sound this way. And about the third or fourth time it started to grow on me. In the fifth or sixth time, I loved it. And the seventh or eighth time I thought it was the greatest album ever made. And I still do."
The documentary also mentions that it took the band eight months to record the album. Produced by Frank Zappa and without any money since there wasn't a record contract and hence no food except small portions of soya beans in really dire times. Also, they weren't allowed to leave the house except once a week, one band member was allowed to get food from the crocery store.
You can read more about this amazing album on this Wikipedia page. To give you a little head start, here's a snippet of an intro of the song Pena as an MP3 file.
I'll continue to listen to it and will probably like it even more. This is probably the "hippiest" blog on this site of the year.
Here are some additional links worth checking out if you're interested.
Here's a great article on epinions.com that contains a track analysis. I learnt a lot from this. "It is methodically calculated chaos"