Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play

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He has either been condemned as a cynical purveyor of "smut" and scatalogical humor aimed below the lowest common denominator, or championed as the twentieth century's most eclectic composer - definitions that are both inaccurate when isolated. In Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play, Ben Watson explains that these characteristics are not mutually exclusive; it is misguided to suppress either aspect of Zappa's genius. His socially transgressive shocks - designed to show up the repressions of ...
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Overview

He has either been condemned as a cynical purveyor of "smut" and scatalogical humor aimed below the lowest common denominator, or championed as the twentieth century's most eclectic composer - definitions that are both inaccurate when isolated. In Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play, Ben Watson explains that these characteristics are not mutually exclusive; it is misguided to suppress either aspect of Zappa's genius. His socially transgressive shocks - designed to show up the repressions of contemporary culture - are central to his art,. Watson brings serious critical attention to the musician, dissecting Zappa within his context, and analyzing him alongside such artists as John Cage and Pierre Boulez. Zappa's ideas are interpreted as an extension of a Western radical tradition that encompassed the Marquis de Sade, the Surrealists,and beyond, from musique concrete to doowop, Theodor Adorno to Suzy Creamcheese, Plato to Punky Meadows, the Situationists to the PMRC. Zappa's politics, as well as his wit and relentless attempts to break standard forms, are integral to his music.

Frank Zappa's musical genius will take a long time to unravel. With 57 albums to his credit, ultilizing techniques of heavy rock, avant-garde classical music, jazz, and ethnic music, his body of work has defied both description and criticism. In this brilliant treatise, Watson explains, expounds, dissects, analyzes, experiences, and, in the end, ensures that Zappa's works, thoughts, actions, and deeds will live on forever.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312141240
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 581
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.49 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2000

    Back From Lunch

    Mr Out To Lunch has written a very learned, very eccentric and very personal response to the works of Mr Zappa. He lost me, (and Frank!) when making references to Theodor Adorno, whose work I am unfamiliar with, but his comments on why Frank's music is great even when the lyrics are rude or silly are right on the button. Anyone who has spent time writing seriously about Shakespeare or Chaucer will appreciate the comparison between Stinkfoot and King Lear. Everyone else will appreciate the fact that Frank Zappa is at last being taken very, very seriously.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 1999

    Brilliant!

    An amazing book that I simply could not put down. Mr. Watson, in my opinion, has created a literary masterpiece. I strongly recommend this analogy. Bravo!

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