Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

“That’s right, the Mascara Snake. Fast and bulbous.”

“Bulbous also tapered.” “Yeah, but you’ve got to wait till I say: ‘Also a tinned teardrop’”. “Oh, Christ!” “Alright, again. Beginning.” “Fast and bulbous.” “That’s right, the Mascara Snake. Fast and bulbous. Also a tinned teardrop.” “Bulbous also tapered.” “That’s …

Sat, Dec 18, 2010, 19:13

   
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“Bulbous also tapered.”
“Yeah, but you’ve got to wait till I say: ‘Also a tinned teardrop’”.
“Oh, Christ!”
“Alright, again. Beginning.”
“Fast and bulbous.”
“That’s right, the Mascara Snake. Fast and bulbous. Also a tinned teardrop.”
“Bulbous also tapered.”
“That’s right.”

Bang! Thump! Rattle!

Captain Beefheart is no more. It doesn’t require too much straining of the hyperbole-glands to identify Trout Mask Replica as the greatest album of all time. The excellent documentary excerpted above features a wonderful contribution from Matt Groening on the subject. He relates how, having bought the thing because it had Frank Zappa’s name upon the cover, he put it on the turntable, lowered the stylus and immediately reeled back in shock. Bang! Clatter! Clunk! “They weren’t even trying,” he laughs. Of course they were trying very hard and, after giving the album another hundred chances,  Matt became addicted to the strange entity. It is a measure of the Captain’s gift that, once you become used to his dadaist blues, you can’t remember why you found the music difficult in the first place.

Is Trout Mask Replica the place to start? Yeah. Why not throw yourself in at the deep end? If, however, you fancy something a little less confrontational then check out the somewhat more tuneful — but still excellent — Clear Spot or The Spotlight Kid.

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