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Category:    Home > Reviews > Rock > Multi-Channel Music > Frank Zappa - QuAUDIOPHILIAc (DVD-Audio)

Frank Zappa – QuAUDIOPHILIAc (DVD-Audio)


PCM 2.0 96/24 Stereo: B     DTS 96/24: B     MLP 5.1: B     Extras: C-     Music: B



Long after his death, Frank Zappa albums are being issued and the second that DTS Entertainment has issued on DVD-Audio is QuAUDIOPHILIAc, which collects various multi-channel music masters recently uncovered, as Zappa was one of the first to explore the possibilities of multi-channel music.  He was also maybe the first person to think of the concept that we now know as downloading.  For starters, the tracks featured, including some of his more known songs are:


1)     Naval Aviation In Art? (September 18/19, 1975)

2)     Lumpy Gravy (September 18/19, 1975)

3)     Rollo (September 18/19, 1975; Mixed May 24th 1978)

4)     Drooling Midrange Accountants On Easter Hay (May 10th 1978)

5)     Wild Love (May 10th 1978)

6)     Ship Ahoy (February 3rd 1976)

7)     Chunga Basement (March 10th 1970)

8)     Venusian Time Bandits (1974; 4-channel mix made May 15th 1978)

9)     Waka/Jawaka (1972)

10)  Basement Music #2 (April 3rd 1978, from the film Baby Snakes)



Zappa recorded and remixed, sometimes with assistance, on all the tracks.  Dweezil Zappa, who provides excellent liner notes, discovered the first of the Quad tapes (dubbed Qaudio) when gong through the archives.  Joe Travers and company did the transfers to digital tape, which served as the source for this DVD-Audio.  The music is intended to recreate the same “wall of sound” in full dimensions in you riving room as if you were in Frank Zappa’s studio.  Several were used for this set just by virtue of the various years these tracks were recorded.  The set is also not in chronological order, but ends appropriately with a song from the film Baby Snakes (the DVD-Video release of which is reviewed elsewhere on this site), and Basement Music #2 sounds better here than on that Eagle Vision release.


As for the sound, the tapes are lucky to have survived, some of which were more brittle than Dweezil seemed to expect.  Some of the old magnetic tapes had to be “baked” - a process that dries out the master tape so it can be played again.  If they are developing vinegar syndrome, the moisture is rotting the tape and is bound to plug up the tape head(s) of the playback machine.  Some tapes are lucky to survive one baking before they disintegrate for good.  The result is an interesting situation in playback among the three sound playback options.


The PCM 96/24 2.0 stereo is nice and clear, though it is an obvious mixdown.  The DTS 96/24 and MLP 96/24 5.1 mixes are about the same in this case, despite the compression of the DTS, because the age and brittleness are a bit apparent on many of the tracks here as was the case on the DTS 5.1 tracks of The Criterion Collection DVD-Video set of The Rolling Stones Rockumentary Gimme Shelter (also reviewed on this site).  At the same time, as in that case, the sound restoration is remarkable and makes the listening experience a pleasure just the same.  The few extras, beside the booklet with tech details and Dweezil’s comments, include his father’s telephone download proposal, brief video of an event honoring him recently, and a brief piece showing all of the official Frank Zappa album releases, of which this is #74.  After listening to this, it sounds like the music industry and music playback is just starting to catch up with Zappa.  If only he were here to enjoy what he began.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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